Monday, November 13, 2006

Weekend Box Office -- "Borat" and "Volver" Shine

First, "Borat" expanded by 1700 screens but only increased its box office take by about $3 million from its opening weekend. Yes, it's very rare for a movie to increase its box office take after opening wide, but I'll bet almost all that money came from the original 837 cinemas it was originally playing in. They could have saved themselves the money and bother and just expanded to 1200 or maybe 1500 screens. Plus, both family films "Santa Clause 3" and "Flushed Away" had terrific holds and should have long healthy runs, though the debut of wild card "Happy Feet" next week could stop them cold. In limited release, "Volver" is still doing amazing, while Nicole Kidman's "Fur" and Ed Harris in "Copying Beethoven" were dead on arrival. "Babel" was foolish to open so wide; it should have taken it easy till end-of-the-year lists started to tout it. Martin Scorsese now officially has the top-grossing film of his career, while Clint Eastwood's "Flags Of Our Fathers" has stalled at $30 million. Paramount must be wondering what the heck it's going to do with that Japanese language companion pic "Letters From Iwo Jima" out early next year. And suddenly Warner Bros. looks a little smarter for letting this one get away (though getting out of the Clint Eastwood business is not smart in general. "Stranger Than Fiction" would not have done better even if "Borat" was never made -- it's a soft, odd change of pace for Will Ferrell. And "A Good Year" was not a flop because women are upset Russell Crowe threw that phone; it's a flop because it is a RADICAL change of pace for Crowe and director Ridley Scott, got terrible reviews and looked weak from the get-go. The Top 10, per Box Office Prophets:

1. Borat -- $29 million ($67.8 million total)
2. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause -- $16.9 mil ($41.1 mil total)
3. Flushed Away -- $16.7 mil ($39.9 mil total)
4. Stranger Than Fiction -- $14.1 mil
5. Saw III -- $6.4 mil ($60.7 mil total)
6. Babel -- $5.7 mil ($7.5 mil total)
7. The Departed -- $5.2 mil ($109.8 mil total)
8. The Return -- $4.8 mil total
9. The Prestige -- $4.6 mil ($46 mil total)
10. A Good Year -- $3.8 mil total

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