"The Grinch" should gobble up more Thanksgiving box office leftovers than any other movie this weekend.
"Everything will take a 50-60% drop, particularly the family films," predicts one insider, anticipating a replay of last weekend's chart, since there are no new wide openings.
"You've got to figure that 50% drops are in line," another studio executive agrees. "There's no doubt about that. It always happens."
Should someone have opened a picture this weekend? "No," replies a distributor, "not unless you had a teenage film like 'Scream.' It's not a good weekend for box office. People are getting set for the holidays and they're drained. They're tired from Thanksgiving and they've got to get going with their Christmas shopping. We did a quarter of a billion dollars over Thanksgiving, so everybody went to the movies last weekend."
Universal and Imagine Entertainment's PG-rated comedy adventure blockbuster "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" grossed $52.1 million for the three-day weekend portion of the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period. A 50% drop would still give it about $26 million, more than enough to hold on to first place.
With "Grinch's" cume now at about $140 million, it's heading for a domestic theatrical gross of about $250 million.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13-rated supernatural thriller "Unbreakable," from the director and star of "The Sixth Sense," opened strongly in second place to $30.3 million last weekend. If it falls 50%, it will do about $15 million and come in second again. Even a 60% tumble would still give it about $12 million.
Buena Vista/Disney's live-action, G-rated sequel "102 Dalmatians" kicked off in the third spot on the chart with $19.9 million for three days over Thanksgiving. A 50% slide would give it nearly $10 million and keep it third.
Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies' G-rated animated sequel "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie" was fourth last weekend with $17.4 million. A 55% fall will give it nearly $8 million and let it retain fourth place.
"What happens this weekend is that you've got a Friday with kids in school as opposed to this past weekend when Friday was the biggest day of the weekend," a distributor says, explaining why a big drop is likely. "It's just a matter of the audience not being available. I don't think that on a kids movie you can be down less than 55%.
"Depending on how big a hit 'Dalmatians' takes, 'Rugrats' could conceivably flip places with it. Both films will take a big drop, I think, but 'Dalmatians' could take a bigger one because they're coming off their opening weekend and 'Rugrats' is coming off their holdover weekend."
"If I had to bet right now, I'd say the order (in the Top Five) stays the same," an observer speculates. "'Grinch' is, maybe, $27 million. 'Unbreakable' is probably down 50% the way that movie's playing. I would guess they'd do $15 million. 'Dalmatians' and 'Rugrats' will both be under $10 million. The fact that 'Grinch' in its third weekend is going to have something in excess of $20 million is incredible."
Directed by Stig Bergqvist and Paul Demeyer, 'Rugrats' was produced by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo.
Columbia's PG-13-rated action adventure comedy "Charlie's Angels" rounded out the Top Five with $10.2 million last weekend. If it's off 50%, it will finish fifth again with about $5 million.
Sony, Columbia's corporate parent, opened "Angels" in 29 international territories last weekend to make the most of the global media heat stemming from its blockbuster business in the U.S. and Canada. "Angels" grossed an impressive $20 million internationally last weekend and should continue to perform strongly in key markets around the globe like Australia, the U.K., Italy, Sweden, Japan, Mexico, Korea and South America. It could wind up as a $300 million worldwide success story for Sony.
On the limited release front, Miramax will open its G-rated reissue of The Beatles' classic "A Hard Day's Night" in New York and L.A.
Directed by Richard Lester, it stars The Beatles.