Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi in New Year's Eve

See? It wasn’t us this time.

No, instead the Garry Marshall/Katherine Fugate team went from the stunningly high $56.2m (Valentine’s Day opening weekend) to the surprisingly mediocre $13.7m for New Year’s Eve. Hey, maybe American audiences are starting to shape and choose the better films with their dollars. Or maybe it just didn’t appeal to the right demographic. There’s only so much Ashton Kutcher the chick flick crowd can even endure. Now that he’s on Two and a Half Men on a weekly basis, they don’t need to go to the cineplexes to get their Kutcher fix. So, there you have it. Blame Two and a Half Men for New Year’s Eve disappointing.

Not much can be said as an excuse for The Sitter. Maybe David Gordon Green should go back to his more dramatic days. After the $9.3m Your Highness pulled in its opening weekend and now this, that could be where he’ll be headed anyway. Or, at the very least, his next film will be starring Seth Rogen. Jonah Hill’s leading man status will have to sit on the back burner for a while, too, though 21 Jump Street next March could help turn that around, as well.

Most of the returning films had reasonable drops save for Breaking Dawn Part 1, which had another 50+% dip. Everything else came in under 50% with movies like Arthur Christmas and Hugo coming in with less than 20% drops. The Descendants, which expanded to a little more than 300 additional screens even had its weekend raised.

We’ll probably be getting more expansions in the coming weeks. Films like Shame, A Dangerous Method, and The Artist continued to have impressive per screen averages on 20 or less screens. Shame and The Artist currently sit at $774,000 and $886,000 respectively, but look for those numbers begin to soar as they both continue to expand. Other limited release films to look for on the horizon are We Need to Talk About Kevin ($24,000 on 1 screen), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy ($301,000 on 4 screens for a $75,250 per theater average), and Young Adult ($320,000 on 8 screens for a $40,000 per theater average). All of these films are sure to pull in some Oscar nominations, which will guarantee their theater counts to steadily grow all through January, and some of them could find Midnight in Paris levels of success.

TINTIN ALERT  —-  TINTIN ALERT  —-  TINTIN ALERT  —-  TINTIN ALERT  —-  TINTIN ALERT

We’re still a week and a half out from The Adventures of Tintin being release in the United States, but that isn’t stopping the adventurer from pulling in some serious overseas treasure. It made another $10.6m in 54 foreign markets this weekend for a grand total of $220.5m, already a rousing success before it even sets foot on American soil. Expect a huge debut on December 21st and for that worldwide number to skyrocket shortly after.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. New Year’s Eve – $13.7m NEW
  2. The Sitter – $10m NEW
  3. Breaking Dawn Part 1 – $7.9m (-52.2%) $259.5m total
  4. The Muppets – $7m (-36.2%) $65.8m total
  5. Arthur Christmas – $6.6m (-10.8%) $33.4m total
  6. Hugo – $6.1m (-19%) $33.4m total
  7. The Descendants – $4.8m (+0.9%) $23.6m total
  8. Happy Feet Two – $3.7m (-36.6%) $56.8m total
  9. Jack and Jill – $3.2m (-40.3%) $68.6m total
  10. Immortals – $2.4m (-45.3%) $79.8m total

$64.5m isn’t an impressive number no matter how you look at it. New Year’s Eve and its ability to even pull half the audience Valentine’s Day found really let the total box office down. But don’t let that number get you in the slumps for too long, because the blockbusters are upon us.

Next weekend sees the second Sherlock Holmes and the third Alvin and the Chupmunks films releasing wide, both of which will surely be bring some green back into the box office numbers. Also seeing release on 400 IMAX screens next weekend is Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which expands the following week as films like Tintin, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and We Bought a Zoo hit wide. There are also a few presents ready to drop on Christmas day, namely War Horse and The Darkest Hour. So it seems the box office will find another upswing here before the end of the year, and we can put New Year’s Eve – the movie, not the holiday – far behind us all.

We’ll be back on Thursday to see how the weekend is shaping up.


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