The Reject ReportYes, we know. It’s a little early to be celebrating Christmas already. It’s actually a lot early to be celebrating Christmas, but what’s good enough for the weekend box office is good enough for the Reject Report. There is a Christmas movie hitting this weekend, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and it’ll be looking to take dollars and laughs away from the other new release, Tower Heist.

As much as we’d all like to see Brett Ratner go down in flames to the might of Harold & Kumar, that outcome might not be so foregone. Doesn’t matter to our Christmas spirit, though. We’ll still be singing carols and hanging out underneath the mistletoe. Alone. Practicing on the back of our hands. Oh, right, the box office.

BIG HITTERS

Tis the season. For smoke and nudity and laughs and Harold and Kumar and 3D, that is. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is only the third film of the franchise, but the steady build in box office returns and the buzz surrounding this latest film are proof positive the formula works. Now, courtesy of Star Trek, John Cho is a slightly bigger star than he was in 2008 when Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay opened to $14.9m, and Kal Penn, thanks to his White House position…well, John Cho is a bigger star regardless. It will be extremely surprising if 3D Christmas falters in the upward swing of the series, but whether it has enough to put it over the $20m mark remains to be seen. More than likely it’ll come in around $17-18m thanks to the 3D bump and the established brand of its stars. Not exactly a high water mark, but it’s better than what any of the Cheech & Chong movies did.

Did we mention Neil Patrick Harris is along for the ride, too? He has a few Christmas moments under his belt. Here’s one of them. Ooh, so serious:

Yes, we gave Brett Ratner a hard time in the opening, and, no, most film-savvy movie watchers aren’t too fond of him. But, for the casual movie-goer, the type of patron who will make Tower Heist such a huge hit, Ratner’s name probably won’t even come up before, during, or even after the movie. Instead, they’ll be looking at Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and how funny that movie starring that girl from Precious looks. That’s precisely what Universal is expecting this weekend, and they’ll probably get it. Tower Heist has a very good chance of coming out #1. It’s PG-13 accessible, unlike Harold & Kumar. The trailer makes it look funny, probably because, even with Ratner on board, it is. The only thing standing in Tower Heist‘s way of fully expecting the crown is an adventurous, CG cat and his boots. But the audiences are different. Tower Heist‘s main competition this weekend is without a doubt Harold & Kumar, and the only thing that might put the latter up and over are those 3D dollars. Expect Tower Heist to come in just under $20m. Expect Brett Ratner to continue making accessible movies until the day he dies.

Tower Heist? Sounds like an arcade game. Kind of like Elevator Action. Remember that? Well, here’s a refresher:

FAMILIARITIES

Puss in Boots didn’t exactly have the swashbuckling opening weekend many were anticipating. In fact, it opened softer than any of the Shrek movies, probably the reason we didn’t get an announcement about Puss in Boots 2: Puss’ Pride this week. Without any other family films out there fresh enough for audiences to seek out, Puss in Boots‘ second weekend won’t have that huge of a drop. It will probably somewhere in the average, between 40-45%. Even with that, it will still come out with around $20m this weekend. That could very well be enough to give it a second #1 spot in a row. It all depends on how well Tower Heist and Harold & Kumar do. Regardless of its placement on the charts, expect Puss in Boots to deliver another healthy weekend for DreamWorks Animation. Puss’ Pride might not be too far off.

LITTLE OPENERS

Opening in limited release are Charlotte Rampling: The Look opening in New York City, The Son of No One opening in select cities, and Young Goethe in Love opening in New York and L.A. It’s a slow weekend all around.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Tower Heist – $19.6m NEW
  2. Puss in Boots – $19.5m (-42.5%)
  3. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas – $17.4m NEW
  4. Paranormal Activity 3 – $8m (-55.7%)
  5. In Time – $6.1m (-48.8%)
  6. Footloose – $2.9m (-46%)
  7. The Rum Diary – $2.2m (-55.5%)
  8. Real Steel – $2.2m (-54.8%)
  9. The Ides of March – $1.5m (-44.6%)
  10. Moneyball -$1.3m (-39.2%)
Another down week, this time with the top 10 coming in with around $80.7m. And another excuse for box office analysts to cry “slump.” And they might be totally off this time around. The box office is down from previous years. Puss in Boots didn’t have the impact as last year’s Megamind ($321m worldwide) or 2009’s A Christmas Carol ($325m worldwide). Real Steel with its $183m worldwide box office ($75m domestic) wasn’t the Winter blockbuster the advertisements and studio expected it to be. Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt, and a couple of Hollywood remakes weren’t enough to blast the overall box office into high territory, either. I hate to say it, folks, but the box office saving grace in 2011 might be the Twilight series. No, I won’t say it. Forget I even mentioned it.

We’ll be back on Sunday to go over the weekend numbers.

Click here for more of The Reject Report


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