Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Preview: "Nativity" Leads Trio of New Releases

by | November 30, 2006 | Comments

The post-turkey blues will kick in as the North American box office should slump this weekend following a busy Thanksgiving holiday frame.

Three new releases venture into the multiplexes. The Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" will open in the most theaters and try to court a faith-based audience as Christmas nears. Teens and young adults looking to push the envelope with R-rated fare have the college comedy "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" and the horror thriller "Turistas." Meanwhile, the penguin toon "Happy Feet" and the James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" will both be past the $100M mark by Friday and will try to stay atop the charts for a third straight time.

The story of Baby Jesus comes to the big screen with New Line’s "The Nativity Story" which stars Keisha Castle-Hughes ("Whale Rider") as Mary. The PG-rated film should appeal to Christian parents wanting to share the religious saga with their children in an environment that the whole family can enjoy. Certainly "The Passion of the Christ" showed how big a Biblical film could be at the box office. However, "Nativity" is completely different and does not have that film’s high-profile director, controversy, or national media frenzy.


Keisha Castle-Hughes and friends in "The Nativity Story."

Instead, it may tap into the same audience as October’s Babylon epic "One Night With the King" which opened to $4.1M from just 909 theaters for a $4,518 average. "The Nativity Story" will launch in more than twice the number of theaters and has a more timely release with December 25 right around the corner, but could generate a similar per-theater average. Critics have not been kind to the pic which might prompt some to wait for the DVD. Opening in around 2,800 theaters, "The Nativity Story" could collect about $13M over the weekend.

Four and a half years after the release of National Lampoon’s first raunchy college comedy "Van Wilder" comes a new installment with "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj." This R-rated tale finds Taj (Kal Penn) from the first film moving to England to teach a group of misfits how to party down. It’s been a tough road in recent weeks for R-rated films aimed at young males. "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," "Let’s Go to Prison," and "Harsh Times" all opened with about $2M or $3M a piece. "Taj" has some brand recognition since the first "Van Wilder" went on to become popular on video and on cable. In theaters, it opened to $7.3M and a $3,612 average in April 2002 leading to a $21M final. However, a crowded marketplace will make it tough for the sequel to stand out. And "Borat" becoming a runaway smash with four straight $10M+ weekends won’t help either. Opening in 2,000 around theaters, "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" might debut with about $5M.


Kal Penn returns in "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj."

Fox’s new division Fox Atomic, which will cater to teen and young adult audiences, sets sail with its first film with the horror pic "Turistas." The R-rated thriller is directed by John Stockwell ("Blue Crush," "Crazy/Beautiful") and follows a group of American tourists on vacation in Brazil who cross paths with creepy organ harvesters. No starpower here. Instead, Fox is hoping to appeal to college kids looking for a good scare. Outside of older teens and twentysomethings, appeal should be minimal. Even with its core audience, "Turistas" will have to share shelf space with "Taj" so potential will be limited. Opening in less than 2,000 theaters, "Turistas" could find its way to a weekend gross of roughly $4M.


A trio of scared turistas in "Turistas."

Among holdovers, films usually suffer steep declines on the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday frame. Overall box office spending contracts and studios usually avoid programming any of their heavy hitters into the slot. In fact in the last 15 years, only one new release has opened at number one during this particular weekend – 2003’s "The Last Samurai."

This weekend, it could end up being "Happy Feet" and "Casino Royale" duking it out for box office supremacy for the third straight time. Family pics do extremely well over the turkey frame, but then come down hard a week later. Plus "The Nativity Story" could provide some competition for families. Warner Bros. might suffer a 55% fall for its penguin film which would leave it with $17M for the weekend and $120M after 17 days.

The new blonde Bond is pleasing audiences worldwide and in the United States, "Casino Royale" is set to give "Die Another Day" a run for its money thanks to good word-of-mouth. With kids back in school, the Sony adventure film has taken over the number one spot during the mid-week period. "Casino" could drop by 50% this weekend to around $15M which would push the domestic cume to $116M. Look for the global tally to surpass the $400M mark with ease by the end of the holiday season.

Last weekend, Denzel Washington‘s action thriller "Deja Vu" got off to a good start with a $28.6M five-day bow. Buena Vista may witness a 50% drop and collect roughly $10M over three days and raise its 12-day total to $43M.

LAST YEAR: For the third straight weekend, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" rose to the head of the class and grossed $19.9M to lead the box office. Paramount opened its Charlize Theron actioner "Aeon Flux" to $12.7M on its way to a lukewarm $25.9M. It was the only new wide release of the weekend. "Walk the Line" dropped to third with $9.5M, "Yours, Mine, and Ours" placed fourth with $8.3M, and "Just Friends" rounded out the top five with $5.6M.

Tag Cloud

ITV pirates of the caribbean Neflix RT21 MCU Hallmark spider-man discovery Martial Arts 2021 zero dark thirty Fox Searchlight comics Summer rotten movies we love Best and Worst docuseries Vudu monster movies 94th Oscars 2019 transformers international japanese emmy awards australia Infographic Character Guide RT History Pop Wes Anderson Superheroes Sundance SXSW 2022 FXX ABC Signature art house Mary Poppins Returns politics Masterpiece Film Festival TCA aliens PaleyFest war BBC One Sony Pictures vs. debate Quiz President 2016 spinoff kids Comic-Con@Home 2021 comic book movies Watching Series TNT Netflix ABC comiccon halloween tv Discovery Channel Nat Geo Reality Competition Nickelodeon LGBT Hulu BBC sag awards Spring TV breaking bad Winter TV Amazon Prime Video know your critic leaderboard italian kaiju james bond SXSW Avengers Women's History Month El Rey Biopics japan nfl supernatural A24 Alien blaxploitation Peacock game of thrones Rocketman Sundance Now E! crime drama Awards award winner king kong laika olympics travel twilight Nominations IMDb TV scary all-time Broadway animated Pet Sematary History IFC Films TV One Paramount Network The Walking Dead TV festivals Disney Plus Cartoon Network venice Oscars documentary Lifetime Universal Pictures Arrowverse hist Superheroe Trailer Family best movies mcc Horror The Arrangement 99% Comedy Central screen actors guild space harry potter a nightmare on elm street young adult 2017 diversity movie Calendar richard e. Grant MSNBC wonder woman Song of Ice and Fire children's TV Star Wars Musical canceled Anna Paquin worst movies TV movies Disney Channel historical drama jurassic park Opinion sitcom rt archives doctor who batman Television Critics Association social media spider-verse green book Focus Features singing competition game show GoT Best Picture cartoon Extras Instagram Live indiana jones psycho Tarantino Video Games X-Men zombie Disney+ Disney Plus dragons Marvel Studios lord of the rings BET Musicals period drama sequel independent Oscar Box Office HFPA AMC ID live event Crunchyroll mission: impossible Stephen King Dark Horse Comics The Purge psychological thriller First Look child's play king arthur San Diego Comic-Con Rock stop motion broadcast Interview facebook PBS stoner dark Hallmark Christmas movies television Animation women biography NBC ABC Family The Witch serial killer disaster NBA 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Lucasfilm mutant New York Comic Con VH1 TCA Awards new york talk show 007 FOX indie Mystery CBS Mary Tyler Moore 73rd Emmy Awards binge Travel Channel 24 frames Country Shudder police drama boxoffice CW Seed thriller heist movie hidden camera Film Cannes Television Academy Comic Book Epix Funimation asian-american Disney 2020 Fargo renewed TV shows true crime documentaries political drama sopranos cancelled TV series obi wan Chilling Adventures of Sabrina composers universal monsters Election cops royal family Esquire blockbuster 72 Emmy Awards Pixar SundanceTV saw Year in Review TCA 2017 obituary chucky slasher finale DC streaming service MGM First Reviews Binge Guide news Starz DC Comics summer TV Freeform IFC cats toy story VICE comic comedies cancelled television werewolf The CW Syfy spanish LGBTQ YA Sundance TV Action Hear Us Out Christmas Tags: Comedy VOD Fox News TLC name the review Best Director book nature comic books black comedy Spike Logo gangster hispanic heritage month Pacific Islander Set visit TBS nbcuniversal Elton John book adaptation what to watch remakes Grammys biopic unscripted DGA godzilla Teen strong female leads crossover Polls and Games docudrama franchise DC Universe free movies FX on Hulu cinemax 45 Paramount Marvel Image Comics rom-coms marvel cinematic universe HBO Max 1990s Sneak Peek dreamworks ghosts Fantasy Marvel Television latino vampires telelvision dogs crime thriller series Photos ViacomCBS TV renewals hollywood rt labs critics edition marvel comics legend jamie lee curtis spain live action Exclusive Video Black Mirror American Society of Cinematographers new star wars movies witnail Spectrum Originals Emmys hispanic Creative Arts Emmys technology razzies archives Valentine's Day Toys Hollywood Foreign Press Association Awards Tour comic book movie Columbia Pictures Mudbound romance 93rd Oscars Pirates south america high school TCM scary movies Apple TV+ Crackle science fiction Ovation Prime Video suspense Cosplay Black History Month trophy deadpool anime Turner Classic Movies quibi screenings Best Actor Rom-Com video Lifetime Christmas movies Ellie Kemper worst based on movie theme song teaser robots summer TV preview anthology Pride Month AMC Plus E3 Trophy Talk CBS All Access Kids & Family streaming movies critics Brie Larson 71st Emmy Awards satire Writers Guild of America YouTube Premium Pop TV canceled TV shows justice league National Geographic criterion 4/20 tv talk Rocky South by Southwest Film Festival TCA Winter 2020 HBO dc reboot zombies Walt Disney Pictures Fall TV popular Amazon sequels Super Bowl The Academy Apple TV Plus versus Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt medical drama superhero BET Awards posters SDCC rotten PlayStation GLAAD Tokyo Olympics Paramount Pictures cooking Academy Awards Captain marvel BBC America Tomatazos Tubi Comics on TV ratings 90s Star Trek CNN Mindy Kaling Drama natural history adaptation dramedy summer preview black target Tumblr Food Network directors adventure scorecard aapi Disney streaming service 79th Golden Globes Awards OWN french crime BAFTA Western ESPN rt labs 20th Century Fox MTV elevated horror scene in color Chernobyl Bravo Turner sports die hard trailers slashers Warner Bros. superman kong parents Countdown The Walt Disney Company fresh Amazon Studios streamig video on demand blockbusters Netflix Christmas movies cancelled Comedy Reality Mary poppins GIFs action-comedy cancelled TV shows Lionsgate football TV Land revenge cars concert Baby Yoda films Best Actress dceu halloween cults See It Skip It prank WGN reviews TIFF OneApp Amazon Prime genre Ghostbusters feel good joker casting toronto Universal YouTube CMT Holiday Heroines basketball dexter mockumentary Classic Film Legendary Music Endgame Thanksgiving mob FX Marathons golden globe awards classics WarnerMedia NYCC Holidays boxing festival new zealand 2018 USA DirecTV Red Carpet spy thriller adenture Certified Fresh Sci-Fi Britbox stand-up comedy Paramount Plus streaming Adult Swim Acorn TV Schedule foreign 21st Century Fox YouTube Red Shondaland Apple A&E Trivia spanish language APB critic resources christmas movies golden globes 2015 Emmy Nominations miniseries Podcast USA Network HBO Go Winners romantic comedy TruTV fast and furious Showtime Premiere Dates