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Weekend B.O. Jan. 3-5 (In The Bleak Midwinter)

Weekend B.O. Jan. 3-5 (In The Bleak Midwinter)

I’ve  always
thought that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to release new films in January primarily
because of the weather. But that wasn’t always the case.

Up until the late 1970s, studios would release major
films during January without a  second
thought. But with the advent of the blockbuster summer film season starting
around the mid to late 70s, January gradually became more of a dumping ground
for minor,  throwaway films that studios
thought were losers or smaller budgeted films aimed at a particular audience,
such as those 90s teen romance films like She’s
All That.

That changed a few years ago when studios took a gamble
and started to release bigger budgeted films aimed at wider mainstream
audiences, such as The Book of Eli, Paul
Blart: Mall Cop, Cloverfield, The Devil Inside
and Taken, which all opened to huge opening weekend grosses and went on to become
big box office hits. Add the lack of competition from other
movies  and,  all of the sudden, January looked like a really
good month to release films. This month alone Universal has Ride Along
and Paramount has Jack Ryan: Shadow
Recruit
and Labor Day, along with other studios films.

But it’s risky, and it all depends on the weather  One good sized storm can make the difference
between a hit and a flop, and this weekend, half the country was slammed with a major
record breaking snow storm, which literally affected a third of the population in
the U.S., and wait until that “Arctic Vortex” of brutal cold temperatures hits
the country as far as the Deep South later tonight. Look for the Sunday through Tuesday box office totals to drop to near zero. Might as well close up the theaters.

With all that, who wants to go out to see a movie? Well
evidently some people did, but the weather clearly had an effect. The major new
opening, Paramount’s Paranormal Activity; The Marked Ones
came in second with $18 million which is much less that last year’s
Paranormal Activity 4, which opened with $29 million.

But don’t cry for the Marked Ones, which cost a very
modest $5 million to produce, which means Paramount will make a hefty profit on
the film. Also interesting is that this latest Paranormal Activity has a  mainly Latino cast to cash in on the fact
that the series is extremely popular with Latino audiences, which begs the question –  will there ever be an all black cast one? 

Hey someone has to ask these questions.

Meanwhile, appropriately, Disney’s Frozen, which was actually beaten on Friday by The Marked Ones,
roared back and was the No.1 film this weekend.

All other films dropped anywhere from 27% to 44%, with the
biggest drop being for A Madea Christmas,
with a 54% drop, falling out of the top 12 completely. But with a total so far
of just over $50.4 million, the film,
though it didn’t become the biggest grossing Madea ever, and nowhere near the
lowest grossing film Tyler Perry has made, is still falling short of what was originally
projected.  

1) Frozen BV $20,722,000 Total: $297,838,000 
2) Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Par. $18,200,000 
3) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug WB $16,250,000 Total: $229,634,000 
4) The Wolf of Wall Street Par. $13,400,000 Total: $63,295,000 
5) American Hustle Sony $13,200,000 Total: $88,700,000 
6) Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Par. $11,100,000 Total: $109,180,000 
7) Saving Mr. Banks BV $9,057,000 Total: $59,320,000 
8) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Fox $8,200,000 Total: $45,669,000 
9) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire LGF $7,400,000 Total: $407,488,000 
10) Grudge Match WB $5,410,000 Total: $24,920,000 
11) 47 Ronin Uni. $5,003,000 Total: $32,634,000  
12) Walking with Dinosaurs Fox $3,780,000 Total: $31,384,000 

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