One of my favorite traditions when I was a kid and later a visiting adult was picking the movie to watch on Christmas day with the family. It was usually me making the final decision since I was the one forcing keeping the tradition alive. My favorite of these as an adult was Titanic (1997) because even my Dad loved it and he never loves movies. This Christmas evening movie-going tradition maybe isn't as strong as it once was with American families since the weekend didn't jingle merrily with box office change.
Nevertheless, it was definitely crowded with new releases, week old releases and all of those frustratingly shy Oscar hopefuls who refuse to go wide enough for audiences to enjoy them. The weekend was won by Ghostocol which you could categorize as a big hit were it not for that super-sized budget. Whose idea was it to give it a budget that was even higher than the domestic gross of its predecessor five years ago?
Box Office Top Fifteen (Estimates)
~ over 2000 theaters
01 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL $29.5 (cum. $61.9)
02 SHERLOCK HOMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS $20.2 (cum. $79)
03 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO $12.7 (cum. $21.1)
04 ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED $12.6 (cum. $49.5)
05 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN $9.7 (cum. $17.7)
06 WE BOUGHT A ZOO $9.4 christmas day only
07 WAR HORSE $7.5 christmas day only [STAGE VS. SCREEN]
08 NEW YEARS EVE $4.9 (cum. $34.2)
09 THE DARKEST HOUR $3 christmas day only
~ under 2000 theaters
10 THE MUPPETS $2.1 (cum. $75.7)
11 THE DESCENDANTS $2.1 (cum. $32.3)
12 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS $2.1 (cum. $43.5)
13 HUGO $2 (cum. $43.6)
14 THE SITTER $1.8 (cum. $22.3)
15 YOUNG ADULT $1.7 (cum. $7.1)
Pina, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy had the best per screen averages. I was at a Christmas party yesterday and the latter was definitely a movie people were talking about. The conversation frequently swerved to Benedict Cumberbatch (People knew him as the other new Sherlock Holmes -- the not Robert Downey Jr Holmes) and there were at least a couple of "I didn't understand what was going on!"s uttered. But the point is that people are interested in it. They should've opened wider.
Same goes for My Week With Marilyn. It doubled its screen count, finally going wide this weekend for the holiday, but the widening came too late. The movie's moment, if you will, was definitely back around Thanksgiving time when competition was slightly less severe and it had that new girl sparkle in a weekend that was otherwise all about the little kiddies. Now it's competing with other adult appeal movies and it's not entirely fresh news in our fast-paced pop culture. The big expansion five weeks later saw dwindling revenues and it landed on the worst opening weekend chart. Did they not think Marilyn was a brand? Movies are obsessed with selling us the familiar and there's no way that MARILYN didn't have enough branding to open wider earlier. It isn't a French film without dialogue with no stars, after all.
Did you hit the theater and does your family always do this on Christmas?