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Pre-Holiday Box Office is Weak: Christmas Can't Come Too Soon for Studios, Theaters

Pre-Christmas weekends vary wildly in performance year by year, depending on where the dates fall (the closer to Christmas, the worse the business until December 25) and the strength of new openings. With the debuting films this year ranging for modest to weak, whatever strength there was came from the second week of "The Hobbit," which took a steep (but not unusual) fall from its smaller-than-expected opening. The result is a so-so total gross at best.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 23, 2012 1:03 PM
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Pre-Holiday Box Office: 'Jack Reacher' Best of So-So New Openers

Warning signs for this year's year-end box office prospects appeared in Friday's numbers. Even though pre-Christmas Friday was two days earlier this year (generally the closer the day is to the holiday, the fewer people are going to movies), the take for the Top Ten was only $28 million yesterday, compared to $37 million on the same Friday last year.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 22, 2012 5:39 PM
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Oscar Foreign Language Shortlist Films All Open or Set for Release by Early 2013

Something funny happened on the way to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar shortlist. Unusually, all nine contenders announced Friday morning have either already been released in the US or will be during the first quarter of 2013.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 21, 2012 4:27 PM
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Pre-Holiday Box Office: 'Zero Dark 30' 'Amour' Openings Boost Oscar Chances; 'Guilt Trip' 'Monsters 3D' Start Slow

Four new films opened midweek, during the pre-Christmas period when most people postpone their moviegoing until the holiday. "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Amour" both opened well in limited release in NY/LA, particularly for the date. The two wide studio releases -- "Guilt Trip" and 3-D rerelease "Monsters 3D" fell far short of similar recent openings on a pre-Christmas Wednesday.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 20, 2012 3:04 PM
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Arthouse Audit: Holiday Prospects for Holdovers 'Hyde Park,' 'Karenina,' 'Hitchcock,' 'Rust and Bone'

This is not looking like a strong holiday season for the specialty players.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 16, 2012 4:01 PM
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Weekend Box Office Top Ten: 'The Hobbit' Breaks Records, But What Does It Mean?

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" delivered about 70% of the top ten revenue in the pre-Christmas doldrums. Grosses almost doubled from last weekend and climbed about 13% from last year, making this a very successful weekend indeed. Yes, "The Hobbit" set a record for December weekend openings-- in raw dollar count--but the numbers suggest that it might not be quite as strong as seems at first glance. Down the line, a whole series of Thanskgiving and earlier releases show few signs of giving up their screens as a whole slew of major new films prepare to battle to grab their spots over the next two weeks.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 16, 2012 1:08 PM
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Saturday Top Ten Preview: 'The Hobbit' Gobbles Up 80% of Box Office, 'Lincoln' Strong

As expected, Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" overcame a turbulent production history, mixed reviews and a nearly three-hour length to open strong. The $37-million-plus gross included some $13 million from midnight shows: about one million people on a December weeknight attended the first late night showings across the country. Simultaneous international openings suggest similar global reaction, leading to a strong head wind for the expensive production heading into Christmas.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 15, 2012 3:49 PM
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Arthouse Audit: 'Hyde Park on Hudson' Opens Just OK, 'Silver Linings' Takes It Slow

The only high-profile specialty release this weekend was "Hyde Park on the Hudson" from Focus, normally a prime date for late year high profile releases (last year, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Young Adult" both premiered). "Hyde Park" did respectable business under difficult circumstances, but at this stage doesn't look as strong as other recent openers. The main story remains the performance of several films that have yet to open in more than 500 theaters. "Silver Linings Playbook," "Anna Karenina" and "Hitchcock" have established themselves across the country. It remains to be seen how much wider each of them can go, with "SLP" still showing the greatest potential (full analysis of the Weinstein's calculated risk and money-saving strategy is below.)
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 9, 2012 4:08 PM
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Weekend Box Office Topped by Sony Record-Breaker 'Skyfall' and Thanksgiving Leftovers as Butler Flops Again

Lacking an early release of a Christmas blockbuster, this weekend boasted just one low-grossing new release (Millennium's Gerard Butler-starrer "Playing for Keeps"), while last year had two newbies topping the top ten list. But this is traditionally one of the weakest weekends of the year. With only a single (soft) new film in play, the surprise is that strong holdovers led by Sony's record-breaking global blockbuster "Skyfall" as well as several awards contenders, managed to actually improve grosses about 5% from last year. But the total is low -- around $68 million.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 9, 2012 1:14 PM
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Saturday Box Office Preview: Holdovers Keep Grosses on Positive Track

Lacking an early release of a Christmas blockbuster, this weekend is traditionally one of the weakest of the year. With only a single (soft) new film in play -- Millennium's Gerard Butler starrer "Playing for Keeps" (released by FilmDistrict) -- the surprise is that for Friday, the top ten actually grossed about equal to last year, with the full weekend likely ahead.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 8, 2012 6:45 PM
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