Oh, Roland Emmerich. Only you could compete you for the title of modern-day Master of Disaster, and only you could stop you from claiming the highest disaster movie opening weekend from yourself. The Day After Tomorrow aside, the literally earth-shattering 2012 took in $65 million over the weekend, enough to best Emmerich’s own Independence Day and Godzilla (not to mention Spielberg’s War of the Worlds - I’m willing to suppose that John Cusack has broader appeal than Tom Cruise of late). May this mean that you can finance your next project, in which sleet seriously slows down Chicago and yet another dog survives against impossible odds. (The dog could always be played by Tom Cruise.)
With an additional $22.3 million, A Christmas Carol has now made over two weekends as much as 2012 has in one, but regardless, its hold seems to suggest that it’ll have the legs to stick around as the only holiday offering in town this year. In third place was The Men Who Stare at Goats with $6.2 million, a decent number for the only goat-minded offering, and in fourth is this month’s Paranormal-that-could, Precious, which grossed a very nice $6.1 million at just 174 locations (like the character it’s named after, expect the film to expand significantly in the weeks to come).
Fifth place went to the surprisingly clingy This is It with $5.1 million (maybe everyone mistook this for the title of 2012), sixth place went to the hoax-tastic The Fourth Kind ($4.7 million), seventh place went to the crap-tastic Couples Retreat (which, with its $4.3 million this weekend, has finally cracked $100 million, to little surprise) and eighth place went to Paranormal Activity ($4.2 million; it too has finally cracked $100 million and is a bit more impressive for it). In ninth was Law Abiding Citizen ($3.9 million), in tenth was The Box ($3.2 million) and in eleventh place (the so-called ‘Amelia slot’ for new releases on 800 screens that can’t crack the top ten (we’ll make that phrase catch on, you’ll see)) is the trimmed-down incarnation of Pirate Radio, whose $2.9 million suggests that relentless radio and TV ads combined with Love, Actually cred do not a feel-good break-out hit make.
Speaking of segues, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints’ Day added 146 screens to its limited release of 251 screens, and $1 million to its current gross of $2.5 million so far. It’s a fairer shake than its predecessor got ($30k on 5 screens back in 2000), and a better performance than one might’ve expected out of something seemingly bound straight for store shelves. (What can I say? I’m one of those guys who’s more keen to hear about an Overnight follow-up than a Boondock sequel.)
The best per-theater average of the week went to Wes Anderson’s delightful Fantastic Mr. Fox, which boasted a nice $65,000 per theater at 4 locations (in comparison, 2012 had a $19,000 average at 3,400 more theaters than that). It will be interesting to see if it can make it wide on Thanksgiving opposite Old Dogs, which I seriously doubt, which I think is a real shame in the making.