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Box Office Wizard (12.24.10)

Ho ho ho! Who's got a big white beard and does magical things this weekend? No, not Santa, the Box Office Wizard. And it could be you! All you have to do is predict which five movies will place in the top five of this weekend's U.S. domestic box office. It’s that easy. I will make my own predictions here and explain them to you each week to give you some sort of reference point. It's then your job to enter a comment with your top five. 

This is Week #33. With the end of the year approaching, we will begin Box Office Wizard anew starting the first full weekend in January, so you could wait to get started, or use this as a test run. The first week you predict is the first week you enter the Box Office Wizard competition. For every correct prediction each week, you earn a point. Points are cumulative. The game lasts all calendar year and then we will reset to zero. Each week there will be as many as two winners: a weekend wizard for the users who guessed the most correct and a box office wizard for the user with the most points to date. The goal is to be Box Office Wizard and predict the most correct week-to-week and to date. 


Last Week's Top Five

1.Tron: Legacy – $44 M (weekend) … $44 M (gross)
2.Yogi Bear – $16.4 M … $16.4 M
3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – $12.3 M … $42.7 M
4. The Fighter – $12.1 M … $12.5 M
5. Tangled – $8.7 M  … $127.9 M

Week #32 Wizard(s): Everyone - 2 pts
Current Box Office Wizard(s): SimonSays - 92 Pts 

Although we all ended up with two points, many of us had The Fighter and "Narnia" paired together, just in the wrong order, and the two finished just thousands of dollars apart. No one had Tangled staying in the top five and many had the major flop of How Do You Know in the mix, when it came in eight place this weekend.

SimonSays - 92
Steven C - 91
TheGamerGeek - 74
Sallas - 73
Kieran - 44
Max A – 26
Olly H - 14
Dustin C - 12
Dementious - 6 
Joseph – 6
OracleofGame - 6
Dinah – 5
HSXGirl - 4
Harmonica - 3
Matthew D – 3
Julian – 2
Lydia – 2

Remember, only submissions in the comment section count and they must be made by 12:00 PM SATURDAY. Check our weekly recap posting late afternoon every Monday for the box office figures of the weekend. Remember, we count the WEEKEND ACTUALS, not the ESTIMATES announced on Sundays. On 4- or 5-day weekends, only the 3-day total matters.

Here are this week's new contenders followed by my predictions.

New Contenders this Weekend

Little Fockers
Directed by Paul Weitz
Written by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey, Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke (characters)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner Justin Timberlake
Genre: Comedy
Distributor: Universal
Release: 3,536

True Grit
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Written by Joel and Ethan Coen, Charles Portis (novel)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin 
Genre: Western

Distributor: Paramount
Release: 3,047

Gulliver's Travels (Sat.)
Directed by Rob Letterman
Written by Rob Letterman and Nicholas Stoller, Jonathan Swift (novel)
Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet
Genre: Family/Comedy

Distributor: Fox
Release: 2,546

The King's Spech
 (exp. Saturday)

Directed by Tom Hooper
Written by David Seidler
Starring: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Timothy Spall
Genre: Period Drama

Distributor: The Weinstein Co.
Release: 700

My Top Five Predictions 

Meet the Fockers
made $46 million this time back in 2004, which would be optimistic for Little Fockers, but it will do well. $30 million or so seems more likely for the three-day take (remember we predict five-day totals). It’s got the widest appeal of all the Christmas releases and considering what little else has been offered in this genre, it’s poised to succeed. It debuted Wednesday in first with a couple million over my next prediction.

Little change occurs (and sometimes even improvement) from the films the weekend before during Christmas. I suspect Tron: Legacy will see small losses as it’s the only “blockbuster” out there, but did not receive rave reviews. I think $25 – $30 million would be a great second weekend for the film and numbers that are reachable.

We’ve never had a wide-release Christmas Western, at least not in recent memory, so True Grit is hard to gauge. I want to be optimistic, so I think $15-20 million is the safe zone. Seeing as few films fall far, I’m even optimistic for last week's second-place finisher Yogi Bear. I think the film will pull in $12-15 million.

Number five this week is a total crapshoot. "Narnia" and The Fighter both finished with $12 million last week. I give the latter a better shot at staying up near those numbers (it could add theaters) as most early December blockbuster attempts such as "Narnia" fall further than most on Christmas weekend. Black Swan expands even more this weekend, so it has a good shot at breaking $10 million. Then there's a Saturday newcomer in the form of Gulliver's Travels. That means it doesn't make any money on Friday and must compete using novelty on Sat. and Sun. The last time we had a film release on Christmas Saturday was Fat Albert, which made $10 million, so that film's not out of the hunt either.

On my personal blog, I went with Gulliver's Travels, but to change things up, I'll choose The Fighter. Like I said, crapshoot, my friends.

1. Little Fockers
2. Tron: Legacy
3. True Grit
4. Yogi Bear
5. The Fighter

Since Simon will be celebrating with his grandparents this Christmas, that means no Internet. He sent me his prediction, which I will provide here for your consideration.

1. Little Fockers
2. Tron: Legacy
3. True Grit
4. Gulliver's Travels
5. Yogi Bear



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