North American box office: ‘Quantum of Solace’ nothing to grieve over

James Bond is burning up the U.S./Canadian box office just like he has been all around the world. What a shock:

1. Quantum of Solace: $67.5 million (NEW)
2. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: $35 million (2nd week; drops 45%)
3. Role Models: $11. million (2nd week; drops 42%)
4. High School Musical 3: Senior Year: $5.6 million (4th week; drops 38%)
5. Changeling: $4.3 million (3rd week in wide release; drops 41%)

actual numbers, not estimates
Hey, lookit this. I was delayed getting to the box office numbers today (a midday screening then server issues), and now I get to see the real, geuine, actually reported box office numbers, not the estimates that everyone reports on Sunday night and Monday morning. This thrills me so much that I think I’ll delay doing these reports until those actual real numbers come in each week.

Because this is interesting: Over the weekend the news was, Hey, look at James Bond, hauling in $70.4 million! Well, now that the actual numbers are out, we see that it didn’t do quite so well as that. It’s still a record breaker — biggest opening for a spy drama, and biggest opening for a Bond flick — but it’s not quite as big a record breaker.

More interesting still is how, further down the list, some smaller releases actually changed places in the ranking once the real numbers were in. Since I’m trying to play up smaller films as much as analyze what happened to the bigger films, there’s another reason to wait for the real numbers: I don’t want to shortchange the limited releases.

Here’s another issue. As I look at the actual numbers for the weekend, all of a sudden there’s an interloper that wasn’t there before in the per-screen ranking (which might be my favorite stat, if I may be so geeky as to have a favorite stat):

Slumdog Millionaire: $36,002 on each of ten screens
Quantum of Solace: $19,568 (3,451 venues)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: $12,484 (38 screens)
A Christmas Tale: $9,120 (7 screens)
Familiar Strangers: $5,777 (2 screens)

Once the actual numbers were in, however, we learn that Space Station 3-D, an IMAX science film, earned $10,006 on each of six screens. Now, this one is a 46-minute science documentary, not a feature film, so I’m not gonna include it in my official ranking. But I bet similar stuff has been slipping by me all the time, since I never went back to check out the actual numbers.

Milestones for the weekend: Changeling and Zack and Miri Make a Porno (No. 6 for the weekend) both passed $25 million; however, the former cost a reported $55 million, and the latter only $24 million. Christian flick Fireproof edged past $30 million this weekend, which is impressive only when compared with its $500,000 budget. Beverly Hills Chihuahua passed $90 million, which terrifies me, but I’m consoled by the fact that it’s unlikely to pass that magic $100-million mark before it leaves theaters. (I thought Eagle Eye would pass $100 million this week, but it squeaked to only $98.8 million. That one will just edge past the magic mark, though now it’ll probably be two weeks from now.)

Oh, and one last note: per the film’s PR folks, the French thriller Tell No One passed $6.2 million at the box office this weekend, and is now the highest-grossing foreign-language film in North America for 2008 (so far).

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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Mon, Nov 17, 2008 9:22pm

Just a quick message to say I really enjoy your website

A comment: Based on the reviews in your archives, it looks like you’ve never reviewed The Karate Kid (one of my favorite movies of all time) What’s up?

Mon, Nov 17, 2008 11:28pm

There’s a ton of movies I’ve never reviewed.

Here’s a bigger shock for you: I’ve never *seen* *The Karate Kid.*