EInsiders.com : : : Reviews | DVD | Inside Scoop | Box Office | Interviews | Columns | Obits | Contests

Sunday, December 16, 2007

'I Am Legend' tops weekend of Dec. 14-16

Two massive debuts, including a record breaking opening from Will Smith's I Am Legend rocketed the box office to its biggest non-holiday December weekend in history. It was largely thanks to Warner Bros.' sci-fi action remake, which took in a frightening $76.5 million, averaging $21,224 from 3,606 theaters. I Am Legend gave Will Smith by far the biggest opening of his career, blowing past I, Robot's $52.1 million back in 2004. It was also the actor's seventh straight No. 1 debut and eleventh overall.

With New Line's big budget The Golden Compass performing well below expectations all signs pointed to a big debut from the Will Smith starrer. Warner Bros. gave the film a massive and effective marketing campaign that peaked the interest of a wide ranging demographic. Carrying a PG-13 rating, the film became the biggest December opening of all-time, surpassing 2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with $72.6 million. An adaptation of Richard Matheson's dark 1954 novel about the last man on Earth, I Am Legend is the third film adaptation to hit the big screen, following 1964's The Last Man on Earth and 1971's Charlton Heston starrer The Omega Man. To entice audiences to watch I Am Legend in the 77 Imax theaters the film was released in, Warner Bros. attached a six-minute prologue for next summer's hotly-anticipated The Dark Knight.

Debuting in second with a jaw-dropping $45 million was Fox's family comedy Alvin and the Chipmunks, which crushed nearly every industry projection for the weekend. It was the second biggest debut of the year for a PG-rated film, trailing only Shrek the Third's $121.6 million. Despite being hammered by critics the film became the defacto family offering for the weekend, completely dominating competitor The Golden Compass for the crucial family demographic. That film took a troubling 65% drop from its opening weekend to $9 million, bringing its ten-day take to just $41 million. Budgeted at an astronomical $180 million, the New Line release could spell the end for the financially troubled studio. New Line sold the rights to the film's international box office, which has accumulated $50 million since its opening last week.

Disney's surprise hit Enchated slipped 44% to $6 million, bringing its four-week cume to $92.3 million. Starring Amy Adams, the film should finish with $110 million domestically. Riding high off its four Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture (Drama) was the Coen brothers' acclaimed No Country For Old Men, which took in an estimated $3 million this weekend. Its total now stands at $33.6 million.

In sixth was the romantic comedy debut The Perfect Holiday, which took in just $3 million from 1,307 theaters.

Thanks to much larger than expected debuts from both I Am Legend and Alvin and the Chipmunks, the top ten films amassed an incredible $150.8 million, up 47% from last year's comparable frame when Will Smith's The Pursuit of Happyness took the top spot with $26.5 million. Legend and Alvin accounted for an incredible 75% of all ticket sales this weekend.

No comments: