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Box Office Update 11/6-11/8: A Christmas Carol Kicks Off the Christmas Season

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As expected, Disney's new take on A Christmas Carol led the box office. It came in under expectations (well, mine at least) but still managed a gross  more than double that of its nearest competition. I have always wondered why some Christmas-themed movies get released so early in the season. However, it does make a little sense in this case, considering you have to slot it in for the 3D theaters and Avatar already has December sewn up. But that is neither here nor there. I am looking forward to it, especially now that I have learned it lifts much of the dialogue directly from Dickens' text. So, in addition to the 3D animation, we get some authentic language. Interesting.

Coming in a distant second, but still respectable, is the short run release of Michael Jackson's This Is It. In two weeks of release it has made more than $57 million, which is not bad considering it will likely be on home video in time for Christmas. I have not seen it, but this has to be considered a success.

Third place plays home to the next of this week's new releases. The latest George Clooney film, The Men Who Stare at Goats, opened to mediocre reviews but a respectable box office. The film offers moderate entertainment. It never digs very deep, relying on surface farce and the fact that it is based on supposedly true events. The performances are pretty good and it does have some good ideas, but in the end is rather lightweight and insubstantial.

Close behind in fourth place is the latest indie seeking to make a big splash. The Fourth Kind purports to be based on actual events and is chock full of archival footage. I cannot say I believe it to be real, but taken just as a movie it is done with style and energy and you will be drawn in. I am not sure how much replay value it has, but it is definitely worth one spin.

There is one other new release on this week's list, The Box. This is Richard Kelly's latest offering and his first to go wide. This means that this is a big test for the young director. Does he pass? The jury is still out for me, although everything he has done has been quite intriguing. This latest film boils down to a simple morality tale, yet is filled with complex ideas on an epic scale of which we see only a small fraction on the big screen. The Box is as simple or as complex as you want it to be. It may not do well at the box office, but will likely do well on home video and down the line.

Aside from the top ten, there is one big story in non-top ten land. Precious placed 12th and is poised to make a big splash. The film has had a lot of Oscar buzz floating around it and it appears the public may follow suit. The drama took in $1.8 million from just 16 theaters. Its per screen average was over $100,000. If that is not impressive, I do not know what is. Now I just need to see it.

Next week will see new competition from Roland Emmerich's latest disaster flick 2012 and the "based on a true story" film about rock and roll in Britain, Pirate Radio (formerly known as The Boat that Rocked).

Four films dropped off the list this week: Saw VI (11), The Stepfather (14), Amelia (13), and Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (17).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N A Christmas Carol 3D $30,051,075 $30,051,075 1
2 1 Michael Jackson's This Is It $13,157,944 $57,013,286 2
3 N The Men Who Stare at Goats $12,706,654 $12,706,654 1
4 N The Fourth Kind $12,231,160 $12,231,160 1
5 2 Paranormal Activity $8,278,605 $97,108,475 7
6 N The Box $7,571,417 $7,571,417 1
7 4 Couples Retreat $6,129,045 $95,680,555 5
8 3 Law Abiding Citizen $6,003,737 $60,704,335 4
9 5 Where the Wild Things Are $4,177,249 $69,220,584 4
10 7 Astro Boy $2,626,103 $15,110,804 3

Box Office Predictions Recap

Easily the worst weekend I have had in awhile, but that's all right. I think that is starting to become my weekly mantra! Eventually things will begin to look up, but who knows how far off that will be? Fortunately, I am just having a little fun with this and no one's job is at stake. I was a little surprised that A Christmas Carol did not open stronger, but it is a bit early for holiday cinema so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. What can I say about the rest? I was not really all that bad on the dollars, but my placings were awful. Perhaps next week will be better.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual

Prediction

Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 A Christmas Carol 3D $30,051,075 $43 million
4 2 The Fourth Kind $12,231,160 $13 million

6

3 The Box $7,571,417 $12.5 million
2 4 Michael Jackson's This Is It $13,157,944 $10.5 million
3 5 The Men Who Stare at Goats $12,706,654

$9.5 million

5 6 Paranormal Activity $8,278,605 $9 million
8 7 Law Abiding Citizen $6,003,737 $4 million
7 8 Couples Retreat $6,129,045 $3.5 million
9 9 Where the Wild Things Are $4,177,249 $3 million
11 10 Saw VI $2,031,944 $2.5 million

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