Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday box office (07/01/10) - The Last Airbender: $16.35 million. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: $24 million, Toy Story 3: $7.4 million

The Last Airbender parlayed its devout fanbase, the marquee value of M. Night Shyamalan, and a pretty solid marketing campaign into a $16.35 million-grossing opening day, which includes $3 million in midnight showings. That's the fifth-biggest opening Thursday of all time, and the fifteenth-biggest Thursday on record. Yes, the 3-D ticket prices helped a bit, but if the product doesn't entice audiences, it won't matter how much the tickets cost. Of course, it's no secret that the film is abysmal, so it's a little disheartening to see M. Night Shyamalan rewarded with such a massive opening day (only Signs and The Village opened better, with $20 million on their respective opening days). Where it goes from here is anybody's guess.

The worst five-day weekend multipliers on record are for the last two Harry Potter films. Half-Blood Prince opened to $58 million and ended the five-day sprint with $159 million (2.74x), while Order of the Pheonix opened with $44 million and ended its five-day weekend with $139 million (3.15x). Those two multipliers are certainly possible, with poor word of mouth canceling out the smaller opening day (the higher the opening day, in general, the lower the multiplier). Respective multipliers would give the picture $44 million or $50 million. Something more akin to the five day take of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (3.22x) or The Matrix Revolutions (3.4x) would give the picture a five-day take of $51 million or $55 million. On the other hand, the prior five-day opening weekends that started on Thursday are Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (6x), Terminator: Salvation (5x), and Sex and the City 2 (3.6x) Such respective multipliers would give The Last Airbender five-day totals of $96 million, $75 million, and $57 million.

In other news, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse dropped 64% from its massive opening day, grossing $24.21 million on Thursday, just above the $23.8 million that Spider-Man 2 pulled in on its second day (which was down just 43%). It's the biggest Wednesday-to-Thursday drop in history. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince dropped 62% on its second day, going from $58 million to $22 million. That's still the sixth-biggest Thursday on record, and the second-largest non-opening Thursday ever, behind the $29 million scored by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (which dropped 'just' 53% from its $62 million opening Wednesday). The film has grossed $92.7 million in two days, which is the sixth-largest two-day gross in history, but is $24 million behind New Moon at a similar juncture ($114 million). The massive drop on Thursday was always going to happen, it's just a question of whether the film can recover over the holiday. Oh, and Toy Story 3 made another $7.4 million, showing no signs of slowing down despite the loss of its IMAX screens to Eclipse and at least some of its 3-D screens to The Last Airbender. The current domestic gross is $258 million. It's probably not gonna happen, but how amazingly satisfying would it be if Eclipse was played out by Friday and The Last Airbender ended up being incredibly frontloaded, allowing Toy Story 3 to sneak up and win the weekend again?

Scott Mendelson

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