Families flocked to fantasy this record Thanksgiving holiday; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I (on its second weekend) and Disney animated fairy tale Tangled 3-D dominated the five day frame. On the indie side, indieWIRE reports that Tom Hooper’s Oscar favorite The King’s Speech enjoyed a very royal Thanksgiving, breaking the 2010 record for highest per-theater-average in its massive limited debut.
Anthony D’Alessandro does the studio numbers:
Families pushed the robust Thanksgiving box office to an estimated festive three-day record of $187 million, inching out last year’s $186.3 million.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 cast its spell with a $76.3 million five-day–the franchise’s third-best haul over the Turkey frame–while Disney’s Tangled 3-D put the Mouse House back on a track with a $69-million five-day and $49.1 million Friday-Saturday-Sunday– the best start for a Mouse House original/non-Pixar toon since Chicken Little‘s $40-million bow in 2005.
Sony/Screen Gems’ cheery musical Burlesque ($17.2 million) warmed more adults than Fox’s Love and Other Drugs ($14 million) and CBS’ Faster ($12.2 million).
Disney distrib chief Chuck Viane credits the studio’s close distribution and marketing collaboration for Tangled 3-D‘s boffo opening: “The marketing guys knew how to position Tangled 3-D, trusted our Thanksgiving release date following Potter, and used the movie to sell the movie with word-of-mouth screenings.” Disney went after boys as well as the target girl demo. Critics swooned over Tangled 3-D (87% fresh) and audiences gifted it a jeweled A+ Cinemascore. 56% of Tangled 3-D’s gross was repped by 3-D. That share still reflects too-few theaters in the market to sustain a 3-D blockbuster.
Pundits expected Screen Gems’ $55 million Burlesque to razzle-dazzle holiday crowds with at least $25 million over five-days, but the PG-13 divathon wound up in the mid-to-high teens. For one thing, critics loathed the musical at 33%; Variety’s Peter DeBruge called it a Cabaret redux that “lacks the edge and historical context to pull it off.” But audiences didn’t listen to the intelligentsia: They gave Burlesque an A- Cinemascore, which bodes well for high-kicking legs. Audiences repped 69% women and 54% over 25. The biggest challenge for Burlesque: it wasn’t based on an established Broadway musical title with a built-in following. However, the film bested the wide bows of such Broadway bombs as Nine ($5.4 million) and Thanksgiving 2005’s Rent ($10 million).
Fox’s $30-million adult romantic comedy Love & Other Drugs disappointed, given high wattage director Edward Zwick and stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. Chalk up the film’s so-so grosses to a surplus of adult choices, an R-rating due to ample nudity, and negative reviews. Critics stuck out their tongues (Tomatometer: 42% rotten), which held more discerning adults at bay. Overall Cinemascore was a B-.
The stars worked hard to sell the film, with Hathaway joking about her nude scenes on Saturday Night Live and both stars appearing sans clothes on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. After summer fizzle Prince of Persia, Gyllenhaal’s leading man marquee value is in question. 63% of moviegoers were women and 60% were over 25. Finally, this was a distribution mistake: this romance with dramatic undertones, like a delicate Thanksgiving Beaujolais, needed a spot to air on the schedule, away from a crowded weekend.
It’s no surprise that CBS Films’ Dwayne Johnson’s guns-and-gas actioner Faster brought up the rear of the weekend competition. While some R-rated manly movies, such as 1999’s Arnold Schwarzenegger headliner End of Days ($31.5 million 5-day), have fared well over the Thanksgiving break, in recent years studios have thrown low-budget B-grade fare into the holiday fray as counterprogramming: see last year’s Ninja Assassin (final domestic cume $38.1 million) and 2007’s Hitman ($39.7 million). Faster didn’t leave any blood stains on CBS’ ledgers as the distributor was exposed to half of the film’s $24 million budget thanks to Sony co-financing. Tomatometer critics didn’t like the smell of Faster’s fumes. The ho-hum factor in Faster: Dwayne Johnson. When Schwarzenegger left the cinema for politics, he left behind an action hero void. The Scorpion King star Johnson, like Vin Diesel and Gerard Butler, hasn’t moved to fill it, opting for low-rent choices when he should hold out for higher-octane action epics directed by the likes of Wolfgang Peterson or Tony Scott.
The top 10 films are as follows ranked by 3-day, % change reflective of weekend-to-weekend drop:
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (Warner Bros.): $50.3 million down 60% in its second weekend at 4,125 theaters. $12,205 theater average. 5-day: $76.3 million. Domestic total: $220.4 million.
2. Tangled 3-D (Disney): $49.1 million in its first weekend at 3,603 theaters. $13,628 theater average. Domestic total: $69 million in its first 5 days.
3. Megamind (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $12.85 million down 20% in its fourth weekend at 3,411 theaters. $3,767 theater average. 5-day: $17.6 million Domestic total $130.5 million.
4. Burlesque (Sony/Screen Gems): $11.8 million in its first weekend at 3,037 theaters. $3,885 theater average. Domestic total: $17.2 million in its first 5 days.
5. Unstoppable (Fox): $11.75 million down 10% in its third weekend at 3,183 theaters. $3,691 theater average. 5-day: $16.2 million Domestic total: $60.7 million.
6. Love and Other Drugs (Fox): $9.85 million in its first weekend at 2,455 theaters. $4,012 theater average. Domestic total: $14 million in its first 5 days.
7. Faster (CBS): $8.7 million in its first weekend at 2,454 theaters. $3,548 theater average. Domestic total: $12.2 million in its first 5 days.
8. Due Date (Warner Bros.): $7.3 million down 18% in its fourth weekend at 2,555 theaters. $2,857 theater average. 5-day:$10.4 million Domestic total: $85 million.
9. The Next Three Days (Lionsgate): $4.84 million down 27% in its second weekend at 2,564 theaters. $1,888 theater average. 5-day: $6.6 million Domestic total: $14.6 million.
10. Morning Glory (Paramount): $4.03 million down 23% in its third weekend at 2,441 theaters. $1,651 theater average. 5-day: $5.5 million. Domestic total: $26.5 million.