Weekend Box Office (November 25 - 27, 2005)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Moviegoers continued to line up for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which ruled the Thanksgiving holiday box office as its global tally raced past the $400M mark after only its second weekend of release. Five new films chose the turkey frame to debut in theaters and were met with mixed results. Overall, ticket sales were about even with last year's Thanksgiving holiday when there was no Potter-sized juggernaut, but grosses were instead spread across a wider assortment of popular pics.

Still king of the box office, the fourth Potter film retained its crown grossing $54.7M in its second weekend, according to final studio figures, dropping an understandable 47% from its opening weekend. After ten days, the Warner Bros. smash has amassed a stunning $201M and is now aiming for the triple century mark in North America. Goblet delivered the third best weekend gross ever for the lucrative holiday frame behind the $57.5M of 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in its sophomore session and the $57.4M for 1999's Toy Story 2 in its first weekend.

Since the holiday frame's start on Wednesday, Goblet took in a jaw-dropping $81.3M over five days nearly matching the five-day $82.4M haul of Sorcerer from four years ago. Thanks to a more powerful start, Goblet is running 7.5% ahead of the first Potter after ten days of release. It is also well ahead of the last two wizard films, however since they did not benefit from a holiday boost in the second weekend, comparisons would be unfair. The new Hogwarts tale also became the first PG-13 film in twelve years to top the Thanksgiving holiday box office. Since 1993's Mrs. Doubtfire, every chart-topper over the turkey session has carried a G or PG rating.

Overseas, Goblet is still overflowing with success and grossed an estimated $97.4M this weekend from over 9,400 prints in 42 markets (including 23 new ones) boosting the international tally to a stunning $209M. Key markets like Japan, Italy, Spain, and Brazil all witnessed boffo openings this weekend while cumes in major holdover markets rose to $51.3M from the United Kingdom, $35.9M in Germany, and $13.7M in Mexico. Potter invades France, Australia, and Korea this coming week as the global gross stands at $410M and counting. By comparison, the last film in the series Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban had grossed $363M worldwide by the end of its second weekend. Most of the gain to date comes from the domestic market.

Holding steady in second place for the second straight weekend was the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line with $19.2M over three days slipping just 14%. Over five days, the Fox hit took in $26.9M and played as a popular alternative for adult audiences not interested in wizards or kidpics. After ten days, Walk has taken in an impressive $54M and could be headed for the $90-100M range or even more depending on end-of-year kudos and award nominations.

The Paramount-MGM co-production Yours, Mine & Ours posted the best opening among the weekend's five new releases landing in third place with $17.5M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The remake of the 1968 Lucille Ball-Henry Fonda comedy averaged a solid $5,446 from 3,206 theaters and grossed $24.3M since its Wednesday debut. Despite horrible reviews, the PG-rated film connected with its audience of parents and children with extra time on their hands for the long holiday frame. According to studio data, the audience was 60% family and 40% non-family. Yours was produced for just under $45M.

Finishing fourth for the weekend in its fourth outing was Disney's Chicken Little with $12.6M over three days. Down only 15%, the G-rated toon upped its cume to $118.4M.

The blockbuster Broadway musical Rent leapt from the stage to the screen and bowed to $10M from 2,433 movie theaters. Director Chris Columbus, who has ruled the Thanksgiving box office five times in his career with the first two Home Alone films, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the first two Harry Potter pics, settled for fifth place and captured $17.1M over five days. According to studio data, 58% of the crowd was female and 51% was over 25. Averaging a decent $4,117 over three days, Rent started off very strong on Wednesday with $5M thanks in part to a built-in audience familiar with the famous musical. However, momentum slowed over the rest of the holiday frame. Critics were generally pleased with the PG-13 film which stars Rosario Dawson, Taye Diggs, and numerous members of the original Broadway cast.

Ryan Reynolds saw a mild sixth place opening for his new critically-panned comedy Just Friends which collected $9.2M from 2,505 sites for a mediocre $3,669 average over three days. The PG-13 film which co-stars Amy Smart, Anna Faris, and Chris Klein laughed up $13.2M for New Line since its Wednesday launch.

Focus expanded its British period romance Pride & Prejudice nationwide moving from 221 to 1,299 theaters and jumped up three spots into the number seven position with $7.2M. The Keira Knightley pic averaged a solid $5,510 per location and put its total at $16M. Fellow femme-driven film Derailed dropped 29% to $4.6M in its third weekend pushing the sum to $29.3M.

Two new side dishes rounded out the top ten over Thanksgiving weekend with neither showing strong results. Lions Gate bowed its Usher starrer In the Mix to the tune of $4.4M averaging only $2,766 from 1,608 theaters. Focus followed with the John Cusack caper film The Ice Harvest which debuted to $3.7M from 1,552 locations for a chilly $2,410 average. Over the long five-day frame, the films grossed $6.1M and $5M, respectively.

Premiering to sensational results in platform release was the George Clooney-Matt Damon drama Syriana which debuted in only five theaters but grossed $374,502 for a scorching $74,900 average over three days. Since its Wednesday launch, the R-rated film has taken in $553,530. The story of the CIA's involvement in the oil industry in the Middle East drew strong reviews from critics in New York and Los Angeles and a national expansion is planned for December 9.

Half of last weekend's top ten got pushed off the list over the turkey frame. Sony's sci-fi adventure Zathura fell 31% to $3.5M in only its third orbit. With only $25.8M grossed to date, the effects-driven kidpic should end its run with a disappointing $31-33M. The Gulf War drama Jarhead dropped 41% to $2.8M putting its cume at $59.3M. The $72M Universal release is headed for a $65M final. The 50 Cent crime drama Get Rich or Die Tryin' shot up $2.2M, off 51%, for a $28.4M total. Paramount looks to reach $32M with the $40M picture.

Saw II got hacked 38% to $2.5M while The Legend of Zorro tumbled 62% to $906,937. The Lions Gate horror sequel has collected $84.4M thus far and should finish with an impressive $88-90M exceeding the $55.2M of the first Saw. The Zorro sequel, on the other hand, has grossed $44.5M and looks to conclude its domestic run with only $46M putting it at about half of the $93.8M of its 1998 predecessor The Mask of Zorro.

The top ten films grossed $143.1M which was off 2% from last year when National Treasure remained at number one with $32.2M; but up 2% from 2003 when The Cat in the Hat stayed in the top spot with $24.5M.

Compared to projections, Harry Potter was very close to my three-day forecast of $56M while Yours, Mine & Ours opened above my $14M prediction. Rent bowed a bit below my $12M projection and Just Friends was on target with my $9M forecast. In the Mix debuted very close to my $5M three-day prediction while The Ice Harvest opened weaker than my $6M projection.

For reviews of Harry Potter and The Matrix: Path of Neo video game, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Aeon Flux opens.

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

# Title Nov 25 - 27 Nov 18 - 20 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $ 54,727,138 $ 102,335,066 -46.5 3,858 2 $ 14,185 $ 201,010,207 Warner Bros.
2 Walk the Line 19,212,273 22,347,341 -14.0 3,138 2 6,122 54,008,042 Fox
3 Yours, Mine and Ours 17,461,108 3,206 1 5,446 24,321,341 Paramount
4 Chicken Little 12,568,113 14,711,378 -14.6 3,475 4 3,617 118,398,441 Buena Vista
5 Rent 10,016,021 2,433 1 4,117 17,138,943 Sony
6 Just Friends 9,191,331 2,505 1 3,669 13,243,107 New Line
7 Pride & Prejudice 7,158,119 2,141,554 234.2 1,299 3 5,510 16,032,282 Focus
8 Derailed 4,609,066 6,506,669 -29.2 2,061 3 2,236 29,307,115 Weinstein Co.
9 In the Mix 4,448,491 1,608 1 2,766 6,138,207 Lions Gate
10 The Ice Harvest 3,740,799 1,552 1 2,410 5,047,783 Focus
11 Zathura 3,541,291 5,133,592 -31.0 2,620 3 1,352 25,840,030 Sony
12 Jarhead 2,804,880 4,753,335 -41.0 1,612 4 1,740 59,338,505 Universal
13 Saw II 2,466,697 3,961,863 -37.7 1,326 5 1,860 84,353,116 Lions Gate
14 Get Rich or Die Tryin' 2,169,885 4,420,706 -50.9 1,213 3 1,789 28,400,000 Paramount
15 Good Night, and Good Luck 1,882,058 1,668,875 12.8 617 8 3,050 19,558,112 Warner Independent
16 The Polar Express - Imax RE 1,221,349 66 1 18,505 1,397,449 Warner Bros.
17 Capote 917,323 846,450 8.4 261 9 3,515 9,037,024 Sony Classics
18 The Legend of Zorro 906,937 2,355,095 -61.5 767 5 1,182 44,541,968 Sony
19 Shopgirl 768,257 1,022,121 -24.8 344 6 2,233 8,829,275 Buena Vista
20 Dreamer 477,413 1,222,202 -60.9 579 6 825 31,776,426 DreamWorks
Top 5 $ 113,984,653 $ 151,034,046 -24.5
Top 10 143,132,459 168,666,599 -15.1
Top 20 160,288,549 176,962,604 -9.4
Top 20 vs. 2004 160,288,549 158,412,473 1.2

Last Updated : November 27, 2005 at 8:00PM EST