North American box office: ‘Four Christmases’ holds strong over a weak weekend

It’s another holiday tradition: the weekend after Thanksgiving is typically one the movies take a breather over, and that tradition held true. Neither of the new wide releases made much of a showing, and in fact, except for Australia and Quantum of Solace swapping spots, the lineup looks the same as last weekend:

1. Four Christmases: $16.8 million (2nd week; drops 46%)
2. Twilight: $13 million (3rd week; drops 51%)
3. Bolt: $9.8 million (3rd week; drop 63%)
4. Australia: $7 million (2nd week; drops 52%)
5. Quantum of Solace: $6.8 million (4th week; drops 64%)

actual numbers, not estimates / drops are over the previous three-day holiday weekend, not the five-day
Punisher: War Zone, the widest new release, at more than 2,500 locations, can only be said to have crashed and burned, debuting way down at No. 8 with takings of only $4.3 million. Cadillac Records was at No. 9 with $3.4 million, but it was at only 686 locations, which gave it a per-screen average of $5,023, a mere dollar behind Four Christmases’ $5,024 (at each of 3,335 locations)… and since it cost only $12 million to produce (and may benefit over the next few weeks from possible notice from the slew of critics’ awards announcements on tap), that looks pretty good indeed. Nobel Son, the other wide release (at 843 locations) crashed and burned even harder than the Punisher sequel: it debuted at No. 15 with $333,912… or a per-screen average of $374. Ouch. Conversely, Frost/Nixon, which began an exclusive run in New York and Los Angeles, was down at No. 22 with $180,708, but with only three screens to its name, it ran away with, by the far, the best per-screen of the weekend, $60,236. Which is spectacular, if not quite record-breaking.

The next best per-screens tell the story of the weekend: we’re in a waiting pattern for the awards contenders to break out. Milk earned $18,534 on each of 99 screens, and Slumdog Millionaire took in $17,977 on each of 78 screens. And then there’s shockingly little else going on but films that have been out for a while treading water, except for this: Bruce Campbell’s horror comedy My Name Is Bruce earned $17,214 on a single screen. That flick ain’t on anyone’s short list for any awards — not because of quality or lack thereof (I still haven’t seen it, so I can’t say which is the case — but I promise to review it soon) — but it does speak, I think, to a hunger among the geek crowd for something that appeals to us. Someone other than Bruce Campbell could be making money off that…

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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