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Box Office: The Tourist + How Do You Know Bomb

Jessica Alba Little Fockers: Face + figure in critically lambasted box office hit
Jessica Alba in Little Fockers. Best known for her portrayal of Sue Storm in two Fantastic Four movies, Jessica Alba displays to advantage her face and figure in Paul Weitz’s critically lambasted Christmas season box office hit Little Fockers, starring Ben Stiller, and two-time Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, and Barbra Streisand. In fact, Alba’s looks play a key role in the $100 million lowbrow comedy, as her drug company representative is the one who gets the plot in motion by flirting with the drab, married nerd Stiller.
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Little Fockers tops domestic box office: Critically panned crowd-pleasing comedy kickstarts the New Year in lowbrow style

One of the most critically lambasted 2010 releases, Paul Weitz’s Little Fockers was the no. 1 movie at the U.S. and Canada box office on the very first weekend of 2011 (Dec. 31–Jan. 2). That’s hardly surprising. After all, dumb comedies – e.g., Grown Ups, Jackass 3D – tend to fare well on weekends, when apparently families and friends decide to spend some quality time together at the movies.

According to final figures found at boxofficemojo.com, Little Fockers drew in $25.8 million – several hundred thousand dollars less than distributor Universal had estimated, but still enough to top the domestic chart. Compared to Christmas weekend, the Fockers were down a modest 16 percent.

After 10 days out, Little Fockers’ North American total stands at $103 million. Yet, despite its significant success, it continues to trail its equally lowbrow predecessor, Jay Roach’s Meet the Fockers ($132.9 million on Day 10 in late December 2004), though it’s now ahead of the first film in the franchise, Roach’s Meet the Parents – even when taking inflation into account (an adjusted $86.1 million in mid-October 2000).

One of the year’s worst-received releases

As mentioned further up, Little Fockers is not only a sizable domestic box office hit but also one of the worst-received movies of the year, having thus far earned a dismal 4 percent – you read it right, 4 percent – approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics.

That goes to prove once again that American critics, some of whom wondered about the need for another Fockers flick, are totally out of touch with American moviegoers.

In fact, movie critics, who clearly can’t spell the words “box office,” should all resign and let those discerning audience members who flock to stuff like Little Fockers tell their online video watchers – people who either don’t or can’t read – what’s cool and what ain’t.

‘Little Fockers’ evidence that social media is creating more discerning moviegoers?

But let’s not despair. As Brooks Barnes explained a little while ago in the New York Times, Twitter and Facebook are helping moviegoers be more discerning in their moviegoing choices. One assumes that helps to explain Little Fockers having passed the $100 million milestone – as opposed to the $200 or $300 million milestone – on Day 10.

In all seriousness, considering the sort of stuff that Hollywood studios will be releasing in 2011 – and that audiences worldwide will flock to see – Little Fockers’ box office victory has heralded the New Year in appropriate style.

Little Fockers’ reported cost: $100 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses.

Barbra Streisand Little Fockers
Barbra Streisand in Little Fockers: Two-time Oscar winner featured in the latest Ben Stiller-Robert De Niro cinematic horror. In Little Fockers, Barbra Streisand – who played Fanny Brice twice, who loved and lost Robert Redford, who sang “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” in male drag – returns as Stiller’s mother and Dustin Hoffman’s wife, a carefree spirit with little sense of fashion or table manners. Could there be worse ways to waste your name and talent? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

‘Little Fockers’ cast: Prestigious actors lend name to asinine comedy

The mostly prestigious Little Fockers cast includes the following:

  • Ben Stiller.
  • Two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro (as Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather: Part II, 1974; as Best Actor for Raging Bull, 1980).
  • Owen Wilson.
  • Two-time Oscar winner Barbra Streisand (as Best Actress for Funny Girl, 1968; for songwriting, A Star Is Born, 1976*).
  • Two-time Best Actor Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman (Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979; Rain Man, 1988).
  • Teri Polo.
  • Best Featured Actress in a Play Tony Award winner Blythe Danner (Butterflies Are Free, 1970).
  • Jessica Alba.
  • Best Actress Oscar nominee Laura Dern (Rambling Rose, 1991).
  • Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Harvey Keitel (Bugsy, 1991).
  • Oscar nominee Tom McCarthy (shortlisted in the Best Original Screenplay category for Up).

* In her film debut as comedienne/singer Fanny Brice, future Little Fockers star Barbra Streisand shared the 1968 Best Actress Oscar with veteran Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter. Streisand co-wrote with Paul Williams the song “Evergreen” from the 1976 A Star Is Born remake.

‘True Grit’: Rare Western hit

Right on Little Fockers’ tail this past weekend, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Western True Grit, toplining Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin, and Barry Pepper, grossed $24.4 million (down a minuscule 2 percent from Christmas weekend).

Unlike Little Fockers, the Coen brothers’ latest effort has generally received enthusiastic reviews; it currently enjoys a 94 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics.

In addition, 2011 SAG Award nods for Bridges and newcomer Steinfeld, and numerous mentions in critics’ Best of the Year and award lists have helped to propel this Western – in the last four decades, hardly the most box-office-friendly of genres – into the blockbuster-in-the-making realm.

True Grit has already become the Coens’ biggest domestic hit ever. After 12 days, it has taken in $86.76 million; that’s nearly $1 million more than the adjusted-for-inflation $86 million take ($74.28 million back in 2007) of their Best Picture Oscar winner No Country for Old Men.

Another bit of good news: In relation to its reported $38 million production budget, True Grit is already “in the black.” Of course, marketing and distribution expenses need to be accounted for as well. In other words, it’ll be a little while before True Grit becomes truly profitable.

True Grit Jeff Bridges Rooster Cogburn: 4-decade Hollywood veteran in 2 biggest hitsTrue Grit with Jeff Bridges, who also stars in TRON: Legacy: the four-decade Hollywood veteran can be currently seen in what are fast becoming his two biggest box office hits since the 1976 King Kong. What’s more: for his performance as the eyepatch-wearing Rooster Cogburn in Joel and Ethan Coen’s True Grit remake, Bridges will likely receive his sixth Academy Award nomination. The previous five were for the following: as Best Supporting Actor for The Last Picture Show (1971), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), and The Contender (2000); as Best Actor for Starman (1984) and Crazy Heart (2009). He won for Crazy Heart.

Four-decade Hollywood veteran Jeff Bridges has two movies among Top Five

True Grit and Joseph Kosinski’s TRON: Legacy – no. 3 on this weekend’s box office chart after collecting $18.75 million – happen to be anomalies in the career of veteran Jeff Bridges.

A leading man for nearly 40 years, Bridges has had relatively few major commercial hits. Most of these became successful less because of his presence than that of co-stars such as King Kong (John Guillermin’s 1976 remake), Barbra Streisand (The Mirror Has Two Faces), Robin Williams (The Fisher King), and Clint Eastwood (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot).

For comparison’s sake: in its first five days, True Grit earned almost as much money domestically as Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart, which cumed at $39.46 million in the U.S. and Canada last year largely thanks to Bridges’ numerous Best Actor awards, including the 2010 Oscar.

Jeff Bridges’ first $50+ million domestic hits in nearly a decade

Indeed, True Grit and TRON: Legacy will end up becoming the first Jeff Bridges star vehicles to collect more than $50 million at the North American box office since Iain Softley’s 2001 mystery sci-fier K-Pax, co-starring Kevin Spacey.

But what about Seabiscuit and Iron Man?

Well, neither Seabiscuit nor Iron Man was “a Jeff Bridges star vehicle.” The former starred Tobey Maguire and a horse; the latter starred Robert Downey Jr. and a metal suit.

Also worth noting, on its 11th day out TRON: Legacy surpassed the inflation-adjusted box office gross of Steven Lisberger’s original TRON, which back in 1982 earned approximately $33 million – or about $89.2 million in 2010 dollars.

First post-‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ Matt Damon hit

Although not exactly a Matt Damon star vehicle, True Grit also happens to be Damon’s first hit since Paul GreengrassThe Bourne Ultimatum (2007), which was followed by a string of box office disappointments: Greengrass’ Green Zone, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter and Invictus, and Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!.

True Grit, by the way, is the Coen brothers’ remake of Henry Hathaway’s 1969 Western starring Best Actor Oscar winner John Wayne, Kim Darby, and Glen Campbell in, respectively, the Bridges, Steinfeld, and Damon roles. The original True Grit earned Paramount $14.25 million in rentals (the studio’s take), which translates into about $28.5 million in box office grosses back then and $160 million today.

As for TRON: Legacy, in addition to Jeff Bridges the special-effects-laden sci-fi adventure features Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and 1982 TRON actor Bruce Boxleitner. Domestic total: $130.85 million, a generally solid figure that feels more than a little underwhelming in relation to the film’s $170 million cost.

And that’s why Hollywood studios love the international market.

Gulliver’s Travels trailer with Jack Black. Rob Letterman’s Gulliver’s Travels coulda been a contender, it coulda been somebody just like those Little Fockers. Somehow, that wasn’t meant to be. Also in the cast of the costly box office bomb: Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, and Jason Segel.

Costly Gulliver’s Travels bombs

Regarding the New Year’s weekend domestic box office, I should also remark on the presence – way down the chart – of the Rob Letterman-Jack Black collaboration Gulliver’s Travels, which pulled in $9.3 million at no. 8 – up 45 percent from the Christmas weekend following the addition of more than 500 locations. (Also, keep in mind that Gulliver’s Travels opened on Saturday.)

Total: A measly $27.22 million after nine days out. Reported cost: $112 million. (Initial estimates ranged from $80–$100 million.)

Dumbed down Jonathan Swift

Besides Jack Black, this modernized, infantilized, 3D film version of Jonathan Swift’s sociopolitical fantasy adventure also features Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, and Jason Segel.

The puzzling thing is: considering it’s a dumbed down version of Swift’s tale – one that relies on cheap, cheesy humor – why hasn’t Gulliver’s Travels attracted a much larger domestic audience?

Why isn’t it – at the very least – a more modest Little Fockers?

Little Fockers Ben Stiller Robert De Niro: Critical bomb + box office hit
Little Fockers with Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. The Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers offspring, Little Fockers, is both a critical bomb and a commercial hit in the U.S. and Canada. Most other domestic blockbusters (box office gross over $100 million) may not have been as widely panned as Little Fockers, but they do have one thing in common: target audiences between the ages of 6 and 14. Examples include: Jackass 3D, Grown Ups, TRON: Legacy, Tangled, Clash of the Titans, The Karate Kid, Megamind, The Last Airbender, The Expendables, The Other Guys, and Robin Hood.

2009 release Avatar is biggest movie hit of 2010

In other box office news, thanks to higher ticket prices and loads of costlier IMAX and 3D presentations, the North American box office will once again pass the $10 billion mark in 2010. Last year, domestic revenues reached $10.6 billion; this year, they should reach a slightly more modest $10.556 billion according to Hollywood.com.

Attendance was actually down 5.4 percent from 2009 – the biggest drop-off rate since 2005. In fact, despite the rosy box office dollar figures, 2010 will turn out to be the second-least attended year of the early 21st century.

James Cameron’s Avatar, a late 2009 release starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver, was 2010’s top hit with approximately $477 million (including the unsuccessful late summer re-release). Avatar was followed by:

  • Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3.
  • Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
  • Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2.
  • David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
  • Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
  • David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

The other three movies that grossed more than $200 million domestically in 2010 were the animated Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, and How to Train Your Dragon.

All but three of the $200+ million blockbusters were costlier 3D releases. All were shown at hundreds of costlier IMAX theaters.

Check out the biggest box office year ever & the second biggest box office year ever.


Jessica Alba Little Fockers image: Universal Pictures.

Jeff Bridges True Grit image: Wilson Webb | Paramount Pictures.

Barbra Streisand Little Fockers image: Universal Pictures.

Jack Black Gulliver’s Travels image: hy*drau’lx / 20th Century Fox.

Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro Little Fockers image: Universal Pictures.

Little Fockers Proof That Audiences Prefer Dumb Movies? Not Necessarily” last updated in July 2018.

TRON: Legacy Garrett Hedlund Beau Garrett
TRON: Legacy with Garrett Hedlund and Beau Garrett: TRON sequel of sorts topped the North American box office, but after a slow global start it’ll have a tough time recovering its mega budget. One of the film’s stars, Jeff Bridges, also toplined the 1982 original – which also happened to be a costly box office disappointment.

TRON: Legacy tops U.S. & Canada box office chart – but a domestic financial disappointment all the same

Dec. 19 update: Directed by feature-film newcomer Joseph Kosinski, and starring Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, and Jeff Bridges, Disney’s special-effects-laden 3D sci-fi adventure TRON: Legacy was the no. 1 movie at the North American box office this weekend (Dec. 17–19), taking in $43.6 million, including $3.6 million from Thursday midnight screenings, according to studio estimates.

Sounds good for a sequel of sorts to a 28-year-old movie? Well, as found at Boxofficemojo.com, TRON: Legacy‘s average at 3,451 locations was a just okay $12,634 per site – especially “just” okay when considering 3D/IMAX surcharges and Disney’s multimillion-dollar marketing campaign.

For comparison’s sake:

  • Back in early March, when ticket prices were actually cheaper than they are now, Tim Burton’s (converted to) 3D feature Alice in Wonderland collected $116.1 million at 3,728 sites on its first weekend out. Alice in Wonderland‘s per-theater average was $31,143.
  • At 4,380 locations in May, the Jon Favreau-Robert Downey Jr. collaboration Iron Man 2 grossed $128.12 million, averaging $29,252 per site despite the lack of 3D surcharges.
  • Even after blowing off steam on its Wednesday opening, David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, earned $64.83 million on its first weekend out in late June – without the help of either 3D or those box-office-fattening advance midnight screenings. Eclipse‘s per-theater average was $14,510.

TRON: Legacy unlikely to recover production budget in domestic market + disappointing overseas debut

Depending on the source, TRON: Legacy cost between $170-200 million. Without a major surge on the Christmas and New Year’s Day weekends, Kosinski’s sci-fi adventure will find it impossible to recoup its production budget at the U.S. and Canada box office. Remember, on average studios only keep about 50–55 percent of their films’ domestic take.

Also worth noting is that – even after taking out the $3.6 million earned from midnight screenings – TRON: Legacy was up less than 5 percent on Saturday. Every other movie on the chart posted double-digit increases in relation to Friday; several were up more than 40 percent.

The question is: this holiday season and throughout January 2011, will TRON: Legacy manage to lure an audience beyond its hardcore sci-fi/adventure fanboys (or fanmen, as the case may be)?

Internationally, TRON: Legacy has pulled in a disappointing $23 million in 26 territories, among them major markets such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Spain, and Argentina.

TRON: Legacy cast

TRON: Legacy is a sequel to Steven Lisberger’s 1982 sci-fier TRON, which also starred this year’s Best Actor Academy Award winner, Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart).

Besides Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, and Olivia Wilde, the TRON: Legacy cast includes James Frain, Beau Garrett, Michael Sheen, and another 1982 TRON veteran, Bruce Boxleitner.

Dec. 22 update: TRON: Legacy continued to lead the North American box office on both Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 20–21, pulling in, respectively, $6 million and $6.35 million. Kosinski’s sci-fi adventure has already passed the $50 million mark domestically.

See also: Veteran Jeff Bridges (The Last Picture Show, Starman) has two movies among Top Five.

How Do You Know Reese Witherspoon
How Do You Know with Reese Witherspoon: James L. Brooks comedy also featuring Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and three-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson is a box office cataclysm-in-the-making. Reportedly produced for $120 million – not including marketing and distribution expenses – How Do You Know earned less than $8 million at the domestic box office on its opening weekend. Nicholson’s three Oscars, by the way, were for the following: Best Actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and As Good As It Gets (1997); Best Supporting Actor for Terms of Endearment (1983). The last two titles were also directed by Brooks.

How Do You Know one of the biggest box office bombs this century

Opening in eighth place this weekend, James L. Brooks’ comedy How Do You Know, starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson, collected $7.6 million at 2,483 locations. How Do You Know‘s average per site was a mere $3,061.

A Sony Pictures release, Brooks’ comedy cost a reported $120 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses. And that’s how How Do You Know, has become one of the year’s – or rather, the century’s – major box office disasters.

It’s nearly impossible to compare How Do You Know to the performances of Brooks’ early hits Terms of Endearment (1983) and Broadcast News (1987) because distribution patterns were different in those days and movie theaters were different (generally much bigger, i.e., more tickets could be sold per theater) back then as well.

But How Do You Know is performing even worse than Brooks’ previous box office disappointment, Spanglish (2004), which starred Adam Sandler, Paz Vega, and Téa Leoni, and opened with $8.81 million at 2,438 sites. Spanglish cumed at $42.72 million in the U.S. and Canada; as found at Box Office Mojo, its international take was an abysmal $12.31 million. International prospects for How Do You Know look equally dim.

Reese Witherspoon box office: Little luck since Walk the Line Oscar win

With the exception of the comedy Four Christmases, which went on to gross $120.14 million in North America, Reese Witherspoon hasn’t had much luck since winning the Best Actress Oscar for Walk the Line back in early 2006.

Rendition (2007) totaled $9.73 million while Penelope (2008) fared only marginally better (or less terribly), raking in $10.01 million. The international grosses of both movies were just as disastrous: $17.3 million for Rendition and $11.14 million (likely incomplete, but including most major markets) for Penelope.

Perhaps Witherspoon’s box office downturn will end when Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants, which co-stars The Twilight Saga idol Robert Pattinson and Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, 2009) opens next April.

Yogi Bear Dan Aykroyd Boo Boo Justin Timberlake
Yogi Bear (Dan Aykroyd) and Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake) in the 3D animated/live action feature Yogi Bear: Critically panned release has turned out to be a box office disappointment. The plot of Eric Brevig’s movie revolves around municipal bankruptcy, government profligacy, political corruption, environmental awareness, and picnic-basket misappropriation. Yogi Bear‘s live action cast includes Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, and T.J. Miller.

Yogi Bear flops while Voyage of the Dawn Treader bombs in North America but fares well overseas

Trailing TRON: Legacy, Eric Brevig’s poorly received Warner Bros.-distributed Yogi Bear, a live action/animation mix and the weekend’s other 3D entry, grossed a modest $16.7 million at 3,515 North American sites, according to studio estimates.

Yogi Bear‘s per-theater average, especially for an $80 million-budgeted 3D release, was a downright mediocre $4,752. The silver lining is that, even though it has been dismissed by critics, the kiddie flick will likely pick up steam throughout the holiday season.

Yogi Bear features the voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake, and the presence of Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, and T.J. Miller, among others.

Down two spots at no. 3, Michael Apted’s fantasy adventure The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader drew in $12.4 million (down 48 percent). Total to date: $42.76 million. Cost: $155 million.

The good news: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has taken in $123.65 million overseas.

Boxing box office match: The Fighter vs. Million Dollar Baby

David O. Russell’s well-received The Fighter, which stars potential Oscar contenders Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Melissa Leo, pulled in $12.2 million at no. 4 after expanding to 2,503 locations. The Fighter‘s per-theater average was a good but hardly phenomenal $4,874. Total to date: $12.63 million. Cost: $25 million.

For comparison’s sake: after expanding to 2,010 locations back in late Jan. 2005, when, incidentally, movie ticket prices were quite a bit cheaper, Clint Eastwood’s boxing drama Million Dollar Baby averaged $6,102 per-theater thanks to its strong Oscar buzz.

The eventual Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Hilary Swank), and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman), Million Dollar Baby went on to earn more the $100 million in the U.S. and Canada and $116 million internationally.

At this stage, it doesn’t look like The Fighter will reach that far either in North America or elsewhere.

The Tourist down while Black Swan flies following expansion

Down three spots at no. 5, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s widely panned spy caper The Tourist, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, grossed $8.7 million, down a surprisingly moderate down 47 percent. Total: $30.79 million. Cost: $100 million. Overseas, where it’ll likely find more receptive audiences, The Tourist has collected $22.3 million.

Disney’s Tangled scored $8.67 million (down 39 percent) at no. 6. Total: $127.81 million. Cost: $260 million. Internationally, Tangled has brought in $97.8 million.

Next in line at no. 7 was Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller Black Swan, which took in $8.3 million after expanding to 959 theaters.

Black Swan‘s per-theater average was a solid $8,655. Strong awards season buzz, for the film itself and especially for star Natalie Portman, should keep Black Swan afloat in the foreseeable future. Total: $15.7 million. Cost: $13 million.

The Social Network nears $200 million worldwide

Now playing at 228 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, awards season favorite The Social Network, the movie to beat at the 2011 Oscars, collected an estimated $300,000 this weekend.

After 12 weekends, David Fincher’s drama about the creation of Facebook has grossed $91.85 million. International gross: $97.68 million. Worldwide total: $189.53 million. Cost: $50 million.

The Social Network features Jesse Eisenberg as controversial Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, Max Minghella, and Joseph Mazzello.

Rabbit Hole Nicole Kidman John Cameron Mitchell
Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman and director John Cameron Mitchell: Psychological drama about parental grief has a modest start at the domestic box office. Rabbit Hole is set universes away from Mitchell’s previous two features, the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the sexually explicit comedy Shortbus. In the filmmaker’s latest, likely Best Actress Academy Award nominee Nicole Kidman plays the bereaved mother of a four-year-old boy killed in a car accident. Aaron Eckhart is her husband; two-time Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Dianne Wiest is her mother. David Lindsay-Abaire adapted his own 2005 play.

Rabbit Hole opens modestly while Casino Jack disappoints

Opening this weekend in limited release were the Nicole Kidman-Aaron Eckhart drama Rabbit Hole, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, and the Kevin Spacey comedy Casino Jack, directed by George Hickenlooper.

Rabbit Hole brought in $55,000 at five theaters, averaging $11,000 per location. That certainly isn’t great, but considering the film’s subject matter – parents grieve the death of their four-year-old child – it isn’t bad, either. Also in the cast: two-time Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Dianne Wiest (Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986; Bullets Over Broadway, 1994) as Nicole Kidman’s mother.

Casino Jack‘s opening was more problematic. It grossed only $35,000 at seven sites, or $5,000 per theater. Chances are Casino Jack will have trouble reaching $500,000 at the end of its North American run.

I Love You Phillip Morris, currently at 49 theaters, will probably not go much wider. Following a good if unspectacular debut, the Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor comedy-drama mix about two gay con men earned $146,000, averaging a meager $2,980 per site. Total after three weekends: $521,000.

TRON: Legacy Jeff Bridges
TRON: Legacy with Jeff Bridges. This year’s Best Actor Oscar winner for Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart and one of the leads in TRON: Legacy, veteran Jeff Bridges starred in Steven Lisberger’s 1982 TRON. In the original, Bridges plays Kevin Flynn, a former computer programmer and game developer for the ENCOM corporation, eventually finding himself inside the company’s mainframe cyberspace. He reprises the role in TRON: Legacy, the missing father of ENCOM shareholder Samuel (Garrett Hedlund). “TRON” refers to one of ENCOM’s key security programs, curiously, played by the human Bruce Boxleitner.

TRON: Legacy tops box office chart, but unlikely to become domestic blockbuster

Dec. 18 update: Starring Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, and Olivia Wilde, the Joseph Kosinski-directed Disney release TRON: Legacy opened at the top of the U.S. and Canada box office chart on Friday, Dec. 17.

Even so, $18 million at 3,451 theaters doesn’t quite translate into blockbusting grosses, especially considering IMAX/3D surcharges and a multimillionaire marketing campaign. Not to mention the fact that the Friday figure includes $3.6 million from Thursday midnight screenings.

Considering its reported $170–200 million production budget – not including distribution and marketing expenses – TRON: Legacy should better overperform during Christmas and New Year. Additionally, the sci-fi/adventure had better bring in lots of foreign currency as well.

TRON: Legacy‘s Friday average (including midnight shows) was a relatively modest $5,216.

The special-effects-laden 3D flick, a sequel to the 1982 box office disappointment TRON, is expected to take in $45–50 million over the weekend.

Yogi Bear flops & How Do You Know bombs

Another 3D release, the Warner Bros.-distributed animated feature Yogi Bear, collected an estimated $4.61 million at 3,515 sites on Friday. Yogi Bear‘s per-theater average, especially for a 3D movie, was a mediocre $1,312.

Now in wide release, David O. Russell’s The Fighter pulled in $3.8 million at 2,503 locations. For the weekend, The Fighter is expected to collect $11.8 million – or a just okay $4,714 per site.

For comparison’s sake: after expanding to 959 theaters, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is expected to gross $9 million by Sunday night. If so, its per theater average will be $9,384. (Admittedly, all things being equal, the fewer the number of locations the higher the per-theater average – but the discrepancy here is quite marked.)

And finally, James L. Brooks’ $120 million-budgeted comedy How Do You Know, starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson, promises to become one of the century’s biggest box office bombs.

The Tourist Angelina Jolie Johnny Depp: costly domestic box office bombThe Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s costly and widely panned spy caper has become a domestic box office bomb; yet there’s a chance Columbia Pictures’ late fall release will be more enthusiastically received internationally. The Tourist was budgeted at a reported $100 million.

Golden Globes box office effect? ‘The Tourist’ & ‘Burlesque’ up more than 20 percent following nominations announcement

Dec. 15 update: The 2015 Golden Globes were announced early Tuesday morning, Dec. 14. The Top Ten movies at the domestic box office, among them The Tourist, Black Swan, and Burlesque, were up 15 percent compared to Monday and 24 percent compared to the previous week.

Were the Golden Globe nominations responsible for the jump?

Yes and No.

First, the “No.” Compared to the previous week, box office figures have been up since last Friday. On Monday, numbers were 32 percent higher. And if you look at Box Office Mojo‘s daily charts you’ll notice that Tuesdays are usually good days at the North American box office when compared to Monday. Attendance is almost invariably up.

Yet the Golden Globes probably helped – at least to some extent – those titles nominated in the Best Picture and/or acting categories. Among the Top Twelve movies, Burlesque, a Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical contender, and Love & Other Drugs, starring nominees Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal, were the only two titles up more than 30 percent on Tuesday.

Additionally, Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical contender The Tourist, which stars nominees Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and 127 Hours (back among the Top Twelve), starring nominee James Franco, were the only two up between 20–30 percent.

‘Black Swan’ boost?

Curiously, the much-ballyhooed Black Swan was up a relatively modest 12 percent. Perhaps that’s because Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman has been overperforming just about every day. Either way, on Tuesday Black Swan boasted – by far – the highest per-theater average among North America’s Top Twelve movies, $5,288.

Also worth noting, the no. 1 movie in the U.S. and Canada on Tuesday was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – hardly a Golden Globe favorite. The third installment in the Narnia franchise took in $1.72 million.

On the other hand, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader posted the lowest Monday-to-Tuesday increase, a mere 5 percent. So, seems like the Golden Globes do have some box office value, whether for a few days or a few hours.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader trailer with Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, and Will Poulter.

‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’: Domestic debut hardly of biblical proportions

Dec. 13 update: Directed by veteran Michael Apted, perhaps best known for the “Up” documentaries (21, 28 Up, 35 Up, etc.), 20th Century Fox’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had an underwhelming debut in the U.S. and Canada this past weekend, Dec. 10–12, taking in a modest $24 million at 3,555 locations, according to box office actuals found at Box Office Mojo.

First of all, that’s way below the $40 million or whereabouts that some pundits had been predicting.

Second, it’s an especially weak figure when one takes 3D surcharges into account.

And finally, since The Voyage of the Dawn Treader cost a reported $155 million, that initial box office take is bad news indeed for distributor Fox. Targeting Christians to come see a biblically inspired big-budget movie didn’t pay off this time around – well, at least not domestically.

‘The Tourist’ should have stayed home

Debuting at no. 2 was the $100 million-budgeted The Tourist, toplining Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, whose spy drama The Lives of Others received the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2007.

Despite its star wattage, the widely panned spy caper brought in a disappointing $16.47 million – quite a bit less than the $20 million some had predicted.

Columbia Pictures is distributing this domestic bomb, which, like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, will quite possibly have a much healthier movie house life internationally.

‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ passes domestic milestone

The Walt Disney Studios’ animated feature Tangled, featuring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, was the no. 3 movie on the U.S. and Canada box office chart, scoring $14.33 million.

Tangled was followed by last week’s champ, David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, with $8.48 million (down 50 percent).

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and two-time Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (Best Supporting Actor for Schindler’s List, 1993; Best Actor for The English Patient, 1996), the latest – and next-to-last – installment in the Harry Potter film series passed the $250 million domestic milestone this past weekend. Total to date: $257.67 million.

Tony Scott’s $100 million-budgeted train thriller Unstoppable, starring Star Trek actor Chris Pine and Best Actor Oscar winner Denzel Washington (Training Day, 2001), earned $3.7 million at no. 5.

‘Black Swan’ soars

After expanding from 18 to 90 venues, Darren Aronofsky’s ballet world-set thriller Black Swan pulled in $3.3 million at no. 6. Its average was an astounding $36,726 per theater. Total to date: $5.58 million. Cost (not including marketing and distribution expenses): $13 million.

In the Black Swan cast: Shoo-in Best Actress Oscar contender Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Vincent Cassel, Benjamin Millepied, and Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Barbara Hershey (The Portrait of a Lady, 1996).

Update: Black Swan becomes sleeper worldwide blockbuster.

Gone from the Top Twelve – after only one week – was Sngmoo Lee’s $42 million actioner The Warrior’s Way, toplining Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston, and Best Actor Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine, 1996).

The Tourist trailer with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Shades of Stanley Donen’s Charade and Arabesque – plus a nine-figure budget, minus the “classic” status enjoyed by the two 1960s spy capers starring, respectively, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren.

‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ & ‘The Tourist’ suffer from anemic debuts

Dec. 11 update: Directed by veteran Michael Apted, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader opened in North America to mostly negative reviews and tepid box office on Friday, Dec. 10, according to studio estimates.

The third installment in the Chronicles of Narnia series scored an estimated $8.2 million at 3,555 locations, averaging a highly disappointing $2,307 per theater in spite of 3D surcharges.

Debuting at no. 2 with $6.1 million, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s widely ridiculed The Tourist, starring Hollywood heavyweights Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, was another box office disappointment.

Bright ‘Black Swan’

As a result of the unimpressive debuts of both The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Tourist, once again the success story this late fall is going to be that of the Darren Aronofsky-Natalie Portman collaboration Black Swan.

After expanding from 18 to 90 venues, the psychological thriller pulled in nearly $1 million – $987,000 to be exact, as per studio estimates. Its average was a fantastic $10,967 per site.

For comparison’s sake: three weeks ago, Danny Boyle’s “triumph of the human spirit” drama 127 Hours, starring likely Best Actor Oscar contender James Franco, collected $259,000 on its first day after expanding from 22 to 108 sites. 127 Hours’ per-theater average was a somewhat dispiriting $2,398.

Here’s another example: on its first day after expanding from 38 to 201 locations last July, Lisa Cholodenko’s likely Oscar contender The Kids Are All Right, which earned rave reviews for stars Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo, scored $711,000. The family comedy-drama averaged $3,536 per venue.

Breakaway indie hit

If Black Swan‘s box office appeal holds up, the Fox Searchlight release may turn out to be the breakaway indie hit of 2010.

The people at 20th Century Fox – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Unstoppable, Love & Other Drugs – could learn a lesson or two from the Fox Searchlight crowd regarding what movies should get made and how to market them.

And finally, at four venues David O. Russell’s The Fighter, also inspired by real-life events, earned $98,000. In the cast: Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Melissa Leo.

‘Tangled’ beats ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’

Dec. 6 update: Disney’s animated fairy tale Tangled, which has turned out to be a much bigger hit than anyone expected, topped the North American box office this past weekend (Dec. 3–5), earning $21.6 million.

Assisted by 3D surcharges, Tangled had the highest per-theater average – $5,997 – among the Top Twelve movies. In the voice cast: Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi.

David Yates’ fantasy adventure Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 collected $17 million at no. 2 – down 65 percent, the steepest weekend-to-weekend drop-off rate among the Top Twelve. In the cast:

Daniel Radcliffe. Ralph Fiennes. Rupert Grint. Emma Watson. Julie Walters. Imelda Staunton. Jason Isaacs.

Helen McCrory. Alan Rickman. Richard Griffiths. Timothy Spall. Helena Bonham Carter. Tom Felton. Michael Gambon.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 should soon hit the $250 million milestone at the domestic box office. Cost: according to some reports, $200 million.

Black Swan Barbara Hershey: Psychological thriller is awards season biggest success storyBlack Swan with Barbara Hershey. Although Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Tangled have topped the U.S. and Canada box office in the last 10 days or so, Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller starring shoo-in Best Actress Oscar contender Natalie Portman has become the biggest – surprising – success story this awards season.

‘Black Swan’: Sleeper-hit-in-the-making

The big success story of the Dec. 3–5 weekend, however, belonged to a much “smaller” movie: at no. 13, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan boasted 2010’s second-highest weekend per-theater average: $1.44 million at only 18 locations resulted in a jaw-dropping $80,212 per site.

Last weekend, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech averaged $88,863 – but at only four theaters.

Considering that all things being equal, the higher the number of theaters the lower the per-theater average, Black Swan‘s box office take has been even more impressive than that of The King’s Speech.

At nearly five times more locations, Black Swan was only about 15 percent behind The King’s Speech in the per-theater average department.

‘The King’s Speech’ still strong, gay con men movie less so

The King’s Speech, for its part, continues to do well in limited release. Starring 2010 British Independent Film Award winners Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, the likely multiple Oscar contender scored $326,000 (down a modest 8 percent) after adding two more venues, averaging a hefty $54,333 per theater on weekend no. 2.

Also in the cast: Guy Pearce and veteran Claire Bloom (Limelight, The Haunting).

Performing less remarkably but, even so, surprisingly well, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s I Love You Phillip Morris drew in $113,000 at six venues, averaging $18,833 per location. In the cast: Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor as gay inmates/lovers, in addition to Rodrigo Santoro and Leslie Mann.

I Love You Phillip Morris garnered a lot of buzz at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, but it took much too long for it to open in the United States due to litigation and infighting. All that probably has taken a toll on the commercial appeal of the Roadside Attractions release.

Directed by Andrew Jarecki, and starring Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, and Frank Langella, All Good Things took in an estimated $40,000 at two theaters. The per-theater average was a hardly outstanding $20,000.

Danny Boyle not to repeat ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ feat

Also worth mentioning, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, starring likely Best Actor Oscar contender James Franco, pulled in $1.6 million – down 6 percent despite the addition of 140 sites. The generally well-received drama’s per-theater average was a just passable $3,695 at 433 venues.

Awards season buzz or no, it sure doesn’t look like 127 Hours will become another Slumdog Millionaire at the North American box office. Total to date: $6.59 million. Cost: $18 million.

‘The Warrior’s Way’ bombs

Universal/Relativity Media’s The Warrior’s Way opened with a dismal $1.12 million at 1,622 locations. Director-screenwriter Sngmoo Lee’s unusual mix of the Western genre and martial arts, which took about two years to reach North American screens, averaged a paltry $691 per site.

Starring Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, and Danny Huston, The Warrior’s Way will have trouble reaching $10 million domestically. In fact, it will quite possibly be gone from the Top Twelve chart by next weekend. (Update: It was.)


Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie The Tourist image: Peter Mountain | Columbia Pictures.

Barbara Hershey Black Swan image: Niko Tavernise | Fox Searchlight.

Cher Burlesque image: Stephen Vaughn / Sony Pictures.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader trailer: 20th Century Fox.

The Tourist trailer with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp: Columbia Pictures.

The Tourist: Angelina Jolie & Johnny Depp Caper Bombs + Natalie Portman Major Sleeper Hit” last updated in July 2018.


Beau Garrett and Garrett Hedlund TRON: Legacy image: Douglas Curran | Disney Enterprises.

Reese Witherspoon How Do You Know image: David James | Columbia Pictures.

John Cameron Mitchell and Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole image: JoJo Whilden | Lionsgate.

Yogi Bear and Boo Boo Yogi Bear image: Warner Bros.

Jeff Bridges TRON: Legacy image: Douglas Curran | Disney Enterprises.

TRON: Legacy Disappointing Top + How Do You Know One of Century’s Biggest Bombs” last updated in May 2018.

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4 comments

garrett forever -

Garrett Hedlund looks SOooooooooooooooo hot in his Tron outfit. Tight and bright.

Reply
catty -

Of course it is a bomb - two major stars opening with a little more than $6 million and those scathing reviews - could it get any worse?? Serves Depp right making a movie with this arrogant woman - she can only do 2 things - pout and scream and usually with a gun in her hand. Her dramas never generate much interest - A Mighty Heart anyone?? That was one of the biggest bombs of the year. Hopefully this will compel her to stay home and take care of the 6 children solely there for good PR purposes - that is if they know where home is!!

Reply
B Briggs -

The Tourist obviously did not bomb so why put that in the headline??? What is up with you guys??
This is a very entertaining enjoyable movie and I think it will make bank especially worldwide.
You are such negative people.

Reply
Angela -

The Tourist will not bomb. Depp and Jolie have a vast fan base so no matter what critics think it will not bomb. The places where it was shot are fantactic and the paring is very attractive … perfect for a nice easy going movie night.

Reply

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