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Capping off a record year that broke the $10 billion mark for the first time, audiences flooded the multiplexes over the Christmas holiday frame generating the largest weekend box office ever seen. Reigning champ Avatar led the way for a second consecutive time, but popular new releases Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and It's Complicated
This weekend, a dozen years after scoring the biggest blockbuster of all-time, James Cameron returned to his comfortable spot at number one with his most expensive film to date, the sci-fi epic Avatar, which grossed more than every other film in the marketplace combined. On the other hand, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker failed to charm audiences with their new date movie Did You Hear About the Morgans? which limped into fourth place with a weak opening. A massive blizzard rocked the east coast dumping up to two feet of snow in some areas causing movie theaters to see drastic cuts in attendance. Studios will now fight hard to capture lost business in the days ahead as most holdovers witnessed hefty declines.
Fairy tales came true as mothers and daughters powered the animated film The Princess and the Frog to the number one spot in its first weekend of nationwide release. But the frame's only other wide opener, Clint Eastwood's Nelson Mandela drama Invictus, suffered a soft debut in third place. Overall, the North American box office remained ahead of the same frame from a year ago as 2009 continued on its record pace towards shattering the $10 billion mark for the first time ever.
This weekend audiences across North America cheered on Sandra Bullock as she defeated all her opponents to clinch the number one spot at the box office with her runaway hit drama The Blind Side which spent the last two weeks in second place. Flip flopping positions, The Twilight Saga: New Moon finished in the runnerup spot while new releases were met with moderate to dismal results. It was typical for the frame as the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday session always sees huge declines and unimpressive openings from new titles. But overall, the marketplace remained strong with sales up double digits over last year and 2007.
Crowd favorite Sandra Bullock scored her second number one of the year with The Blind Side which climbed from second to first place with an estimated $20.4M for a relatively light 49% decline.
Audiences feasted on leftovers and drove the North American box office to a new record for the busy Thanksgiving holiday frame. Moviegoers were almost evenly split been vampire love and football heroics as The Twilight Saga: New Moon remained at number one while Sandra Bullock's The Blind Side held steady in second place with just $2.4M separating the two. That was a far cry from the $108.7M gap between the pair last weekend when they both opened as Twilight tumbled and Blind Side rose this weekend. The disaster film 2012 placed third as no new release managed to make it into the top three. The Top 20 over Thanksgiving weekend has consistently delivered $150-160M over the last six years but this time it soared to $181M, a new industry high.
Multiplex cash registers were overflowing as the hotly-anticipated vampire sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened to gargantuan numbers generating the third largest opening in box office history and led the overall marketplace to the second biggest weekend tally of all-time. Debuting far back in second, but also surging past industry expectations, was Sandra Bullock's new football pic The Blind Side which got off to a fantastic start. The two new female-driven films attracted over $175M in combined ticket sales leading the top ten to soar to a jaw-dropping $245M.
This weekend Audiences were warned - by Mayans and film critics alike - but moviegoers around the world still flooded the multiplexes to see Roland Emmerich's latest disaster epic 2012 which generated an explosive global debut. Last weekend's top film A Christmas Carol held up well in its second weekend taking the runner-up spot while the awards hopeful Precious expanded moderately but raced all the way up to number four despite playing in fewer than 200 theaters. Overall ticket sales were slightly behind last year's levels, but well ahead of 2007. Blasting past expectations, Sony scored its best opening of 2009 with 2012 which grossed an estimated $65M this weekend from North America alone.
This weekend Moviegoers powered Jim Carrey's holiday kidpic A Christmas Carol to a number one opening but some fans remained stingy preventing the Disney 3D toon from meeting industry expectations. On the complete other side of the movie spectrum, the inner city drama Precious debuted to spectacular results enjoying one of the most impressive limited release debuts ever. Three other new wide releases were sprinkled across the top ten with mixed results as the overall marketplace fell behind year-ago levels.
The 3D yuletide pic A Christmas Carol bowed on top this weekend grossing an estimated $31M from 3,683 locations and performed better than previous motion capture pics from director Robert Zemeckis, but worse than most animated films that kick off the holiday movie season in early November.
Four months after his death, Michael Jackson was the king of the box office as his concert documentary This Is It thrilled fans opening at number one. But with no other new films opening in wide release, and with Halloween dampening ticket sales on Saturday, the Top 20 slumped to its lowest point of 2009 with just $83M.
Sony scored its seventh top spot debut of the year with This Is It, a look at preparations the music superstar was making for his sold-out London concerts, which grossed an estimated $21.3M over the weekend and $32.5M over five days since its Wednesday launch. Worldwide, the Kenny Ortega-directed pic grossed an estimated $101M with 68% of the total coming from overseas markets where Jackson's popularity has remained stronger over the years despite his many legal troubles. Domestically, This Is It averaged a solid $6,119 from 3,481 theaters over the Friday-to-Sunday span.
The studio has reported that the Jackson pic has broken the all-time record for top-grossing concert film worldwide beating the $71.3M of last year's Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus 3D concert flick. But that's not much of an achievement since very few concert films get wide releases in the first place and even fewer are given massive global launches like This Is It which unspooled on over 15,000 screens worldwide simultaneously. Montana bowed in North America on a Friday in just 683 3D locations (albeit with higher $15 tickets) and grossed $31.1M for a scorching $45,561 average on its way to a $65.3M domestic final representing a whopping 92% of its final global take. Its international release was much more limited.
This weekend what looked to be a close race between two major horror films ended up being no contest at all as moviegoers demanding a scare on the final full weekend before Halloween rallied behind the indie sensation Paranormal Activity which rose to number one in its fifth frame brutally punishing the opening for Saw VI which suffered the worst debut ever in the profitable franchise's history. Three other new releases ended up with small chunks of change outside of the top five while the overall marketplace slumped below last year's performance.
Three new releases hit the multiplexes while one indie sensation expands nationally hoping to strike gold and shake up the establishment. Leading the charge is the family film Where the Wild Things Are which gets the widest release by far and stands the best chance of capturing the number one spot. Also debuting is the horror film The Stepfather and the action drama Law Abiding Citizen. Meanwhile, the micro-budgeted thriller Paranormal Activity will capitalize on its enormous buzz by widening into all major markets on Friday making a serious play for the number two spot this weekend. Moviegoers poured into multiplexes to see a wide range of appealing films powering the box office to the biggest October weekend in history. Leading the way was the new adventure pic Where the Wild Things Are which bowed at number one followed by an exceptionally strong debut for the action entry Law Abiding Citizen in second. The most impressive performance came in third with the national expansion of the indie thriller Paranormal Activity which delivered the best average of any film. The four new wide releases kicked in a stunning $86M powering the Top 20 to $135M, a new record high for the month.
Couples ruled the box office as Universal's Couples Retreat took top honors at the box office this weekend. But the real story was the low-budget horror entry from Paramount, Paranormal Activity, which crashed the top five from only 159 theaters. Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell and the rest of the ensemble cast of Couples Retreat landed, as expected, in the number one spot at the North American box office this weekend. The tale of four couples going through intense comical therapy grossed an estimated $35.3M this weekend from 3,000 theaters for a per screen average of $11,780. If that number holds, it would be the sixth highest opening weekend for the month of October, just ahead of a quadrilogy of Saw films. Poor reviews didn't hurt the film as its well-known cast certainly provided enough star power to make it the top choice for audiences.
This weekend Sony ruled the North American box office with an unlikely pair of hit comedies that led the way over a crowded frame that saw five films, each offering its share of laughs, shove their way into wide release. The violent horror-comedy Zombieland enjoyed a strong debut in first place bumping the studio's animated 3D pic Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs into second after two weeks on top. But some other studios collected a bit of cash too. Disney's double feature Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (3D) drew impressive numbers in third while Warner Bros. saw lackluster results for its Ricky Gervais comedy The Invention of Lying in fourth.
Turning into the sleeper hit of the fall, Sony's blockbuster 3D toon Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs easily ruled the North American box office posting the second smallest sophomore decline of any number one opener this year. Moviegoers were once again unimpressed with the new films that Hollywood studios tried to push on them with the Bruce Willis sci-fi pic Surrogates leading the pack with a sluggish debut in second place. The dance remake Fame bowed in third to mild numbers while the umpteenth horror film in recent weeks Pandorum failed to scare up much business.
Sliding by an incredibly low 19%, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs showed remarkable strength in first place grossing an estimated $24.6M in its second weekend in theaters. Sensational word-of-mouth and a lack of competing family films or comedies helped the Sony release boost its ten-day tally to a solid $60M. The only number one opener in 2009 to enjoy a better second weekend hold was Liam Neeson's Taken which slipped by a mere 17% in early February. The revenge thriller banked $53.6M in its first ten days before continuing its leggy run which extended to an astonishing $145M final.
Moviegoers chose 3D fun over Hollywood stars as the animated comedy Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs powered ahead of expectations to debut at number one grossing more than the three new live-action films combined. Matt Damon and Jennifer Aniston generated unimpressive numbers for their debuting films The Informant! and Love Happens, respectively, while Megan Fox failed to lure in ticket buyers to her horror entry Jennifer's Body. Overall, the North American box office did see a healthy double-digit gain over last year.
This weekend Tyler Perry ruled the charts once again as fans flocked to North American multiplexes for his latest film I Can Do Bad All By Myself which gave the filmmaker his fifth number one hit of the last five years - the most for any director. Opening to solid results in second place was the animated sci-fi actioner 9. But after a string of violent R-rated films in recent weeks, audiences stayed away from two competing thrillers which foolishly opened on the same day - the college slasher pic Sorority Row and the Antarctica-set murder mystery Whiteout. Both flops debuted outside the top five with averages of under $2,000. Overall, the box office dipped from a year ago with the Top 20 sliding 7% from the same weekend in 2008.
While the summer movie season started with a bang with the sharp claws of a mutant super hero, it ended quietly over the four-day Labor Day holiday session with the 3D horror sequel The Final Destination topping the lowest-grossing weekend of 2009. None of the three new releases managed to unseat last weekend's box office winner and the Top 20 sunk to just $116M over four days and $91M over three days -- the worst such tally of the year.
With moviegoers not showing much excitement for the weekend's new releases, The Final Destination remained at number one by default grossing an estimated $15.4M in its second round over the four-day holiday session.
Another August weekend, another new R-rated movie overperforms at number one. This time it was the 3D fright flick The Final Destination which easily won the showdown between new horror sequels soaring ahead of expectations while Halloween II debuted in third grossing about what was expected from it. Holdovers and former chart-toppers Inglourious Basterds and District 9 both held up well making it that rare frame when violent R-rated films claimed the top four spots at the box office. The on-screen carnage drove ticket sales to an all-time high for the weekend before the Labor Day holiday session closing off an exceptionally powerful August box office.
This weekend Quentin, Brad, and Harvey lit up their stogies following the exceptional opening of their new World War II film Inglourious Basterds which topped the charts and exceeded all industry expectations to lead a robust late-summer session at the box office. The frame's three other new releases (Shorts, X-Games 3D: The Movie, and Post Grad, the highest of which grossed only $6.6 million) got the cold shoulder from moviegoers but the overall top ten surged ahead of last year and 2007 by more than 25%. Holdovers contributed too as no film in the top ten declined by more than 50%.
THIS WEEKEND Audiences went alien crazy as the sci-fi action drama District 9 rode a wave of strong buzz, slick marketing, and stellar reviews to debut easily at number one powering ahead of expectations. The counter-programming romance The Time Traveler's Wife fared well in its opening weekend while the frame's three other new releases struggled to find paying customers with the summer movie season slowly winding down. But the top ten saw encouraging double-digit gains over last year and 2007 as the marketplace continued to attract a sizable amount of business. Time will tell if this trend will continue and help the summer movie season to finish strong, with a handful of big releases yet to come.