When all of the good box office news is coming from the specialty market, you know that Hollywood is having a rough December. Both Black Swan and The Fighter posted big numbers in limited release while few fans felt the urge to “Return to Narnia” with Fox’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The Narnia franchise’s third installment does at least get to claim the “Number One Movie in America” tag for its TV spots over the next few days, however. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie got The Tourist to second place this weekend, as expected… it is only that number in the total column that could have been bigger.
|1||Voyage of the Dawn Treader||$24,500,000||$24.5|
|4||Harry Potter 7A||$8,500,000||$257.6|
|8||Love & Other Drugs||$3,000,000||$27.6|
As the frame following the Thanksgiving Holiday, last weekend was supposed to be slow at the box office. With no such excuse applicable for the second weekend in December, one just has to figure that audiences weren’t too jazzed by the new offerings.
Voyage of the Dawn Treader sailed into these rough seas on Friday, and though Fox put their best effort into restarting Disney’s cast-off franchise, today’s estimates do not support a fourth cinematic trip to CS Lewis’s magical kingdom. From 3,555 locations – 1,989 of which offered the film in 3D – Dawn Treader posted an estimate of just $24.5 million.
Compare that to Prince Caspian which tallied $55 million on its debut weekend back in May of 2008 and you can see why this is being seen as a weak opening. The good news is that the Dawn Treader budget did not approach the $225 million Disney spent on their Prince. If the film has a good showing with the family set over the Christmas vacation period, Fox and Walden Media could still salvage something out of this experiment. But, of course, Disney and Tron Legacy might have something to say about that.
It didn’t help Dawn Treader that few people are familiar with the Narnia titles beyond The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. And though Fox tried to tie their film to that first success (even returning to the same December release weekend) it also didn’t help that Disney-owned ABC TV decided to air Narnia 1 last night from 8 to 11.
The news wasn’t much better for The Tourist, the film that launched a thousand rumors when it signed Angelina Jolie to star opposite Johnny Depp. From its 2,756 locations (all of them in old-fashioned no-D) The PG-13 thriller earned an estimated $17 million. That makes the film’s per-screen average nearly equivalent to Narnia 3, but you can’t put that on a poster now can you?
Like the week’s big family film, The Tourist had a long, interesting journey to the multiplex. It is the second film meant to star Tom Cruise that Angelina Jolie picked up after last summer’s Salt. It probably isn’t fair to compare the two titles but, what the hell? Salt also opened in second place last July, though it pulled in $36 million on its debut weekend. The film’s budgets are said to be roughly equivalent at around $100 million each, which puts The Tourist at a distinct disadvantage. The film also has a current Rotten Tomato rating of just 20% fresh so a big word of mouth surge is probably not in the cards.
The film that did see a big surge – all the way up to number six in this week’s top ten – is Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. The R-rated title expanded into 90 venues in its second weekend and pulled in an estimated $3.3 million. Also big was Relativity’s The Fighter which grabbed the second best per-screen average of 2010 with $80,000 earned from each of its four locations… that’s a total of $320,000 in three days for those who fear math.
See you back here next week when we should have something big to talk about with Disney’s Tron Legacy. If you read this site at all you know that the studio has put great care and effort into re-launching the eighties classic and I’m thinking it’s all about to pay off.