Box Office News

Box Office Analysis, Dec. 11: 'Apocalypto' Takes Over

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Dec 11, 2006 | 5:40am EST

Mel Gibson scores another one at the box office. His newest film, the violent Apocalypto, knocked reigning champ Happy Feet out of the top spot at the North American box office this weekend, opening with $14.1 million.

Apocalypto debuted modestly compared to Gibson’s last effort The Passion of the Christ, which opened in 2004 with $83.8 million. With the publicity over Gibson's personal troubles this summer, many prognosticators didn’t know if Apocalypto would amount to much. But the actor/director’s contriteness since last summer may have stoked interested in Apocalypto, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers told The Associated Press.

"Whenever I tell people I saw the movie, they'd be like, ‘You saw it? How was it?’ There was a huge curiosity factor," Dergarabedian said. "A movie about Mayan civilization was never destined to be a big hit, let alone a No. 1 movie. But through Disney's marketing, which highlights Mel Gibson--I believe they associated him very closely with the movie--I think that strategy paid off."

The romantic The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black and Jude Law debuted in second place with $13.5 million, while the Leonardo DiCaprio’s political thriller Blood Diamond, opened in fifth with $8.5 million. The holiday comedy Unaccompanied Minors, about a group of kids run amok while stranded at an airport Christmas Eve, premiered in sixth place with $6.2 million.

The Top 12 movies grossed $86.6 million over the weekend, down 25.13 percent from last year’s draw of $115.7 million but up 6.69 percent from last weekend’s total of $93 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: Buena Vista’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which opened at No. 1 with $65.5 million in 3,616 theaters, averaging $18,130 per theater; Warner Bros.’ Syriana, which opened in second place with $11.7 million in 1,743 theaters, averaging $6,699 per theater; and Warner Bros. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which dropped to third place in its fourth week with $10.2 million in 3,728 theaters, averaging $2,754 per theater (Click here to read last year's box office report).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: Apocalypto (Buena Vista, R)

• Gross: $14.1 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2,465

• Per-theater average: $5,747

No. 2: The Holiday (Sony Pictures, PG)

• Gross: $13.5 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2,610

• Per-theater average: $5,172

No. 3: Happy Feet (Warner Bros., PG)

• Gross: $12.7 million (-28%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 3,650 (-154)

• Per-theater average: $3,482

• Cume to date: $137.7 million

No. 4: Casino Royale (Sony, PG-13)

• Gross: $8.8 million (-42%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 3,161 (-225)

• Per-theater average: $2,784

• Cume to date: $128.8 million

No. 5: Blood Diamond (Warner Bros., R)

• Gross: $8.5 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 1,910

• Per-theater average: $4,458

No. 6: Unaccompanied Minors (Warner Bros., PG)

• Gross: $6.2 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2,775

• Per-theater average: $2,236

No. 7: Deja Vu (Buena Vista, PG-13)

• Gross: $6 million (-45%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 2,742 (-366)

• Per-theater average: $2,214

• Cume to date: $53 million

No. 8: The Nativity Story (New Line, PG)

• Gross: $5.4 million

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 3,083 (unchanged)

• Per-theater average: $1,752

No. 9: Deck the Halls (20th Century Fox, PG)

• Gross: $3.9 million (-41%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 2,766 (-439)

• Per-theater average: $1,419

• Cume to date: $30.3 million

No. 10: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Buena Vista, G)

• Gross: $3.3 million (-32%)

• Weeks opened: 6

• Theaters: 1,487 (-426)

• Per-theater average: $1,487

• Cume to date: $77.2 million

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