Box Office Wrapup: Moviegoers Choose War, Not Love, as "Apocalypto" Conquers #1 Spot

Mel Gibson ruled the box office once again as his latest directorial effort "Apocalypto" beat out a string of newcomers and strong holdovers this weekend to become an unlikely number one hit.


The romantic comedy "The Holiday" had to settle for a second place showing following close behind while Leonardo DiCaprio's new actioner "Blood Diamond" finished the frame a few notches back in fifth with a not-so-sparkling bow. Overall, the marketplace was sluggish as total ticket sales fell significantly from the corresponding weekends from each of the last two years.



The ancient Mayan adventure "Apocalypto" shot to the top of the box office charts with an estimated $14.2M over the weekend giving Gibson a major industry victory just months after a scandalous summer. Playing in 2,465 theaters, the R-rated action film averaged a solid $5,747 per location. Apocalypto entered the marketplace as a tough sell given its unknown cast, subtitles, and extreme brutality. However, good reviews helped the film and the free publicity Gibson received since being arrested in July certainly boosted the overall awareness of the picture.



The Oscar-winning filmmaker's last movie, 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," generated tons more controversy and found itself with a colossal $125.2M opening over five days on its way to a domestic haul of $370.3M. "Apocalypto" stood as a very different film and was never expected to come close to that level. Studio research showed that 60% of the audience was male which was expected given its action story and extreme levels of torture and violence. Buena Vista has been on a roll in the second half of 2006 and "Apocalypto" should become the studio's ninth consecutive wide release to reach past $50M domestically.



Movie patrons looking for lighter fare lined up for the new romantic comedy "The Holiday" which debuted close behind in second place with an estimated $13.5M. The PG-13 film stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two women who switch homes for the Christmas season and find love with a pair of new chaps played by Jude Law and Jack Black. Spreading cheer in 2,610 locations, "The Holiday" averaged a good $5,172 per site. Not surprisingly, adult women made up the largest part of the audience. According to studio research, 65% of the crowd was female and 57% was 25 and older. Reviews were not very kind. The film was helmed by Nancy Meyers who directed Mel Gibson in the smash hit "What Women Want" in 2000. The two went head-to-head this weekend with their new projects but it was Gibson who managed to race ahead and claim the box office crown.

The debut of "The Holiday" was on the lower end of the range reached by similar films opening in mid-December like last year's "The Family Stone" ($12.5M), 2003's "Something's Gotta Give" ($16.1M), and 2002's "Two Weeks Notice" ($14.3M). Unlike the other eleven months of the year, December usually sees movies enjoy better legs thanks to the extra time people have off from work and school. Those who miss a film on opening weekend often have time to see it later on and movies routinely reach a final gross that is five to seven times their debuts. "Stone"'s bow accounted for only 21% of its overall tally while "Something" and "Notice" enjoyed shares of 13% and 15%, respectively.



Following its three-week stint at number one, the penguin hit "Happy Feet" dropped down to third place but still witnessed a strong hold. The Warner Bros. toon enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten dipping only 28% to an estimated $12.7M and raised its cume to $137.7M. With solid word-of-mouth and the upcoming school holidays approaching, "Happy Feet" stands a good chance of reaching the $200M domestic mark. Internationally, the animated film grossed an estimated $25.4M from 37 markets this weekend boosting the overseas cume to $40.8M



For the fourth consecutive weekend, "Casino Royale" followed right behind the penguins on the box office chart. The new James Bond actioner fell 42% to an estimated $8.8M putting the domestic total at $128.9M. "Casino" is now running only 2% behind the pace of the last Agent 007 flick "Die Another Day" which had banked $131.9M after its fourth weekend. Overseas, Daniel Craig continued to shine lifting "Casino"'s international tally to $247.2M putting the global gross at a stunning $376.1M and counting. By the end of the week, the Sony smash will zoom past the worldwide tallies of "Superman Returns" ($390M) and "Mission: Impossible III" ($395M).



Opening in fifth place with mediocre results was Leonardo DiCaprio's "Blood Diamond" with an estimated $8.5M from 1,910 sites for a decent $4,458 average. Directed by Ed Zwick ("The Last Samurai," "Glory"), the R-rated film finds the "Titanic" star playing a white African diamond smuggler hunting down a rare pink diamond found by an enslaved fisherman. Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly co-star and reviews were generally positive. "Blood" attracted media attention for its story which examines how conflict diamonds are used by rebel groups to finance their wars in parts of Africa. The opening weekend average did not reach the levels of the debuts of last year's R-rated political thrillers set near that part of the world. "The Constant Gardener" bowed to $8.7M and a $6,444 average while "Syriana" opened nationally this weekend in 2005 to $11.7M with a $6,699 average.



Warner Bros. also opened its new family comedy "Unaccompanied Minors" but was met with weak results thanks in part to a crowded market for kidpics. The PG-rated film grossed an estimated $6.2M from 2,775 theaters for a poor $2,234 average. "Minors" finds a group of kids stranded in an airport during the holiday season.

Denzel Washington's action thriller "Deja Vu" dropped 45% to an estimated $6.1M in its third weekend and upped its cume to $53M for Buena Vista. Following in eighth place was the Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" with an estimated $5.6M declining only 29%. With $15.8M in ten days, the New Line release may find its way to $35-40M.

More Christmas pics rounded out the top ten. Fox's "Deck the Halls" grossed an estimated $3.9M, off 41%, to push its total to $30.1M. Disney's "The Santa Clause 3" dipped 32% to an estimated $3.3M giving the studio $77.2M to date. The holiday comedy is running 36% behind the pace of the last Tim Allen installment which had taken in $120.1M at this same point in its run. Factor in ticket price increases since 2002 and "Clause 3" is trailing by 43%.

Four films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Fox's smash hit "Borat" fell 46% to an estimated $2.6M giving the blockbuster comedy $120.3M to date. Budgeted at only $18M, look for the Sacha Baron Cohen concoction to finish with $125-130M domestically. Cohen's "Talladega Nights" foe Will Ferrell has not met with the same kind of success with his latest comedy "Stranger Than Fiction." The Sony release fell 55% to an estimated $1.5M to put its cume at $39.2M. Budgeted at just under $30M, "Fiction" should end up with $40-45M.



The horror thriller "Turistas" from Fox's new teen genre division Fox Atomic tumbled 63% in its second weekend to an estimated $1.3M. With only $5.9M in ten days, look for the R-rated film to harvest just $8-10M from its theatrical run. Fellow sophomore "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" has grossed less than $4M to date and seems headed for a finish of just $5-7M for MGM.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $82.8M which was down 27% from last year when "The Chronicles of Narnia" opened at number one with $65.6M; and down 16% from 2004 when "Ocean's Twelve" debuted in the top spot with $39.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Comments

Robin_1

Robin Stone

[b]Finally someone makes a Mesoamerican themed movie[/b]
Gibson takes a risky move by making a movie about a culture most people have not seen on the big screen before. Not only did he make a movie about the Mayan culture, but made the movie in their language and it was number one over the weekend is fantastic.

Even though it was considered not that historical factual, the costumes, tattoos, hair, temples and weapons of that time were extremely detailed and beautiful and make up for historical accuracy.

After all this movie is not a National Geographic documentary, but a movie that entertains, and yes, it entertains in a big way.

There is violence, but when a culture is dying out one of the first things that happens is violence and how we handle it. That is why the interaction with the main character and the father are important in the movie.

It also shows how those in power try to regulate the population with 'entertainment', just like Rome did. Also how beliefs were used to whip up the populace to control behavior.

This movie is beautiful and also has some violence, but it is a masterpiece. Even though the movie is done in a Mayan dialect I didn't even notice it. That movie goes by so quickly that before I knew it, it was over and I was left wanting to see more.

GREAT MOVIE and glad it was number one at the box office. This shows Hollywood that movies about Mayan, Aztec and Pre-Columbian themes would sell to the general public.

Good job.

Dec 11 - 02:12 AM

mojodaddy

joe fish

Is it just me or does that one pic of Mel wading through the water at the top of the page look photoshopped?

Dec 11 - 05:34 AM

puablo

Josh Jones

Stories like this always leave me shaking my head. If a movie makes $14 million, and a competing movie makes $20 million, then it's a bomb. If a movie makes $14 million, and a competing movie makes $12 million, then it's a huge success. Go figure.

Dec 11 - 06:04 AM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

[b]agree this news dont seem right[/b]
there is some serious slant towards mel gibson maybe hes personally paying people off to say good things, any other movie that makes only $14 mil a weekend, everyone would be talking about a huge bomb and it should have went straight to DVD. But I guess its Mel and he gave us Braveheart and Passion so we have to continue to stick our noses up his bum and keep sniffing it for a lil while longer.

Dec 11 - 08:53 AM

Robin_1

Robin Stone

[b]Well I wish he would pay me...lol[/b]
Naw, I just loved the movie. It is the best movie in years.

Dec 11 - 06:15 PM

Z-Man

Zac Bushnell

[b]Expectations need to be taken into account.[/b]
Who thought this movie would even break 10 mil in its opening weekend? Let alone be number 1? Of course 14 mil is not very much, but the expectations, the risk, plus the bad publicity? 14 mil is a success.

Dec 11 - 02:06 PM

meatcake

Brandon Luna

[b]WEEE!!![/b]
Im just glad the number 1 movie wasn't a remake! I hope for the sake of entertianment, that people stop going to these remakes so we can start getting more smartly made and unique movies like Apocalypto.
I think Mel has some violence issues, every movie he has directed has had buckets of blood but maybe that is just him pandering to what works in American cinema. We like our movies (and tv shows) bloody.
If Timberlake is bringing sexy back....Mel is bringing bloody back.

Dec 11 - 06:15 AM

daveinboca

dave inboca

[b]Yes, I think his Mad Max Debut Made Mel a Madman[/b]
But Mel has something else going for him that almost no one in Hollyweird Tinseltown does, and that is that he is a mad genius. I'm watching his Hamlet with my daughter for a high school paper and Mel Gibson does the best Hamlet since Laurence Olivier. Much better than Kenneth Branagh despite his all-star cast.

Gibson does tend to give 110% even at 3AM and anger management classes might be in order. But I wouldn't want to tone down the insanely over the top things that this certifiable crazed cinematic madman has produced from Braveheart through Passion to Apocalypto and hopefully much much more.

Dec 12 - 02:38 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

[b]agree this news dont seem right[/b]
there is some serious slant towards mel gibson maybe hes personally paying people off to say good things, any other movie that makes only $14 mil a weekend, everyone would be talking about a huge bomb and it should have went straight to DVD. But I guess its Mel and he gave us Braveheart and Passion so we have to continue to stick our noses up his bum and keep sniffing it for a lil while longer.

Dec 11 - 08:53 AM

Robin_1

Robin Stone

[b]Well I wish he would pay me...lol[/b]
Naw, I just loved the movie. It is the best movie in years.

Dec 11 - 06:15 PM

se7en85

Tristian Clark

I think its mainly considered a success because it shows after what Mel did his movies can still come in number 1 at the box office.

Dec 11 - 08:58 AM

Crenshaw

Bryan Winter

14 mil is chump change next to most of the rest of this year's #1's. If this movie opened in any other weekend they would be calling it a bomb even if it did make that same 14mil.

Dec 11 - 10:09 AM

alsanali

Alsan Ali

Eh... 14 mill isn't too bad... like the article says, the movie is subtitled, is extremely violent and definitely isn't targeted at mainstream audiences. Not to mention it doesn't have the controversy that fueled POTC.

Dec 11 - 11:51 AM

Bane Of Anubis

C M

[b]And...[/b]
since he didn't have to pay any actors in the millions (or hundreds of thousands, for that matter), the movie will likely turn a profit.

Dec 11 - 01:45 PM

Z-Man

Zac Bushnell

[b]Expectations need to be taken into account.[/b]
Who thought this movie would even break 10 mil in its opening weekend? Let alone be number 1? Of course 14 mil is not very much, but the expectations, the risk, plus the bad publicity? 14 mil is a success.

Dec 11 - 02:06 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

ok fine lets put this into context the budget listed (I can find) $40mil, and its made $14 mil, a little premature to call it a success.

And on the other hand we have Borat, budgeted at $18 mil, US gross alone $120 mil.

now tell me which ones a success?

Dec 11 - 03:42 PM

frogleg

Josh Quarles

But to further put it in context, the article above says holiday season films typically pull in 5-7x their opening take overall. If this holds true for this flick, and if the budget was indeed 40 million, and the movie pulls in 70-100 million, wouldn't that qualify as a success? And I appreciate the comparison to Borat, but that just illustrates the point made earlier. Comparing it to a movie that made more money doesn't necessarily make the other one a failure. It just means it didn't make as much profit. But 30-60 million dollars in profit is pretty good, I'd say.
I haven't seen the movie, but I will!

Dec 12 - 06:03 AM

deadmenonholiday

daniel gomez

Bad publicity?
a wise man once said no publicity is bad publicity.
First I'd like to say that 14 mil is not impressive; who would have thought that Apocalypto would have grossed over 10 million?
Basically every American who was aware of Gibson's actions over the summer.
Riding the wave of controversy and popularity, the execs should have expected Gibson to produce junk that sells, not junk that fails to make MORE than measly 14 million dollars; lousy sci-fi thrillers and comedies starring untalented obscure "comedians" gross 20 million in its first weekend.

There wasn't any real controversy surrounding POTC, or else people would have seen it on the news and/or given a damn about it, but no one did.
To say this film wasn't geared for mainstream audiences would be a lie; if it wasn't, then why did theaters have ropes set up as if expecting a trillion people in a line equal to a Star Wars release?

Dec 11 - 03:46 PM

deadmenonholiday

daniel gomez

And in regards to Happy Feet, I am angered such dribble would gross over 100 million dollars; this age of CGI has been among the worst things to happen to modern film since, I don't know, let's say, Jennifer Lopez.
ALL these cutesy little kid flix with animals all lack creaitivty/originality +a good cast. Robin Williams playing a penguin?
Gee, who wouldn't have seen that coming?
He can play the President, why not a penguin?
The only good cutesy little kid flik CGI rubbish would be the ones that started it all: Toy Story 1 & 2, Robots wasn't too bad especially considering before the showing it featured a trailer of ROTS, Finding Nemo while overrated was still somewhat funny, and thats about it.
Furthermore I am enjoying Jamie Foxx's struggle to do ANYTHING right, ever since Stealth, he's the new Sammy Jackson!

Dec 11 - 03:54 PM

South_park300

First Last

did you just make fun of Toy Story 1 and 2? you sir, have just given up your right to have an opinion.

Dec 11 - 07:29 PM

Bane Of Anubis

C M

I believe you mean drivel, unless you mean drooling like a jacktwat...

Dec 11 - 08:56 PM

Unbreakable Samurai

Unbreakable Samurai

Whatever there are way worse things than Jennifer Lopez. She stared in both U-Turn and The Cell which are both good movies, there are tons of actors who don't have two good movies. I still haven't seen Apocalypto but I will this weekend, I'm seeing Blood Diamond later today.

Dec 12 - 10:40 AM

Robin_1

Robin Stone

[b]Well I wish he would pay me...lol[/b]
Naw, I just loved the movie. It is the best movie in years.

Dec 11 - 06:15 PM

South_park300

First Last

did you just make fun of Toy Story 1 and 2? you sir, have just given up your right to have an opinion.

Dec 11 - 07:29 PM

Chunatagotoko

First Last

[b]$15 million... not 14[/b]
http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/boxoffice/;_ylt=ArlhaI_W.CTL5PlAL.eMiRNfVXcA

Dec 11 - 08:23 PM

Bane Of Anubis

C M

I believe you mean drivel, unless you mean drooling like a jacktwat...

Dec 11 - 08:56 PM

frogleg

Josh Quarles

But to further put it in context, the article above says holiday season films typically pull in 5-7x their opening take overall. If this holds true for this flick, and if the budget was indeed 40 million, and the movie pulls in 70-100 million, wouldn't that qualify as a success? And I appreciate the comparison to Borat, but that just illustrates the point made earlier. Comparing it to a movie that made more money doesn't necessarily make the other one a failure. It just means it didn't make as much profit. But 30-60 million dollars in profit is pretty good, I'd say.
I haven't seen the movie, but I will!

Dec 12 - 06:03 AM

Unbreakable Samurai

Unbreakable Samurai

Whatever there are way worse things than Jennifer Lopez. She stared in both U-Turn and The Cell which are both good movies, there are tons of actors who don't have two good movies. I still haven't seen Apocalypto but I will this weekend, I'm seeing Blood Diamond later today.

Dec 12 - 10:40 AM

daveinboca

dave inboca

[b]Yes, I think his Mad Max Debut Made Mel a Madman[/b]
But Mel has something else going for him that almost no one in Hollyweird Tinseltown does, and that is that he is a mad genius. I'm watching his Hamlet with my daughter for a high school paper and Mel Gibson does the best Hamlet since Laurence Olivier. Much better than Kenneth Branagh despite his all-star cast.

Gibson does tend to give 110% even at 3AM and anger management classes might be in order. But I wouldn't want to tone down the insanely over the top things that this certifiable crazed cinematic madman has produced from Braveheart through Passion to Apocalypto and hopefully much much more.

Dec 12 - 02:38 PM

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