Michelle Pfeiffer, New Year’s Eve
Starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary Swank, and countless others, Garry Marshall’s Warner Bros. release New Year’s Eve opened way below expectations on Friday, Dec. 9, collecting an estimated $5.08 million according to Box Office Mojo. The all-star omnibus romantic comedy-drama will be lucky if it reaches $16-17 million over the weekend, whereas some had been expecting an opening around $30 million. Screening at 3,505 sites, New Year’s Eve averaged a meager $1,449 per theater.
For comparison’s sake: Marshall’s all-star Valentine’s Day — featuring Julia Roberts, Taylor Lautner, Bradley Cooper, Shirley MacLaine, Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, and others — debuted with $56.26 million in February 2010. Ken Kwapis’ similarly packaged all-star romantic comedy-drama He’s Just Not That into You — with once again Bradley Cooper, plus Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, et al. — raked in $27.78 million in February 2009.
Not helping matters is that New Year’s Eve has a dismal 3 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics. For comparison’s sake: next to Marshall’s latest effort, He’s Just Not That into You seems like a movie classic, with a 32 percent approval rating. Valentine’s Day had a more modest — though still nearly five times better — 14 percent approval rating.
In addition to the stars mentioned in the first paragraph, the extensive New Year’s Eve cast includes Cary Elwes, Alyssa Milano, Common, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Sarah Paulson, Til Schweiger, Carla Gugino, Katherine Heigl, Jon Bon Jovi, Sofia Vergara, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, James Belushi, Abigail Breslin, Josh Duhamel, Penny Marshall, Cherry Jones, Chris ’Ludacris’ Bridges, Hector Elizondo, and Ryan Seacrest.
Expectations for the Jonah Hill vehicle The Sitter were quite low to begin with — but clearly not low enough. After earning an estimated $3.72 million on Friday, The Sitter will likely have trouble bringing in much more than a paltry $9 million at 2,750 locations over the weekend. That’s about $1 or $2 million less than the most modest predictions.
After three weeks on top — a first for a Twilight movie — Bill Condon’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 was down two spots at no. 3, with $2.5m. Last night, it seemed that Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner would be battling Kermit the Frog and his fellow Muppets for the third spot. However, if the studios’ estimates are correct, Breaking Dawn should end up slightly ahead of The Muppets by Sunday evening. At no. 4, The Muppets, featuring Amy Adams, Rashida Jones, Chris Cooper, and Jason Segel, brought in $1.66m.
Besides Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner, the long, long Breaking Dawn cast includes Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Dakota Fanning, MyAnna Buring, Booboo Stewart, and Michael Sheen.
Plus Maggie Grace, Lee Pace, Sarah Clarke, Anna Kendrick, Christian Serratos, Christopher Heyerdahl, Michael Welch, Christian Camargo, Julia Jones, Gil Birmingham, Kiowa Gordon, Billy Burke, Bronson Pelletier, Charlie Bewley, Tyson Houseman, Daniel Cudmore, Jamie Campbell Bower, Casey LaBow, Mia Maestro, and Alex Meraz.
Rounding out the top five on Friday was Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, with $1.6m. The well-received period fantasy is expected to bring in $6 million for the weekend. Hugo features Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
And rounding out the top ten were Arthur Christmas with $1.43 million, Alexander Payne-George Clooney’s The Descendants with $1.31 million, Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill with $870k, George Miller’s Happy Feet Two with $840k, and Henry Cavill-Freida Pinto’s Immortals with $730k.
New Year’s Eve photo: Andrew Schwartz / Warner Bros.