‘New Year’s Eve’ leads as movie box office fizzles

Cast member Josh Duhamel and his wife, Fergie, pose during the premiere of ‘‘New Year’s Eve’’ at the Grauman’s Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California, December 5, 2011. — Reuters pic Cast member Josh Duhamel and his wife, Fergie, pose during the premiere of ‘‘New Year’s Eve’’ at the Grauman’s Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California, December 5, 2011. — Reuters pic

“New Year’s Eve” led the charts with a disappointing US$13.7 million (RM43.12 million) at US and Canadian theatres, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters yesterday. The movie added US$12.9 million from international markets, for a combined global debut of US$26.6 million, distributor Warner Bros. said.

New adult comedy “The Sitter”, starring Jonah Hill as a reluctant babysitter, finished second with an estimated US$10 million domestically from Friday through Sunday. The newest “Twilight” vampire romance movie, winner of the past three weekends, slipped to third place with US$7.9 million.

Overall ticket sales in the United States and Canada came in weak, down nearly 16 per cent from the same weekend a year ago at US$77.4 million, according to Box Office. That ranked as the lowest weekend total since September 2008 and followed a sluggish performance a week ago.

“This has been a very tough two weeks at the box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Box Office, who blamed the decline on a lack of male-oriented films.

Studios are hoping to turn that around in the coming weeks by cramming several big-budget action movies into theatres around Christmas. They include “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”, “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

For this weekend, “New Year’s Eve” failed to reach studio projections of at least US$17 million domestically.

Even so, “we did well in a very miserable weekend,” said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. The studio hopes the holiday theme will appeal in the coming weeks, he said.


“New Year’s Eve” follows a series of intertwining stories centred around the traditional ball drop in New York’s Times Square. It features an all-star lineup including Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Ashton Kutcher, Hilary Swank, Sofia Vergara, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lea Michele and Jon Bon Jovi.

The movie tanked with critics, with only 6 per cent giving a positive review on aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were more positive and rated the movie a B+ on average, according to exit polling firm CinemaScore.

For “The Sitter”, studio 20th Century Fox said ticket sales reached its pre-release expectations. “Given the softness in the marketplace, I think we did well,” said Chris Aronson, the studio’s senior vice president for domestic distribution.

While no longer on top of domestic charts, vampires and werewolves still drew fans around the world to the fourth “Twilight” movie. Global sales for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1” reached US$633.5 million since its debut.

A revival of “The Muppets” brought in US$7.1 million domestically over the weekend, landing Kermit and his puppet friends in fourth place. The film has grossed US$71.6 million worldwide through three weekends in theatres.

“Arthur Christmas”, a 3D animated family film that explains how Santa delivers presents around the world in one night, landed if fifth place with US$6.6 million. The movie has generated US$91 million worldwide to date.

“New Year’s Eve” was produced by New Line Cinema, a unit of Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros., the studio that distributed the film. News Corp’s 20th Century Fox studio released “The Sitter”. Privately held Summit Entertainment released “Breaking Dawn”.

“The Muppets” was released by Walt Disney Co, and Sony distributed “Arthur Christmas”. — Reuters 



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