Box Office News

Box Office Analysis, Dec. 19: 'Kong' Is Weekend King

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Dec 19, 2005 | 5:53am EST

Even though it fell short of blockbuster status, director Peter Jackson’s epic King Kong easily claimed the top spot with $50.1 million at the North American box office this weekend.

The action spectacle about a giant ape pushed last week’s champ, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, down to second place with $31.2 million.

Brushing aside suggestions that King Kong had not lived up to expectations, Marc Shmuger, vice chairman of Universal Pictures, told The Associated Press, "This is not Tolkien. This is not the Harry Potter fan base."

Grosses for King Kong, which opened Wednesday, jumped 40 percent from Friday to Saturday, a huge increase for a non-family film and a sign that good word-of-mouth was pulling in audiences, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told AP.

"A movie like King Kong just automatically creates an expectation that it will break all kinds of box-office records," Dergarabedian said. "But much like Titanic, which started very slow, sometimes it's not always about opening weekends. Sometimes, it's how the film plays in the long run."

Also opening this weekend was the Sarah Jessica Parker dramedy The Family Stone, which came in third place with $12.7 million.

The Top 12 films grossed an estimated $121.1 million, up 22.32 percent from last year's draw of $99 million and up 4.70 percent from last weekend’s total of $115.7 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: Paramount Pictures’ PG-rates Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, which opened at No. 1 with $30 million in 3,620 theaters, averaging $8,304 per theater; Warner Bros. PG-13 rated Ocean's Twelve, which dropped to second place in its second week with $18.1 million in 3,290 theaters, averaging $5,509 per theater; and Sony Pictures’ PG-13 Spanglish, which opened in third place with $8.8 million in 2,438 theaters, averaging $3,617 per theater. (Click here to read last year's box office report)

BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: King Kong (Universal, PG-13)

• Gross: $50.1 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,568

• Per-theater average: $14,055

• Cume to date: $66.2 million (opened on Wednesday)

No. 2: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ( Buena Vista, PG)

• Gross: $31.1 million (-52%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 3,680 (+64)

• Per-theater average: $8,474

• Cume to date: $1112.5 million

No. 3: The Family Stone (20th Cent Fox, PG-13)

• Gross: $12.7 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2,466

• Per-theater average: $5,160

No. 4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros., PG-13)

• Gross: $5.9 million (-42%)

• Weeks opened: 5

• Theaters: 3,185 (-130)

• Per-theater average: $1,854

• Cume to date: $252.5 million

No. 5:Syriana ( Warner Bros., R)

• Gross: $5.4 million (-53%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 1,775 (+23)

• Per-theater average: $3,079

• Cume to date: $22.3 million

No. 6:Walk the Line (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

• Gross: $3.6 million (-37%)

• Weeks opened: 5

• Theaters: 2,664 (-370)

• Per-theater average: $1,361

• Cume to date: $82.5 million

No. 7: Yours, Mine and Ours (Paramount, PG)

• Gross: $3.4 million (-32%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 2,723 (-487)

• Per-theater average: $1,254

• Cume to date: $45.1 million

No. 8: Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features, R)

• Gross: $2.3 million (+331%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 69 (+64)

• Per-theater average: $34,194

• Cume to date: $3.3 million

No. 9: Just Friends(New Line Cinema, PG-13)

• Gross: $1.9 million (-49%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 1,882 (-582)

• Per-theater average: $1,036

• Cume to date: $29.4 million

No. 10: Aeon Flux ( Paramount, PG-13)

• Gross: $1.6 million (-63%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 2,058 (-550)

• Per-theater average: $814

• Cume to date: $23.1 million

OTHER OPENINGS

The Producers (Universal, PG-13)

• Gross: $156,000

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 6

• Per-theater average: $26,000

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