Box Office News

Box Office Analysis, Dec. 17: B.O. Gets Needed Boost with 'Legend,' 'Chipmunks'

By:
Dec 17, 2007 | 6:11am EST

 The sci-fi thriller I Am Legend debuted on top with $76.5 million, the biggest December opening ever and a personal best for star Will Smith.

"It's no wonder Will Smith feels so lonely. Everyone else on Earth is in the movie theater," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers told The Associated Press.

I Am Legend, which stars Smith as a plague survivor who may be the last living human, smashed the actor’s personal debut record, easily exceeding the $52.1 million opening weekends of I, Robot and Men in Black II. I Am Legend also outdid the $72.6 million premiere of 2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the previous best December opening.

Similarly, Alvin and the Chipmunks, a CGI-meets-live action redo of the retro cartoon starring Jason Lee, opened huge in second place with $45 million.

"Forty-five million acorns," Chris Aronson, senior vice president for distribution at 20th Century Fox told AP. "Chipmunks are diurnal animals and they do hibernate, but not right now."

The last opener this week, the family dramedy The Perfect Holiday, starring Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union, opened on Wednesday and debuted in sixth place with $2.9 million over the weekend.

Overall box office business soared. The Top 12 movies took in a total of $153.5 million for the weekend, up 38.51 percent from last year’s total of $110.8 million and up 110.89 percent from last weekend’s total of $72.8 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year: Sony’s The Pursuit of Happyness, which opened at No. 1 with $26.5 million in 2,852 theaters, averaging $9,306 per theater; 20th Century Fox’s Eragon, which opened in second place with $23.2 million in 3,020 theaters, averaging $7,695 per theater; and Paramount’s Charlotte's Web, which opened in third place with $11.4 million in 3,566 theaters, averaging $3,213 per theater (Click here to read last year's box office report).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10 ESTIMATES

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: I Am Legend (Warner Bros., PG-13)

• Gross: $76.5 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,606

• Per-theater average: $21,224

No. 2: Alvin and the Chipmunks (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

• Gross: $45 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,475

• Per-theater average: $12,950

No. 3: The Golden Compass (New Line, PG-13)

• Gross: $9 million (-65%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 3,528 (unchanged)

• Per-theater average: $2,558

• Cume to date: $40.9 million

No. 4: Enchanted (Disney, PG)

• Gross: $6 million (-44%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 3,066 (-454)

• Per-theater average: $1,958

• Cume to date: $92.2 million

No. 5: No Country for Old Men (Miramax, R)

• Gross: $3 million (-29%)

• Weeks opened: 6

• Theaters: 1,348 (+24)

• Per-theater average: $2,226

• Cume to date: $33.5 million

No. 6: The Perfect Holiday (Yari Film Group, PG)

• Gross: $2.9 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 1,307

• Per-theater average: $2,269

• Cume to date: $3.6 million (opened Wednesday)

No. 7: Fred Claus (Warner Bros., PG)

• Gross: $2.3 million (-51%)

• Weeks opened: 6

• Theaters: 2,750 (-435)

• Per-theater average: $838

• Cume to date: $68.9 million

No. 8: This Christmas (Sony/Screen Gems, PG-13)

• Gross: $2.3 million (-54%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 1,921 (+42)

• Per-theater average: $1,197

• Cume to date: $46 million

No. 9: Atonement (Focus Features, R)

• Gross: $1.8 million (+127%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 117 (+85)

• Per-theater average: $15,829

• Cume to date: $2.9 million

No. 10: August Rush (Warner Bros., PG)

• Gross: $1.7 million (-49%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 2,007 (-303)

• Per-theater average: $889

• Cume to date: $28 million

OTHER OPENINGS

The Kite Runner (Paramount Classics, PG-13)

• Gross: $450,970

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 35

• Per-theater average: $12,885

Youth Without Youth (Sony Classics, R)

• Gross: $27,815

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 6

• Per-theater average: $4,636

Look (Vitagraph, R)

• Gross: $14,875

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3

• Per-theater average: $4,958

Nanking (ThinkFilm, R)

• Gross: $7,150

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 1

• Per-theater average: $7,150

More Box Office News