Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: Golden Compass Sets Course For #1 Debut

Atonement, Juno open in limited release.

by | December 6, 2007 | Comments

New Line hopes to breathe some life into the North American box office with the launch of its pricey adventure film The Golden Compass which stands as the frame’s only new wide release. Directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy), the PG-13 film aims to capture a large crowd including the family audience and fans of sci-fi and fantasy. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, who proved in the summer flop The Invasion that their names only carry so much commercial weight, reunite to star in the effects-heavy film.

Working in its favor is the fact that all other studios have avoided programming their major offerings onto this weekend’s schedule. In fact it is quite rare to see two consecutive frames with only one national opener each. Media attention is concentrated on it this week and with multiplexes dumping their aging November flops, Compass will secure extra screens. The studio’s marketing push has been powerful and awareness is high which makes sense as New Line is hoping for a new fantasy franchise that can keep the cash rolling in for years to come. Teens and young adults who frequent the multiplexes the most should come out in solid numbers since they’ve seen every other worthy film already. Older adults will be a little harder to reach since holiday shopping is a major distraction on weekends right now plus reviews for Compass have not exactly been stellar.

Although the property will target many of the same folks who have dropped billions on fantasy smashes like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia, the source material is not as popular plus there is already backlash from some in the religious community for the anti-Christian material in the Philip Pullman books. Reaching the $65.6M opening of Narnia from this very weekend two years ago will be impossible. Instead, a debut closer to the $27.5M of Beowulf last month could be in order since there may be much overlap. Compass has more appeal for younger kids and females so a bigger bow should result. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, The Golden Compass might premiere to the tune of $33M this weekend.

Nicole Kidman in The Golden Compass

With most of the big boys taking the weekend off from releasing films wide, indie distribs will once again seize the opportunity to platform their end-of-year pics and begin limited runs for possible kudos contenders. By law, you can’t have an awards season without at least one costume drama so Focus Features joins forces with Keira Knightley with Atonement which bows on Friday in 26 sites. The R-rated period piece also stars James McAvoy and Vanessa Redgrave and has already grossed $31M overseas with over two-thirds of that total coming from the U.K. since its launch there in early September.

James McAvoy and Keira Knightley in Atonement

Fox Searchlight counters in seven theaters with its teen pregnancy comedy Juno starring Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, and Ellen Page in the title role. The PG-13 coming-of-age pic opened on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles and is director Jason Reitman‘s follow-up to Thank You For Smoking which grossed $24.8M for Fox Searchlight in the spring of 2006. Reviews have been strong across the board for both Juno and Atonement.

Ellen Page and Olivia Thirlby in Juno

After back to back stints of wearing the box office crown, the princess comedy Enchanted is now preparing to take a step back this weekend thanks to the arrival of Queen Kidman. The Disney hit will see some formidable competition for kids, but the overall drop should not be too large. A 35% slide to around $10.5M could result. That would give Enchanted a charming $83M after 19 days of play.

With girls lining up for Giselle and company, their brothers have been taking a historical adventure with the computer-animated action pic Beowulf which has been holding its own since its debut. Golden Compass will also be a threat since there is much audience overlap. But Beowulf‘s good legs suggest that a drop of 35% could be in order here as well. That would leave the Paramount project with about $5M pushing the cume up to $76M.

Sony’s holiday reunion film This Christmas and Fox’s assassin thriller Hitman both witnessed larger sophomore declines so a fall of 40% each should occur this weekend. Christmas would take in just under $5M for a $42M total while Hitman should bank $3.5M for a $36M sum.

LAST YEAR: Mel Gibson scored his second straight number one opening for a historical foreign language film he directed with Apocalypto which debuted on top with $15M. The Buena Vista release went on to capture a solid $50.9M. Three-time champ Happy Feet was bumped down to second with $12.9M in its fourth frame. Sony’s romantic comedy The Holiday bowed in third with $12.8M for Sony. The Cameron DiazKate Winslet pic went on to gross $63.2M domestically and a stunning $200M worldwide. Studio stablemate Casino Royale slipped to fourth with $8.9M. Warner Bros. launched its action thriller Blood Diamond in fifth with a mediocre $8.6M on its way to $57.4M from North America and $171M globally. Opening in seventh was the studio’s other new wide release of the frame, the family comedy Unaccompanied Minors, with only $5.8M leading to a weak $16.6M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tag Cloud

Pop Spike 20th Century Fox werewolf Black Mirror blaxploitation Comedy Central CBS NBC Brie Larson DGA CBS All Access Action Reality TCM crime drama comics facebook GLAAD WarnerMedia Apple TV Plus halloween Tubi Biopics Teen hispanic Columbia Pictures Crunchyroll Funimation Esquire American Society of Cinematographers TruTV History Freeform cartoon Ovation San Diego Comic-Con ESPN Black History Month Disney Channel Sundance Pirates First Reviews rotten movies we love Podcast Election sequel Music AMC revenge Disney The Walking Dead Awards Tour Certified Fresh Classic Film Lifetime E! Cosplay Set visit disaster miniseries latino Chernobyl Thanksgiving versus unscripted Bravo Watching Series book finale south america Lifetime Christmas movies The Arrangement Sundance Now Polls and Games hist Infographic canceled TV shows Hallmark Acorn TV Country romance teaser discovery witnail FX Food Network cinemax YouTube Red Trailer Mary Poppins Returns travel zombie Winter TV spinoff YouTube Premium psycho Universal Fox News Video Games Disney Plus television adventure Film Festival anthology golden globes Pride Month TCA cops sitcom zero dark thirty 2019 Western Mudbound TV renewals technology Sci-Fi CW Seed Chilling Adventures of Sabrina USA TBS comiccon Red Carpet Holiday Rocky Fantasy Spring TV TCA Winter 2020 documentary Film 2016 007 YA Turner Classic Movies Turner Amazon Prime composers crime thriller series Animation Mystery cats true crime Character Guide Reality Competition Fall TV IFC Films Mary poppins TV Amazon DirecTV spain 2018 toy story cancelled TV series GoT Pet Sematary Women's History Month Discovery Channel ABC festivals Hulu Showtime BBC Apple TV+ The Purge 45 Adult Swim Creative Arts Emmys NYCC vampires dramedy MSNBC HBO Pop TV Calendar comic VH1 sag awards DC Universe Shudder Lucasfilm LGBTQ directors USA Network Star Trek ratings OWN dceu Tarantino aliens Cannes Song of Ice and Fire FOX Endgame Marathons Drama cooking Mindy Kaling National Geographic Summer See It Skip It political drama video TCA 2017 cancelled TV shows A24 21st Century Fox Dark Horse Comics Comic Book Quiz First Look Emmy Nominations Walt Disney Pictures Comedy Awards cars reboot mockumentary GIFs biography singing competition elevated horror canceled LGBT E3 Warner Bros. Oscars 2015 spanish language Christmas Netflix Christmas movies space politics historical drama quibi Marvel Studios RT21 Ellie Kemper Kids & Family award winner blockbuster Binge Guide Comics on TV TNT Marvel Television period drama Extras RT History movie Lionsgate Trivia justice league zombies Shondaland talk show Toys PBS animated free movies MTV kids Musicals Holidays Netflix game of thrones reviews richard e. Grant Interview Mary Tyler Moore Paramount Superheroe crossover Academy Awards renewed TV shows docudrama SundanceTV strong female leads 71st Emmy Awards Peacock stand-up comedy Logo Spectrum Originals New York Comic Con medical drama boxoffice TIFF Disney+ Disney Plus psychological thriller nature mutant Marvel Captain marvel ghosts MCU screen actors guild thriller Pixar dogs Arrowverse Superheroes SDCC TV Land DC Comics Britbox sports cancelled television TLC Anna Paquin WGN ITV Premiere Dates DC streaming service Masterpiece Amazon Prime Video Television Academy doctor who Sneak Peek Paramount Network breaking bad anime social media name the review Writers Guild of America harry potter slashers Sony Pictures Apple OneApp batman 2020 Travel Channel Rocketman Schedule BBC America christmas movies Emmys Rock casting APB adaptation Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nominations Super Bowl indie what to watch Year in Review Starz Epix Baby Yoda Horror CMT theme song movies FXX VICE The Witch HBO Max scary movies Nickelodeon Box Office independent Tomatazos X-Men Winners spy thriller Avengers YouTube President Tumblr Ghostbusters jamie lee curtis Rom-Com green book El Rey Nat Geo 24 frames Countdown Best and Worst ABC Family Crackle screenings Family natural history CNN Amazon Studios tv talk diversity 2017 Trophy Talk PaleyFest SXSW universal monsters based on movie binge franchise robots cults transformers dc The CW Syfy dragons Sundance TV Grammys Hallmark Christmas movies spider-man police drama Star Wars science fiction streaming supernatural Stephen King FX on Hulu Photos cancelled foreign A&E Disney streaming service war Martial Arts Musical Opinion children's TV Heroines game show Valentine's Day Cartoon Network joker crime Vudu IFC BET serial killer romantic comedy Elton John