SUNDAY CENTS: ‘Fairy’ bust

Posted by · 10:55 am · January 24th, 2010

Legion*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

Blah blah blah blah “Avatar” blah blah number one blah blah blah $36 million. Second biggest sixth weekend ever, behind “Titanic.” $550 million+ in the bank, passing “The Dark Knight” and entering the top 10 highest grossing films of the modern era (1980 onward). The drop was only 16% from last weekend, which was a Holiday remember, and James Cameron’s fart will go on and on and on.

“Legion” took the runner up spot with $18.2 million, and as I said on Friday, anything over $16 million would be a huge win. Sony just can’t lose with this kind of product and it will join “Vantage Point,” “21” and “Lakeview Terrace” as successful films that nobody will remember in two years. But anything that keeps Paul Bettany employed can’t be all bad.

“The Book of Eli” drops 48% to third place and $17 million, which is pretty solid. With last Sunday’s figures inflated by the holiday and word-of-mouth not expected to be great, things could have been a lot worse for Denzel and the Hughes Brothers.

“Tooth Fairy” failed to get off the ground, taking fourth place with $14.5 million and represents the second straight seemingly can’t-miss family film to drop the ball. I’d say that maybe kids and parents are raising their standards but “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” passed the $200 million mark on Saturday so…

Just to recap: Denzel Washington films to make $200 million = zero. Singing chipmunk films to make $200 million = two.

Perhaps if Harrison Ford didn’t already work around the clock he could have convinced more people to go see “Extraordinary Measures.” CBS Films went for broke with non-stop advertising but could only muster a $7 million debut. Even arbitrary references to “The Blind Side” couldn’t help it find an audience. Maybe they should have combined storylines with Hugh Grant’s “Extreme Measures” and had Ford and Fraser hire Gene Hackman to kill bums to get their miracle science done.

“The Lovely Bones” dropped 48% and is behaving like a standard January thriller release. “The Spy Next Door” is already out of the top 10, “Crazy Heart” started expanding slightly with success and Samuel Goldwyn released “To Save a Life” in 441 theaters without really telling anyone. $1.2 million and a spot outside the top 15 is how that strategy worked out.

Finally, 10 weeks after opening, we say goodbye to “The Blind Side,” which fell out of the top 10 for the first time. Still, it only dropped 19% and is sailing towards $250 million. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised since I was informed yesterday that it contains the single greatest piece of screen acting done by any female in the entire year of filmmaking. Acting teachers: amend those syllabi.

No movies for me again this week as January continues to pile on the misery. I will be checking out “Daddy Longlegs” on demand, though, direct from Sundance as soon as I can, and suggest you do the same.

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

Weekend of Friday, January 22, 2010

→ 39 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

39 responses so far

  • 1 1-24-2010 at 11:03 am

    Alfie said...

    I really think it is a shame lovely bones was received the way it was. It is nowhere near as bad as some critics would have you believe. It got to a point that it really did start to feel like it was just a big pile on there at the end. Like critics felt it was time to give Jackson a kicking. I mean I can understand not liking it as you can’t please everyone but some of the hate was way out of proportion to the quality of the film.

  • 2 1-24-2010 at 11:14 am

    m1 said...

    I’m calling it: EOD will beat out Avatar, finally.

  • 3 1-24-2010 at 11:18 am

    tony rock said...

    Agreed, Alfie. In fact, call me paranoid, but I think we’re seeing a trend here with successful filmmakers. Seems as if every time a director makes a series of back-to-back-to-back hits critics feel it necessary to subsequently bring em down on their next project.

  • 4 1-24-2010 at 11:47 am

    Raffi said...

    You mention Avatar being the second biggest sixth weekend behind Titanic. It’s actually #1 ahead of titanic.


  • 5 1-24-2010 at 11:57 am

    Loyal said...

    TDK fell yesterday, Titanic Overseas fell today (along with a PGA win hopefully), Titanic Worldwide will fall tomorrow, and Titanic domestic will fall just in time for Oscar nominations next Tuesday.

    You couldn’t choreograph a better series of events for Avatar. Big congrats to James Cameron and Jon Landau.

  • 6 1-24-2010 at 12:17 pm

    david said...

    James Cameron’s “fart” goes on and on and on…very clever Chad, but not very classy.
    It seems like lately your deliberately trying to provoke those on this site by how you “phrase” your opinions of certain films.

    Going back to a comment you made recently about spending a bunch of money on film school, only to find out your films aren’t anything the average person would ever pay to see. First of all, I would watch your films. Who knows, they might be really good. But it’s like you have this bone to pick with populist cinema. It’s almost as if your upset people are going in flocks to see the latest piece of atrocious trash by that hack Martin Scorsese, or the latest film fart by that King of the Juvenile James Cameron, rather then instead going to see one of your films at there local arthouse theater. At least, that’s how it’s coming across to me. Please set me straight if this isn’t the case.

  • 7 1-24-2010 at 12:33 pm

    JG said...

    It is actually the biggest sixth week ever, not the second. Sorry that this fart is making you so angry. Man people like you are arguably worse than Armond White.

  • 8 1-24-2010 at 12:42 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    David- Of course I’m upset that people are going in flocks to see Avatar and not my movie. I’m sure James Cameron would feel the same if the situation was reversed. I wish more people liked the kind of cinema that I do. It would be amazing to talk about the chart-topping success of Hunger or Y tu Mama Tambien. Really though, I’m not as sarcastic or cynical in real life as I am in the column. Just let me take some cheap shots at the multi-billionaire for a laugh and settle down.

  • 9 1-24-2010 at 12:44 pm

    Brent said...

    Chad, keep writing these links like you do.

    The column is the new high on this site for me. Laugh a paragraph.

  • 10 1-24-2010 at 12:45 pm

    Brent said...

    these like you do**

  • 11 1-24-2010 at 12:50 pm

    Brady said...

    So maybe Avatar will last at the number one for this coming weekend, and maybe the next one, but it will NOT get past Feb 12th with Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Valentine’s Day, and the Wolfman. And it most certainly won’t beat Shutter Island the following weekend.

  • 12 1-24-2010 at 12:51 pm

    Loyal said...

    Y Tu made $33,616,692 worldwide unadjusted. That’s huge considering its subject matter.

    I know plenty of filmmakers who would die for that type of success.

  • 13 1-24-2010 at 12:56 pm

    Andrew F said...

    “Just to recap: Denzel Washington films to make $200 million = zero. Singing chipmunk films to make $200 million = two.”

    Chad, I adore thee.

  • 14 1-24-2010 at 1:01 pm

    tintin said...

    James Cameron= King of the world and King of Pandora. Soon.

  • 15 1-24-2010 at 1:07 pm

    Fitz said...

    “So maybe Avatar will last at the number one for this coming weekend, and maybe the next one, but it will NOT get past Feb 12th with Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Valentine’s Day, and the Wolfman.” – Brady

    I guarantee if it makes it to the 12th it will clobber those films easily. They are all terrible.

  • 16 1-24-2010 at 1:14 pm

    Michael said...

    seriously Chad, please don’t change a thing. some people need to get a grip. your column is always hilarious and I think the movies and directors are going to be okay, no harm in someone busting their balls a little bit and taking a shot at them, even if it is sometimes a little obvious or cheap it is still hysterical.

  • 17 1-24-2010 at 1:16 pm

    Michael said...

    oh and I saw Legion this weekend and was bored out of my mind – way too much talking and not enough ridiculous b-movie crap like I was hoping. I don’t think anyone here would be considering seeing it, but if you are like me and like to enjoy a good escapist trashy film every now and again then keep searching b/c Legion takes itself way too seriously.

  • 18 1-24-2010 at 1:50 pm

    mjb said...

    “Hunger” was a statement…it was not entertainment.

  • 19 1-24-2010 at 1:53 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Raffi: Please note the reminder at the top of the column, the same reminder that accompanies every Box Office column from Chad here at IC.

  • 20 1-24-2010 at 2:42 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Isn’t Avatar a statement too? What makes it entertainment and Hunger not?

  • 21 1-24-2010 at 2:53 pm

    John said...

    Ha-I had to actually look up Vantage Point, as I didn’t recall it. You’re right-no one will remember this film two years from now except the producers who got a new Porsche out of it.

  • 22 1-24-2010 at 3:19 pm

    david said...

    I’ve got Hunger in my Netflix queue. I believe it’s a Criterion release. Can’t wait to see it. It played for exactly one week in the only arthouse theater in Salt Lake City and got pulled before I had a chance to screen it.

  • 23 1-24-2010 at 3:31 pm

    arjay said...

    Why are all historical figures adjusted to today’s figures? That’s unhelpful because no one else discussing BO does it. To use suspect inflation adjustments just opens up a whole can of worms. Avatar is the biggest 6th weekend ever, end of story.

  • 24 1-24-2010 at 3:32 pm

    entertainmenttod said...

    Before giving Avatar complete credit one must realize tickets for its 3D cost twice that of Titanic. NO DOUBT every big event film will be released in 3-D sooner than later. I don’t look foward to this at all. It works for Avatar but I dont want to see a Batman movie in this process.


  • 25 1-24-2010 at 4:06 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Because that’s the way it is here arjay. Like you said, there are plenty others discussing the way you like it so you should be fine reading them.

  • 26 1-24-2010 at 4:29 pm

    James D. said...

    The more Avatar makes, the less likely I am to ever see it. I can maintain a shred of originality.

  • 27 1-24-2010 at 4:59 pm

    Raffi said...

    Kris: Thanks…I shall be more observant next time! ;-)

  • 28 1-24-2010 at 5:10 pm

    Charlie said...

    The foreign numbers for Avatar just game in, and the worldwide total is just staggering.

    My estimates for it to break the record were about 4 days off. It could break it tomorrow.

  • 29 1-24-2010 at 5:24 pm

    Loyal said...

    Since 700m is a foregone conclusion, I wonder if 800m is in play. That would be incredible.

  • 30 1-24-2010 at 5:29 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I wouldn’t say 700 is a foregone conclusion yet.

  • 31 1-24-2010 at 5:47 pm

    Loyal said...

    Chad, you also thought The Blind Side would make more money than Avatar. You’re not the person to talk Avatar box office with, seeing as you’ve doubted it at every single turn.

    It’ll be at 600m by the start of next week. 700m is a n0-brainer.

  • 32 1-24-2010 at 6:08 pm

    aaron said...

    yeah, chad, you punk-ass bitch. how dare you make fun of james cameron (the honorable, the beneficent)? he’s only a multi-billionaire who’s on his way to being crowned “king of the world” a second time. that poor man! must be crying all his way to the bank. movies are subjective, unless they make over a billion worldwide, then $$$ = STFU and fall in line.

    seriously, though, good point about avatar being a statement. i like how none of the avatar apologists have responded to that (because they can’t).

    and, god . . . are we ever going to drop the binary art/entertainment dichotomy? it IS possible for a work of art to be engaging and interesting and ask the audience questions and not talk down to them . . . meh, why do i even bother?


  • 33 1-24-2010 at 6:14 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Look, the way Avatar is going right now, it could make a billion just in the U.S. Or at any moment, it could lose steam and drop 40% each week. If that happens, it ain’t reaching $700 mil. I think it will hit that mark and I don’t doubt it could feasibly make $750 mil, but nothing is a foregone conclusion.

  • 34 1-24-2010 at 6:31 pm

    tony rock said...

    Have to agree with Chad. Even if it enjoys circa 20% drops from here on out it wont make 700 mil domestic. Looks to top out around 650-680 mil. Doesn’t matter though, that’s still unfathomably amazing (or not so amazing, depending how you look at it).

  • 35 1-24-2010 at 7:43 pm

    James D. said...

    Doesn’t a lot of it depend on whether or not it wins Best Picture? That would keep it in theaters until April.

  • 36 1-24-2010 at 8:06 pm

    Joe said...

    Chad, funny as usual… but first of all, I believe that you were informed last night that the best piece of female acting came from Mo’Nique, not necessarily Sandra Bullock. Second of all, who’s to say that Sandra didn’t give the best performance of last year? (Granted, I didn’t see four of your nominees, but that’s not all my fault. Besides, I wasn’t all that impressed with Carey Mulligan.) It was a weak year for mainstream female acting (everyone wants to reward Meryl Streep for a performance that wouldn’t even crack her personal top 10). Sandra wasn’t standout or special, but it was good enough.

  • 37 1-24-2010 at 10:26 pm

    Maxim said...

    All things considered, Extraodinary Measures’ opening isn’t that bad. A perfectly decent opening considering the timing and the competition.

  • 38 1-25-2010 at 1:39 am

    Fei said...

    tony rock: Your math is wrong. If Avatar saw 20% drops every week, then it would make over $700M. I don’t know how you got the $650M-680M figure. I’ve run the numbers, and that’s how I know.

  • 39 1-25-2010 at 1:51 am

    Fei said...

    arjay: Avatar does not have the “biggest 6th weekend ever.” It has the highest nominal gross, yes, but what does “biggest 6th weekend ever” mean? Back in Titanic’s day, $25M was a far bigger number in the industry than what $36M means today. If ticket prices were to double in 50 years, then a $36M weekend would have half of the attendance from today. And with the population growing, that would also mean a smaller percentage out of all moviegoers. So that would not be a huge weekend at all; strong, yes, but not “huge.” It’s all relative, and that’s why inflation adjustment is useful.