Weekend Box Office (December 28 - 30, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The final frame of 2007 saw moviegoers rush out and catch up on holdovers as last weekend's biggest hits remained atop the charts. The Disney adventure sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets held steady at number one for the second straight time grossing $36.7M, according to final studio figures. Dropping a reasonable 18%, the PG-rated actioner saw its 12-day total (including Monday and Tuesday) soar to $142.9M. Nicolas Cage's franchise pic averaged a terrific $9,570 over three days from 3,832 playdates. Book of Secrets has already broken into the Top 20 chart of this year's blockbusters and stands a chance of reaching the Top 10. That would be fitting since five of the six biggest hits of 2007 were sequels.

Another PG-rated film catering to moviegoers of all ages followed in second. Fox's family comedy sensation Alvin and the Chipmunks saw its weekend gross inch up 3% from last weekend to $29M which boosted the cume to a stunning $153.6M in only 19 days. Alvin edged out Spider-Man 3 to post the best third weekend gross of any film released in 2007. The talking chipmunks already sit at number 12 among all blockbusters from 2007 and is Fox's second-biggest hit of the year after the $183.1M of The Simpsons Movie.

Will Smith's megahit I Am Legend collected $27.4M in its third weekend, off 18%, pushing its sensational total to $206.1M after 19 days. The Warner Bros. blockbuster is the ninth blockbuster of 2007 to cross the $200M mark edging out 2005's eight to set a new industry record. National Treasure and Alvin could both still join the club by the end of their runs. Together the three end-of-year behemoths have grossed a combined $503M through January 1 giving the year an explosive finish.

Leading all films for mature adults was Charlie Wilson's War with $12M which was up a healthy 24% from last weekend's opening frame. With Christmas over and grown-ups having more available time, the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts pic upped its cume to a decent $41.7M after 12 days which on par with the $38.3M that the studio saw exactly a year ago from its CIA drama The Good Shepherd in its first 11 days which also included the yuletide holiday week. That political saga appealed to much the same audience and went on to gross $59.9M domestically. War cost $75M to produce.

Indie darling Juno continued to overwhelm at the box office leaping up into the number five slot with $10.6M despite playing in only 1,019 theaters. Every film above it on the charts is in at least 2,500 sites. The teen pregnancy tale averaged a still-superb $10,436 in its fourth frame and pushed the sum up to a remarkable $31.5M af of New Year's Day. Juno is already outperforming Fox Searchlight's dysfunctional family comedy hit from last year Little Miss Sunshine which in its fourth frame grossed $5.6M from its expansion into 691 locations for a $8,120 average and $12.7M total. With buzz snowballing, kudos attention becoming more focused, and a long awards season still ahead of it, Juno looks to challenge Sunshine and 2004's Sideways to become the distributor's highest-grossing film ever. Those Oscar-winning comedies banked $59.9M and $71.5M, respectively.

Opening in sixth place was the sci-fi action sequel Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem with $10.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday weekend period and $30.5M over the eight-day debut period since its Christmas Day launch. Attacking 2,611 sites, the R-rated pic averaged a mild $3,853 and skewed male to nobody's surprise. The eight-day bow still fell short of the $38.3M three-day opening of 2004's Alien vs. Predator which carried a PG-13 rating and launched in the late summer period.

Enjoying a sturdy bump from last weekend was the romance P.S. I Love You which took in $9.3M climbing 43% from it unimpressive bow last weekend. Warner Bros. has banked $27.9M in 12 days and is finally reaching its core audience of adult women now that holiday distractions have gone by.

Sony was close behind in eighth with the opening of its fantasy adventure tale The Water Horse which grossed $9.2M over the weekend and $21.7M over eight days. Over the three-day period, the PG-rated tale averaged a lukewarm $3,314 per site in 2,772 locations. The Loch Ness Monster saga played mostly to kids and families.

The Johnny Depp musical Sweeney Todd dropped 12% to $8.2M in its second weekend. The $50M Paramount release has taken in $30.6M in 12 days. Disney's less gory music-filled offering Enchanted rounded out the top ten with $6.4M, up a charming 52%, to a total of $113.9M.

Opening just outside the top ten with a surprisingly soft bow was Denzel Washington's directorial and starring effort The Great Debaters with $6M from 1,171 sites for a decent $5,128 average. Produced by Oprah Winfrey and co-starring Forest Whitaker, the PG-13 film has collected an unimpressive $16.4M in the eight days since its Christmas Day bow which is below what Washington usually sees with his films. The Oprah factor was also expected to provide more of a commercial boost.

Delivering the highest opening weekend average of the year, Paramount Vantage's oil baron saga There Will Be Blood exploded in just two theaters grossing $190,739 for an eye-popping $95,370 average. Co-produced by Miramax, the R-rated film is anchored by Daniel Day-Lewis who in recent weeks has earned awards and nominations from virtually every kudos organization in the Best Actor category. He is now considered one of the frontrunners for the Oscar. Reviews have been glowing for Blood which will expand on Friday to 50 theaters and gradually roll out in January.

The top ten films grossed $158.9M which was up a healthy 19% from last year when Night at the Museum stayed at number one with $36.8M over three days; and up a stunning 42% from 2005 when The Chronicles of Narnia reclaimed the top spot with $25.7M.

Compared to projections, Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem bowed below my $13M prediction, The Water Horse opened very close to my $8M forecast, and The Great Debaters debuted below my $9M projection.

View the updated charts for the Top 20 Blockbusters of 2007 and 2008 Golden Globe nominations.

For reviews of Charlie Wilson's War and National Treasure: Book of Secrets plus DVD reviews of Halloween and National Treasure, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when One Missed Call opens.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Dec 28 - 30 Dec 21 - 23 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cume - Jan 1 Distributor
1 National Treasure: Book of Secrets $ 36,672,708 $ 44,783,772 -18.1 3,832 2 $ 9,570 $ 142,943,238 Buena Vista
2 Alvin and the Chipmunks 29,029,898 28,179,556 3.0 3,484 3 8,332 153,632,443 Fox
3 I Am Legend 27,414,467 33,503,201 -18.2 3,636 3 7,540 206,129,574 Warner Bros.
4 Charlie Wilson's War 12,012,360 9,656,250 24.4 2,575 2 4,665 41,703,310 Universal
5 Juno 10,634,576 3,425,045 210.5 1,019 4 10,436 31,470,011 Fox Searchlight
6 Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem 10,059,425 2,611 1 3,853 30,485,323 Fox
7 P.S. I Love You 9,289,337 6,481,221 43.3 2,464 2 3,770 27,901,562 Warner Bros.
8 The Water Horse 9,186,054 2,772 1 3,314 21,681,680 Sony
9 Sweeney Todd 8,194,360 9,300,805 -11.9 1,249 2 6,561 30,609,858 Paramount
10 Enchanted 6,431,622 4,222,859 52.3 2,262 6 2,843 113,913,026 Buena Vista
11 The Great Debaters 6,005,180 1,171 1 5,128 16,435,030 MGM
12 The Golden Compass 4,683,801 3,980,000 17.7 1,935 4 2,421 61,280,000 New Line
13 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story 3,853,916 4,174,383 -7.7 2,650 2 1,454 14,244,720 Sony
14 Atonement 3,123,028 1,940,584 60.9 310 4 10,074 13,001,062 Focus
15 No Country For Old Men 2,218,782 1,874,865 18.3 960 8 2,311 42,282,508 Miramax
16 The Kite Runner 1,845,396 1,178,368 56.6 377 3 4,895 6,427,325 Par. Classics
17 Bee Movie 637,798 408,864 56.0 475 9 1,343 124,518,342 Paramount
18 The Savages 522,952 217,924 140.0 111 5 4,711 1,968,692 Fox Searchlight
19 This Christmas 393,150 924,232 -57.5 341 6 1,153 48,932,070 Sony
20 The Perfect Holiday 343,032 972,877 -64.7 331 3 1,036 5,532,641 Yari Film Group
Top 5 $ 115,764,009 $ 125,423,584 -7.7
Top 10 158,924,807 147,707,092 7.6
Top 20 182,551,842 157,117,308 16.2
Top 20 vs. 2006 182,551,842 156,003,339 17.0

Last Updated: January 2, 2008 at 8:45PM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.