Weekend Box Office (January 13 - 16, 2006)

*** 2006 Golden Globe Winners ***

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND There was no peace or harmony at the box office over the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend as The Weinstein Company and Disney fought each other for the coveted number one spot with new PG-rated releases aimed at broad family audiences. The former Miramax heads unleashed their first animated film Hoodwinked, but were edged out by the Mouse House's debut of the inspirational sports drama Glory Road which claimed first place.

Winning the four-day weekend at the buzzer with $16.9M, according to final studio figures, from 2,222 theaters was Disney's college basketball flick Glory Road. The story of the real-life coach who recruited mostly black players to his squad in 1965 averaged a strong $7,618 over four days. Glory was tops among all films on Friday, but was beaten out by Hoodwinked on Saturday and Sunday.

Hoodwinked exceeded expectations over the weekend opening to $16.9M from 2,394 theaters for an impressive four-day average of $7,051. The animated pic offers a modern-day cops and robbers twist on the story of Little Red Riding Hood and features the voices of Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, Jim Belushi, and Anthony Anderson. Reviews were generally good.

There was no debate over third place which was taken by the new Queen Latifah comedy Last Holiday. The Paramount release bowed to $15.5M from 2,514 locations for a four-day average of $6,169. Co-starring LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton and Alicia Witt, the PG-13 entry told the story of a woman who takes off for a lavish vacation in Europe after being told she only has three weeks left to live. Reviews were mixed but critics were mostly unanimous in praising Latifah's performance for carrying the film.

According to studio research, Last Holiday played heavily to an audience of adult women. Of those polled, 70% were female and 69% were of age 25 or older. The studio was encouraged by the exit polls that saw a very high 91% of moviegoers categorizing the film as "excellent" or "very good" indicating long-term potential. Last Holiday carried a pricetag in the mid $40M range.

Unlike most MLK holiday weekends when one major new release dominates the charts, this year saw three films share the wealth and generate solid debuts within striking distance of each other. As a result, this weekend saw the lowest gross for a number one film over MLK weekend in nine years. It was also the first time in six years that a new film failed to open with at least $20M over four days during this particular holiday frame.

Among holdovers, Disney's juggernaut The Chronicles of Narnia led the way with $12.8M over four days dropping a moderate 36% when comparing the Friday-to-Sunday portion to last weekend. The fantasy adventure continued to stay strong and lifted its cume to $264M putting it at number 29 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters behind Shrek which grossed $267.7M in 2001. Internationally, Narnia remained number one over the weekend collecting an estimated $20.1M which sent the overseas tally to $319M. Worldwide, the Disney megahit has now grossed a jaw-dropping $583M.

After opening at number one last weekend, the horror entry Hostel fell to fifth place with $11.4M over the long weekend. The three-day figure of $9.9M dropped 49% which was normal for films of the genre. Typically, fright flicks fall by more than half in their sophomore frames, but with the Monday holiday, Sunday sales were stronger than normal lessening the blow. With $36.6M chopped up in 11 days, Hostel could be on its way to grossing about $55M. That would make the $4.5M production another highly profitable horror film for Lions Gate.

Dropping only 27% over the three-day period was the Jim Carrey comedy Fun with Dick and Jane which grossed $10.3M over the long weekend. Sony has now generated a solid $94.2M making it the highest-grossing film for the studio in nearly a year.

Finishing seventh for the weekend was King Kong with $9.1M, off 41%, pushing the total to $204.5M. On Saturday, in its 32nd day of release, the Peter Jackson-directed action film crossed the $200M mark. Overseas, Universal's giant ape took in an estimated $15M lifting its international cume to $296M. Kong now sits at $500.5M globally.

Opening in eighth place was the period romance Tristan & Isolde which grossed $7.6M from 1,845 theaters for a mediocre four-day average of $4,126. The Fox film played mainly to its core audience of young women.

Golden Globe winner Brokeback Mountain followed with $7M from 683 theaters for a four-day average of $10,310. The Ang Lee film expanded into 200 more locations this weekend and continued to have the best average in the top ten. Cume reached $32.1M. Brokeback is slowly expanding each week capitalizing off of strong reviews, good word-of-mouth, and all the free publicity surrounding its numerous awards and nominations. Miramax's Chicago took a similar route three years ago slowly widening during January as more of the country became interested in seeing it. The musical grossed $29.4M from 557 theaters by the end of MLK weekend that year on its way to winning six Oscars and grossing $170.7M domestically.

Rounding out the top ten was Fox's Cheaper by the Dozen 2 with $6.8M, down 40%, putting the cume for the Fox sequel at $74.7M.

Four December releases fell from the top ten over the weekend. Steven Spielberg's Munich grossed $5.9M over four days to boost its total to $33.8M for Universal. Sony's Memoirs of a Geisha collected $5.1M and raised its sum to $47.3M. The Jennifer Aniston comedy Rumor Has It took in $3.2M leaving Warner Bros. with $40.1M since Christmas. Rival femme comedy The Family Stone grossed $2.6M bringing Fox's cume up to $57.2M.

The top ten films grossed $114.4M which was down 16% from last year when Coach Carter opened at number one with $29.2M; but up 7% from 2004 when Along Came Polly debuted in the top spot with $32.5M.

Compared to projections, Hoodwinked powered well ahead of my $10M forecast. Glory Road and Last Holiday both opened very close to my respective predictions of $17M and $15M. Tristan & Isolde debuted ahead of my $5M projection.

Be sure to check the NEW Golden Globe winners chart which tracks the updated box office grosses of all the winners. Visit the Top 20 chart of top-grossing films from 2005.

For NEW reviews of Last Holiday and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Underworld: Evolution opens.

Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines

# Title Jan 13 - 16 Jan 6 - 8 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Glory Road $ 16,927,589 2,222 1 $ 7,618 $ 16,927,589 Buena Vista
2 Hoodwinked 16,879,402 2,394 1 7,051 16,879,402 Weinstein Co.
3 Last Holiday 15,508,779 2,514 1 6,169 15,508,779 Paramount
4 The Chronicles of Narnia 12,809,767 15,643,135 -18.1 3,224 6 3,973 264,020,859 Buena Vista
5 Hostel 11,411,250 19,556,099 -41.6 2,337 2 4,883 36,572,577 Lions Gate
6 Fun with Dick and Jane 10,344,702 11,918,995 -13.2 3,239 3 3,194 94,245,955 Sony
7 King Kong 9,061,690 12,622,285 -28.2 2,814 5 3,220 204,527,690 Universal
8 Tristan & Isolde 7,612,008 1,845 1 4,126 7,612,008 Fox
9 Brokeback Mountain 7,041,508 5,726,662 23.0 683 6 10,310 32,074,517 Focus
10 Cheaper by the Dozen 2 6,806,052 8,432,616 -19.3 2,773 3 2,454 74,668,267 Fox
11 Munich 5,909,760 7,566,075 -21.9 1,498 4 3,945 33,807,605 Universal
12 Memoirs of a Geisha 5,110,052 6,111,193 -16.4 1,654 6 3,090 47,314,182 Sony
13 The Ringer 3,238,037 4,249,864 -23.8 1,388 4 2,333 31,933,987 Fox Searchlight
14 Rumor Has It 3,151,446 5,702,435 -44.7 1,955 4 1,612 40,063,774 Warner Bros.
15 Casanova 2,745,399 3,778,824 -27.3 1,011 4 2,716 9,004,486 Buena Vista
16 The Family Stone 2,634,213 4,607,787 -42.8 1,441 5 1,828 57,179,206 Fox
17 Match Point 2,362,452 2,709,289 -12.8 312 3 7,572 6,800,049 DreamWorks
18 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2,133,483 2,858,384 -25.4 1,003 9 2,127 284,361,860 Warner Bros.
19 Walk the Line 2,076,530 2,111,049 -1.6 864 9 2,403 98,254,885 Fox
20 The Producers 1,534,690 2,244,115 -31.6 785 5 1,955 17,438,197 Universal
Top 5 $ 73,536,787 $ 68,173,130 7.9
Top 10 114,402,747 97,887,282 16.9
Top 20 145,298,809 123,563,616 17.6
Top 20 vs. 2005 145,298,809 159,246,032 -8.8

Last Updated : January 17, 2006 at 8:00PM EST