Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Doomsday! 2012 Blows Up With $65 Million!


The world may live to see 2013, after all.

The apocalyptic-minded 2012 started off with a $65 million box-office bang, per estimates, beating projections and the weekend competition.

Elsewhere, bigger wasn't always better—or bigger. In limited release, the potential Oscar heavyweight Precious continued to loom incredibly large ($6.1 million at only 174 theaters), while Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox enjoyed a fantastic debut ($260,000 at four theaters).

Taking a look inside the numbers:

• 2012's $65 million weekend isn't even half of what made its debut so huge. Overseas, the disaster epic made like Michael Jackson, and grossed $160 million—the fifth-biggest international opening ever. Add 'em together, and the $200 million behemoth has already covered its budget, and then some. Its estimated worldwide total as of today: $225 million.

• Hollywood hasn't had a $65-million opener since forever. Or, late May June, when Up Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen did the honors. (Sorry, That's the last time we go by our Mayan calendar.)

• 2012 is actually not Roland Emmerich's biggest ever. The last time the filmmaker ended the world, in 2004's The Day After Tomorrow, he got off to a $68.7 million start.

• In its second weekend, Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol ($22.3 million) held very well, with ticket sales down only 26 percent from its debut. At the same time, the $180-$200 million extravaganza hasn't yet made as much in two weekends as 2012 did in one weekend ($63.2 million). Overseas business has been less than merry, too.

• How remarkable is Precious? The Oprah Winfrey- and Tyler Perry-endorsed drama played at 174 theaters. George Clooney's The Men Who Stare at Goats played at nearly 2,500. The two films ended up just about even.

• Michael Jackson's This Is It was supposed to be out of theaters by now. And while it's losing steam (and theaters), it picked up another $5.1 million, and hung around long enough to—finally—depose Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana vehicle, Best of Both Worlds, as the top-grossing concert film: $67.2 million (and counting) versus $65.3 million. Earlier in the week, the Jackson film topped $200 million worldwide, and now stands at $222.6 million overall.

• Hollywood's $100 million club has two new members: The $70 million Couples Retreat ($102.1 million); and, the $15,000 Paranormal Activity ($103.8 million).

• A tale of two hipster family films: Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are ($73.4 million overall) started big, but dropped out of the Top 10 after four weekends, and having failed to match its $100 million budget domestically; Wes Anderson's considerably cheaper Fantastic Mr. Fox started small, but with a blockbuster per-screen average (a weekend-best $65,000).

• Astro Boy ($1.7 million) zipped out of the Top 10 after only three weekends, and only $17.9 million overall.

• The rock-powered Pirate Radio ($2.9 million) was no Fantastic Mr. Fox or Precious, but it did almost make the Top 10, despite bowing at fewer than 1,000 theaters.

Here's a look at the weekend's top-grossing films based on Friday-Sunday estimates as compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

1. 2012, $65 million
2. Disney's A Christmas Carol, $22.3 million
3. The Men Who Stare at Goats, $6.2 million
4. Precious, $6.1 million
5. Michael Jackson's This Is It, $5.1 million
6. The Fourth Kind, $4.7 million
7. Couples Retreat, $4.3 million
8. Paranormal Activity, $4.2 million
9. Law Abiding Citizen, $3.9 million
10. The Box, $3.2 million

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