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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

North American box office: the Earth doesn’t stand still for ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’

It looks kinda like a big number for the Keanu Reeves sci-fi flick, but it kinda ain’t:

1. The Day the Earth Stood Still: $30.4 million (NEW)
2. Four Christmases: $13 million (3rd week; drops 22%)
3. Twilight: $7.9 million (4th week; drops 39%)
4. Bolt: $7.5 million (4th week; drop 24%)
5. Australia: $4.2 million (3rd week; drops 41%)

actual numbers, not estimates
The blahness of Day — both the film itself and the lack of response from audiences, which suggests they weren’t expecting much from it anyway — is totally depressing to my geek lobe. (Box Office Mojo has a nice comparison of how poorly the film did compared with similar SF offerings, including last year’s I Am Legend, which opened with $77.2 million last December.) I ran into a geek friend last night whom I hadn’t seen in a while, and he complained that I hadn’t organized one of my famous Geeks Night Outs in ages. And I haven’t — there’s been nothing exciting enough to be worth the bother of getting a gang together and making plans to go see. That’s pathetic.

As for the rest of the top 5, Four Christmases will easily break $100 million by Christmas weekend (it’s at $87 million after this past weekend), and Twilight broke $150 million this weekend. But Bolt and Australia are likely going to be considered failures, when all is said and done. The doogie cartoon might just creak past $100 million before it leaves theaters; there’s no word yet on what it cost to make, but it’s unlikely to have been less than $100 million. And Baz Luhrmann’s epic is almost $100 million in the hole at the moment: $37 million in takings versus an announced production budget of $130 million.

But let’s talk about Delgo.

It’s one of the worst movies of the year, without a doubt. On Sunday, its distributors were estimating its weekend takings at $916,000, which is pathetic. But it turns out that the actual number is much, much worse: $511,920.

I’m hoping “delgo” means schadenfreude on Delgo’s planet.

I’ll turn this over to reader Keith, who had this to say in comments:

Worst..opening..ever!!

Just set the record for the worst opening ever of a film in wide release. Took in $511,920 on 2,160 screens, which is a per screen average of only $237. Figuring an average of five showings per day at $8, that comes out to about two people per theater per showing. Ouch!

Actually, it’s the not the worst opening ever for all wide releases (600+ screens) — it’s down at No. 3 on that chart. Nor does it sit atop the rankings for the worst per-screen average ever. It’s only the worst for very wide (2,000+ theaters) releases, which it wins hands-down.

Look at it this way: Frost/Nixon earned more than Delgo did ($626,377), and it was playing at only 39 locations.

Frost/Nixon had one of the weekend’s killer per-screen average’s too, $16,061, although, with so many awards-baiting films in extremely limited release, it was way down in the ranking there:

Gran Torino: $45,287 (on each of 6 screens)
Doubt: $33,815 (15 screens)
Che: $30,535 (2 screens)
The Reader: $21,006 (8 screens)

And then Frost/Nixon clocks in under that.

Oh, and about Che? It’s five hours long. Which means half as many showing at those two theaters as you’d usually find. Which means those two theaters were really packing ’em in at the few instances they could actually run the movie.

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]



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