SUNDAY CENTS: New releases ‘Blind’ sided

Posted by · 5:55 pm · November 29th, 2009

The Blind Side*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving? If you are Sandra Bullock or work for Warner Bros. then I think I already know the answer.

The number one movie for the second weekend in a row is “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” with $42.5 million. This is a good news bad news situation for Summit. The good news is that the film has $230.7 million after 10 days and only eight films have grossed more in that period of time. The bad news is that the figure represents a 70% drop from last weekend and only three films released on at least 3,000 screens have ever dropped more.

And this is a holiday weekend. Does anybody at Summit care? Probably not, as the drops should level off a bit from here and the film will easily scoot past $300 million and become the second highest grossing title of the year.

But what is the deal with “The Blind Side?” Seriously. A second consecutive weekend in the runner-up spot and another $40.1 million over the three days gives the drama $100.3 million after just 10 days. For those keeping track at home, that’s an 18% increase over last weekend and there’s a very real possibility that the film will make close to $250 million in the United States.

I’m gonna go ahead and say right now that this film will out-gross “Avatar” and that’s just crazy. In some ways, it’s good that a mid-budget drama like this can still be a blockbuster but I’m just baffled. I guess we shouldn’t underestimate the star power of Tim McGraw.

The first new release comes at number four in “Old Dogs.” Disney usually opens a big family film over Thanksgiving, but this was no “Enchanted” or “101 Dalmatians.” No, this was a film that at some point realized that Seth Green being cradled by a gorilla was more worthy of prime poster real estate than John Travolta or Robin Williams.

$16.8 million for the three days and $24.1 million since Wednesday is a real soft result and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Junior” opened on Thanksgiving week in 1994 with $16.8 million and wound up with $63 million, so that seems like an eerily apt comparison.

“Ninja Assassin” snuck up in sixth place with $13.1 million for the three days and $21 million for five. The result is better than the $18.2 million that “Transporter 3” made over five days last year so that’s encouraging for Warner Bros. I haven’t seen a frame of this movie and have no idea what it’s about other than a ninja assassin so I can’t really comment on it. But I think it might be a period romance.

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is the loser of the week, earning $7 million for the three days and $9 million for the five, which is pitiful for animated films. You want to know another animated film that debuted with $7 million? “Piglet’s Big Movie” and “Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie.” The result, however, is fantastic for a Wes Anderson film and should wind up his second biggest grosser ever behind “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

In limited release, “The Road” debuted very strong with $1.5 million on 111 screens. The Weinstein Company was really testing the waters with that type of screen count and now an expansion seems very likely. I don’t do much Oscar prognostication on this site but I’ve had “The Road” as one of the 10 nominees for a while and I’ll stand by it in print.

“The Princess and the Frog” opened on two screens and grossed $712,000, which gives it the fourth-best per-theater average of all time, behind three other hand drawn Disney classics. The tickets included some kind of show and probably cost $25, but this is still a terrific start for the toon.

This week I saw “Fantastic Mr. Fox” with my family on Thursday and I was the only one who thought it was great. My brother and his girlfriend (who rarely see anything) wanted their money back, so it doesn’t look good for that film’s long-term prospects. They did, however, laugh at the “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” trailer, so…

What did you see this week?  Here are the weekend’s top domestic grossers, courtesy of Exhibitor Relations:

Weekend of Friday, November 27, 2009

→ 37 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

37 responses so far

  • 1 11-29-2009 at 6:08 pm

    Matt T said...

    I thought Ninja Assassin was a musical…

  • 2 11-29-2009 at 6:10 pm

    Harmonica said...

    The Blind Side outgrossing Avatar??? Now that’s a scenario I don’t wanna see…

  • 3 11-29-2009 at 6:12 pm

    James D. said...

    I saw The Fantastic Mr. Fox and loved it, but I am a devoted Anderson follower, so it is tough to judge the film.

    Still waiting on An Education and The Road to expand. The former seems to have fizzled out, will I ever see it? Meanwhile, I might get The Road, which makes me happy.

  • 4 11-29-2009 at 6:13 pm

    Citysinner said...

    250 mil? I’d say that’s a bit too much. Maybe 180.

  • 5 11-29-2009 at 6:16 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    tried to see the road and fantastic mr fox, but they werent close by, next week i suppose

  • 6 11-29-2009 at 6:27 pm

    david said...

    The Blind Side will not out-gross Avatar. Avatar is going to do HUGE boxoffice.

  • 7 11-29-2009 at 6:29 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I kind of agree with Chad: whether or not “The Blind Side” is a good film, it’s encouraging that relatively inexpensive human drama can still pull in the crowds. For the same reason, I find the impressive performance of “Precious” heartening, even while I dislike the film.

    If Chad turns out to be right about “The Blind Side” outgrossing “Avatar,” that could actually have positive ramifications for the industry, in my opinion.

  • 8 11-29-2009 at 6:30 pm

    tim said...

    Sandra Bullock getting probably the best reviews of her career in what may be the biggest grossing film in her career? So does this mean she’s a lock for her first Oscar nom?

  • 9 11-29-2009 at 6:51 pm

    Marshall said...

    Chad, I actually agree on the “greater than Avatar” comparison. I think “Avatar” is going to underwhelm in “King Kong” fashion. That is, still a big success but nowhere near the mammoth expectations.

  • 10 11-29-2009 at 6:59 pm

    Brian said...

    I’d divorce anyone who wanted their money back from Mr Fox.

  • 11 11-29-2009 at 7:19 pm

    JR said...

    What’s the story with “The Blind Side”? A family-friendly, feel-good, true-life movie with football. Just imagine the numbers in Texas alone… It may not be a movie I’d run to see, but there are a lot of people out there who will. I do remember reading the story – long before I knew of a movie – and it even moved jaded me. The movie’s both a good high-school date movie plus one for the church set.

    At the risk of sounding like a social conservative (which I most decidedly am not), think outside the urban coastal box and think of Middle America. These people may see few, if any, of the critical darlings, but they’ll run to this.

  • 12 11-29-2009 at 7:22 pm

    Kevin said...

    fantastic mr. fox was amazing to me, and im not a big fan of anderson. the only other movie of his i liked was tenembaums which i liked quite a lot. but i really really hope avatar doesbetter than the blind side and i think it has a very good chance to, i mean come on the movie is absolutely everywhere and it seems that everyone is aware of it and most are excited

  • 13 11-29-2009 at 7:42 pm

    Ryan said...

    My friend and I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox and loved it! I can see why people would not really warm up to it though.

    The Blind Side is probably just really popular in the Midwest and maybe the south. I live in rural Illinois and a lot of people I know are seeing it and loving it. I don’t get it either, but at least it’s something different and not a sequel.

  • 14 11-29-2009 at 7:44 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Fantastic Mr. Fox is great, and I don’t like Wes Anderson’s films either. This one worked perfectly because finally he’s made a film that suits his overly quirky and already cartoon-y aesthetic. I think he needs to stick to animation from now on.

  • 15 11-29-2009 at 8:10 pm

    B-rian said...

    I loved loved loved Fantastic Mr. Fox…and i hate hate hate Wes Anderson movies typically….

    I liked it far more than Up.

  • 16 11-29-2009 at 8:55 pm

    Andrew R. said...

    I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox for free with a friend. Such an enjoyable time, and while I was initially worried about Clooney’s voice being distracting when the trailer came out, I can’t imagine it any other way now.

  • 17 11-29-2009 at 9:15 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    They laughed at the Alvin and the Chipmunks trailer? It felt like it was genetically engineered in a cliche lab to be unfunny. I don’t think a trailer has ever made me downright angry, but the Squeakquel did just that. I feared I wouldn’t enjoy the movie because of how angry it made me. But such is the power of Fantastic Mr. Fox–damn good.

  • 18 11-29-2009 at 9:34 pm

    Steven said...

    I saw “The Blind Side” today and actually enjoyed it. I was smiling for most of the movie. But what I was completely shocked about was how packed the theatre was. I live on Long Island, not a rural Midwest/Southern state, so that really surprised me. There was a line out the theatre to buy tickets to the movie! The audience seemed to love every minute of it. I can see word of mouth keeping this film going. Although I don’t necessarily think Sandra Bullock will get a nomination, this is definitely a good one for her career. It shows she can do meatier, quieter stuff.

    And yes, I agree that “The Blind Side” may do better than “Avatar.” Most people I know who don’t really follow movies that much, let alone Oscar races, seem confused and downright uninterested to see “Avatar.” And I can’t say I’m all too excited about it either. Bring on “Nine,” “Up in the Air,” “The Lovely Bones,” etc. Although I will probably end up seeing “Avatar,” it’s sadly not that high on my list.


  • 19 11-29-2009 at 9:54 pm

    Derek 8-Track said...

    I saw Ninja Assassin and An Education this weekend. I loved them both. The reason for the success of The Blind Side is obvious. JR spelled it out best in his above comment. I saw it opening weekend and loved it. Like Ryan, I too am from rural Illinois and youll find the majority of people living in flyover states just eat this stuff up. Go to any midwest rural community and I bet you’ll find Rudy in almost every dvd/vhs collection.

  • 20 11-29-2009 at 10:48 pm

    Joel said...

    I saw “An Education” and loved it. “A Blind Side” and didn’t care for it at all. And “Old Dogs”…I don’t think I’ve seen a worse movie all decade.

  • 21 11-29-2009 at 11:04 pm

    Rob said...

    For the record (as someone who was comped), “The Princess and the Frog” admission price(s) for this ‘exclusive engagement’ was fucking FIFTY dollars, not 25.

  • 22 11-29-2009 at 11:22 pm

    Ziyad Abul Hawa said...

    Rob: I read that there were tickets for $50, $30, and $20

  • 23 11-29-2009 at 11:35 pm

    SHAAAARK said...

    As much as I dislike Sandra Bullock, I really hope it does end up with a higher domestic total than Avatar. I agree this would be a good thing, because maybe studios would finally start to take to heart the lesson of District 9 – that you don’t have to spend vast sums of money to create a successful film. Perhaps the industry will grow up a little, and stop obsessing over films designed with the ADHD-addled boy (or man-child) in mind.

  • 24 11-29-2009 at 11:56 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Please let The Blind Side do better than Avatar (and The Proposal)–but not as good as Wolverine. Keep things interesting. Bizarrely interesting.

  • 25 11-29-2009 at 11:58 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Not as well, that is to say…

  • 26 11-30-2009 at 2:41 am

    Ziyad Abul Hawa said...

    I had a dream (or maybe nightmare?!) in which The Blind Side keeps making $25-$30M every weekend for months (a la Titanic) and it ends up the #1 highest grossing movie in history.

  • 27 11-30-2009 at 2:59 am

    Milan said...

    Ziyad – That would be hilarious. I hope that happens!

  • 28 11-30-2009 at 4:15 am

    Glenn said...

    “The Blind Side” only cost $28mil, too! Bullock took a pay cut in exchange for percentage of box office receipts. I think she made the right call, yes?

  • 29 11-30-2009 at 5:49 am

    Rob said...

    “Rob: I read that there were tickets for $50, $30, and $20”

    The bulk of the theater, the center section, is $50 a reserved ticket. The far front, far rear, and sides were $30 general admission.

  • 30 11-30-2009 at 7:17 am

    Bia said...

    This certainly helps Sandra’s Oscar chances…the buzz is growing everyday that she will have a slot. Looks like Cornish is out for now…

  • 31 11-30-2009 at 7:42 am

    Loyal said...

    The Blind Side outgrossing Avatar would be wonderfully incredible and easily one of the cinematic milestones of the past 100 years. I remember sitting around the dinner table last week and when it was my turn to give thanks, there was only one thing on my mind.

    I was thankful to live a world where we might one day see theatres worldwide dominated by the likes of Radio, Glory Road, Remember the Titans, Clara’s Heart, and The Legend of Bagger Vance.

    God Bless Sandra Bullock’s work as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a plucky southerner who doesn’t see color.

    And go to Hell Avatar. You and Jim Cameron are destroying the world.

  • 32 11-30-2009 at 7:47 am

    Erik said...

    Let’s all just find a theatre that’s still playing Bright Star and keep seeing it till it breaks 250 million too, then Cornish is back in.

  • 33 11-30-2009 at 8:07 am

    ninja said...

    Bullock got the best reviews of her career and this movie is shaping up to become her highest-grossing ever. This increase over the last weekend is a sign of some serious legs. So if AMPAS want those big ratings back for Oscar show, and 10 BP nominees are supposedly geared toward nominating well-reviewed blockbusters that attaract viewers, giving a beloved actress such as Bullock a well-deserved nom would be a bonus.

  • 34 11-30-2009 at 8:38 am

    Andrew said...

    Dare we say that “The Blind Side” is in not only for Actress, but Best Picture too?

  • 35 11-30-2009 at 8:53 am

    Kyle said...

    If “The Blind Side” is a best picture contender simply on the fact that crowds like it, then Star Trek and Inglorious Basterds are shoe-ins for BP noms. Crowds loved those films as well, and they also had a much better critical response.

  • 36 11-30-2009 at 8:55 am

    aspect ratio said...

    Assuming the success of The Blind Side mainly comes from the Midwest, why would we ever think that the Academy, made up of “liberal Hollywood types” and foreigners will nominate it? Just because it’s a box office hit? Does that mean we’ll see The Hangover and Paranormal Activity as Best Picture nominees as well?

  • 37 11-30-2009 at 1:51 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Saying that it appeals to the midwest does not explain this box office performance. Almost all sports dramas do- Friday Night Lights, Remember the Titans, The Rookie. The only difference may be the presence of a female in the lead role, long considered poison to driving in male fans. It likely will be when the copycat films come in the next few years. Like any other surprise blockbuster, this is just a perfect storm of events combining.