Box Office Guru Wrapup: Museum Still #1 Over New Year's Weekend

by | January 1, 2007 | Comments

Fox continued to dominate the North American box office with its holiday smash "Night at the Museum" which once again ruled over the charts in its second weekend as 2006 came to a close.

Will Smith‘s rags-to-riches hit "The Pursuit of Happyness" remained in second place while the musical "Dreamgirls" climbed up to number three in its first weekend of wide release. Moviegoers flooded the multiplexes as ticket sales for the top ten rose sharply over last weekend’s Christmas frame and even beat out last year’s four-day New Year’s holiday session.

The Ben Stiller comedy "Night at the Museum" continued as the most popular attraction for all audiences as the PG-rated hit hauled in an estimated $46.7M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday period rising a healthy 11% over its opening frame. After only 11 days in theaters, the effects-driven comedy has banked an impressive $125.8M and could be headed towards the $200M mark domestically. "Museum" was the widest release in the marketplace playing at 3,768 locations, including 72 Imax venues, and averaged a muscular $12,394 over four days.

For Stiller, "Museum" represented his sixth $100M blockbuster while for Robin Williams, who played a supporting part as President Teddy Roosevelt, the new pic gave him his tenth trip into the century club over the last twenty years. Audiences of all ages have been flocking to the Fox smash which has been a key component in keeping the current box office ahead of last year’s red hot marketplace as its 11-day cume has already surpassed the $120.6M start that "King Kong" generated in its first 13 days. Internationally, "Museum" has already grossed $65M putting its worldwide tally at $191M.

Staying put in second place was Will Smith‘s uplifting drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" with an estimated $24.7M over the four-day holiday frame, up 10% from last weekend. After 18 days, the Sony hit has grossed $103.7M and on New Year’s Day became the actor’s tenth $100M blockbuster in only eleven years. "Pursuit" averaged $8,606 over four days in its third weekend while playing in 2,870 sites. It also helped cap off a stellar year for Sony which led all studios with nearly $1.7 billion in North American ticket sales, accounting for 19% market share, and over $3.3 billion worldwide. A final domestic gross north of $140M could be possible.

The acclaimed musical "Dreamgirls" jumped up to third in its first full weekend of wide play grossing an estimated $18.7M over four days. The Paramount/DreamWorks pic averaged a sensational $21,915 from only 852 locations and upped its cume to $41.6M. The Jamie FoxxBeyonce Knowles hit will expand to about 1,800 playdates on January 12 for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame. "Dreamgirls" has earned five Golden Globe nominations including one for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical and is a major contender for Oscar nominations. The PG-13 film stood strong at number three while playing in 2,000-3,000 fewer theaters than the rest of the weekend’s top choices.

Paramount’s kidpic "Charlotte’s Web" followed in fourth with an estimated $15.1M over four days in its third weekend. Up a terrific 57% from the Christmas frame, the G-rated film has taken in $55.9M to date. The Matt Damon thriller "The Good Shepherd" collected an estimated $14.3M. Universal’s CIA drama was up 1% and raised its total to $38.3M in 11 days.

Sylvester Stallone found himself in sixth with "Rocky Balboa" which took in an estimated $13.7M in its second weekend. Dropping 20%, the MGM release has punched up a solid $51.1M in 13 days which amounts to more than twice the film’s budget. "Rocky" was the only film in the top ten to see its four-day gross drop. Fox’s fantasy adventure "Eragon" followed with an estimated $10.6M, up 13%, for a $58.8M total.

The football drama "We Are Marshall" climbed 19% to an estimated $10.2M in its second session giving Warner Bros. a modest $27.3M in 11 days. The studio’s runaway hit penguin toon "Happy Feet" jumped up 48% to an estimated $9.7M in its seventh weekend putting its cume at $178M. The global gross shot up to $292M and counting. Rounding out the top ten was the Cameron DiazKate Winslet comedy "The Holiday" which grossed an estimated $8.5M, up 24%, for a $51.8M total to date.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight debuted its Judi Dench drama "Notes on a Scandal" to an estimated $550,000 from only 22 theaters over four days for a potent $25,000 average. Cume sits at $750,000. MGM saw a more modest bow for its Renee Zellweger pic "Miss Potter" which bowed to an estimated $13,000 over four days from two cinemas for a mild $6,477 average. Paramount’s French murder drama "Perfume" bowed to an estimated $49,000 over four days from only three sites for a potent $16,333 average. Total is $69,000.

Elsewhere below the top ten, the James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" posted another impressive weekend in its seventh frame grossing an estimated $6.5M over four days. The Sony smash climbed 49% from last weekend and lifted its domestic haul to $155.4M with the global tally rising to a towering $493M. That makes it the fourth largest worldwide blockbuster of 2006 after "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," "The Da Vinci Code," and "Ice Age: The Meltdown."

The horror film "Black Christmas" scared up an estimated $4.6M in its first full weekend of release from 1,544 theaters for a mild $2,983 average. Cume for MGM is $11.8M. Mel Gibson‘s "Apocalypto" eased 1% to an estimated $4.4M and pushed its total to $43.8M for Buena Vista.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $172M over four days which was up 8% from last year when "The Chronicles of Narnia" reclaimed the number one spot with $33.7M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday span.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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