Weekend Box Office (December 29, 2006 - January 1, 2007)
*** Top Foreign Pics | Globe Nominee Grosses ***
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND Fox continued to dominate the North American box office with its holiday smash Night at the Museum which once again ruled over the charts in its second weekend as 2006 came to a close. Will Smith's rags-to-riches hit The Pursuit of Happyness remained in second place while the musical Dreamgirls climbed up to number three in its first weekend of wide release. Moviegoers flooded the multiplexes as ticket sales for the top ten rose sharply over last weekend's Christmas frame and even beat out last year's four-day New Year's holiday session.
The Ben Stiller comedy Night at the Museum continued as the most popular attraction for all audiences as the PG-rated hit hauled in $48.2M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday period, according to final studio figures, rising a healthy 14% over its opening frame. After only 11 days in theaters, the effects-driven comedy has banked an impressive $127.3M and could be headed towards the $200M mark domestically. Museum was the widest release in the marketplace playing at 3,768 locations, including 72 Imax venues, and averaged a muscular $12,800 over four days.
For Stiller, Museum represented his sixth $100M blockbuster while for Robin Williams, who played a supporting part as President Teddy Roosevelt, the new pic gave him his tenth trip into the century club over the last twenty years. Audiences of all ages have been flocking to the Fox smash which has been a key component in keeping the current box office ahead of last year's red hot marketplace as its 11-day cume has already surpassed the $120.6M start that King Kong generated in its first 13 days. Internationally, Museum has already grossed $65M putting its worldwide tally at $192M.
Staying put in second place was Will Smith's uplifting drama The Pursuit of Happyness with $25.5M over the four-day holiday frame, up 13% from last weekend. After 18 days, the Sony hit has grossed $104.5M and on New Year's Day became the actor's tenth $100M blockbuster in only eleven years. Pursuit averaged $8,871 over four days in its third weekend while playing in 2,870 sites. It also helped cap off a stellar year for Sony which led all studios with nearly $1.7 billion in North American ticket sales, accounting for 19% market share, and over $3.3 billion worldwide. A final domestic gross north of $140M could be possible.
The acclaimed musical Dreamgirls jumped up to third in its first full weekend of wide play grossing $18.4M over four days. The Paramount/DreamWorks pic averaged a sensational $21,578 from only 852 locations and upped its cume to $41.3M. The Jamie Foxx-Beyonce Knowles hit will expand to about 1,800 playdates on January 12 for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame. Dreamgirls has earned five Golden Globe nominations including one for Best Picture - Comedy or Musical and is a major contender for Oscar nominations. The PG-13 film stood strong at number three while playing in 2,000-3,000 fewer theaters than the rest of the weekend's top choices.
Paramount's kidpic Charlotte's Web followed in fourth with $14.9M over four days in its third weekend. Up a terrific 56% from the Christmas frame, the G-rated film has taken in $55.8M to date. The Matt Damon thriller The Good Shepherd collected $14.2M. Universal's CIA drama was up less than 1% and raised its total to $38.3M in 11 days.
Sylvester Stallone found himself in sixth with Rocky Balboa which took in $13.8M in its second weekend. Dropping 19%, the MGM release has punched up a solid $51.1M in 13 days which amounts to more than twice the film's budget. Rocky was the only film in the top ten to see its four-day gross drop. Fox's fantasy adventure Eragon followed with $10.8M, up 16%, for a $59.1M total.
The football drama We Are Marshall climbed 22% to $10.4M in its second session giving Warner Bros. a modest $27.5M in 11 days. The studio's runaway hit penguin toon Happy Feet jumped up 52% to $10M in its seventh weekend putting its cume at $178.3M. The global gross shot up to $292M and counting. Rounding out the top ten was the Cameron Diaz-Kate Winslet comedy The Holiday which grossed $8.8M, up 29%, for a $52.1M total to date.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight debuted its Judi Dench drama Notes on a Scandal to $559,111 from only 22 theaters over four days for a potent $25,414 average. Cume sits at $757,968. MGM saw a more modest bow for its Renee Zellweger pic Miss Potter which bowed to $13,205 over four days from two cinemas for a mild $6,602 average. Paramount's French murder drama Perfume bowed to $55,523 over four days from only three sites for a potent $18,507 average. Total is $75,893.
Elsewhere below the top ten, the James Bond actioner Casino Royale posted another impressive weekend in its seventh frame grossing $6M over four days. The Sony smash climbed 38% from last weekend and lifted its domestic haul to $154.9M with the global tally rising to a towering $493M. That makes it the fourth largest worldwide blockbuster of 2006 after Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code, and Ice Age: The Meltdown.
The horror film Black Christmas scared up $4.9M in its first full weekend of release from 1,544 theaters for a mild $3,197 average. Cume for MGM is $12.1M. Mel Gibson's Apocalypto inched up 3% to $4.6M and pushed its total to $44M for Buena Vista.
The top ten films grossed $175.2M over four days which was up a healthy 10% from last year when The Chronicles of Narnia reclaimed the number one spot with $33.7M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday span.
For NEW reviews of Children of Men and The Good Shepherd, plus DVD reviews of Jet Li's Fearless and World Trade Center, visit The Chief Report.
Check the chart of Golden Globe nominees and their grosses throughout awards season plus the list of the top-grossing foreign language hits of 2006.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Code Name: The Cleaner, Freedom Writers, and Happily N'Ever After all open.
|#||Title||Dec 29 - Jan 1||Dec 22 - 25||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Night at the Museum||$ 48,231,531||$ 42,212,651||14.3||3,768||2||$ 12,800||$ 127,286,780||Fox|
|2||The Pursuit of Happyness||25,461,188||22,554,220||12.9||2,870||3||8,871||104,510,417||Sony|
|5||The Good Shephard||14,239,635||14,142,760||0.7||2,218||2||6,420||38,305,620||Universal|
|8||We Are Marshall||10,433,431||8,582,508||21.6||2,606||2||4,004||27,471,812||Warner Bros.|
|9||Happy Feet||10,008,451||6,565,747||52.4||2,565||7||3,902||178,325,897||Warner Bros.|
|11||Blood Diamond||6,764,435||4,775,689||41.6||1,920||4||3,523||37,595,098||Warner Bros.|
|15||The Nativity Story||1,956,785||6,358,000||-69.2||1,824||5||1,073||36,726,539||New Line|
|16||Unaccompanied Minors||1,281,456||1,069,848||19.8||1,021||4||1,255||15,308,319||Warner Bros.|
|18||Deja Vu||1,053,984||1,043,787||1.0||655||6||1,609||61,851,185||Buena Vista|
|Top 5||$ 121,258,883||$ 105,481,568||15.0|
|Top 20 vs. 2005||204,675,378||188,790,739||8.4|
NOTE: Grosses in bold are for 1 day of wide release.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : January 2, 2007 at 8:15PM ET
Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.