Holidays bring much-needed cheer to Hollywood

December 29, 2008

Christmas was good to Hollywood.

The top holiday movie, “Marley & Me,” sold an estimated $37 million worth of tickets during the traditional three-day weekend beginning on Friday, and overall Christmas Day sales reached $75 million, up about $10 million from last year.

While that’s good news, particularly during the downturn, it won’t be nearly enough to salvage an otherwise rough year in the movie business, as Reuters points out.

Still, Hollywood is on course for a down year. With three days left, year-to-date sales are off about 1 percent at $9.5 billion, while the number of tickets sold has slid 5.2 percent, Media By Numbers said.

“Bedtime Stories” was No. 2 for the weekend with $28.1 million and its Christmas Day haul of $10.5 million drove its total to $38.6 million, said Walt Disney Pictures. Sandler plays a man whose bedtime stories come true in real life.

“Benjamin Button,” in which Pitt’s character ages backward, did better on Christmas Day with a $12 million opening. Its weekend tally of $27 million took its total to $39 million, said Paramount Pictures.

The adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story has racked up five nominations from the Golden Globes and eight from the Critics Choice Awards. Women accounted for 60 percent of the audience and 70 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25, Paramount said.

Tom Cruise’s fact-based thriller “Valkyrie,” about a failed plot to kill Adolf Hitler, opened at No. 4 with $21.5 million for the weekend and $30 million for the four days — much better than skeptics had predicted. The United Artists movie has been plagued by bad publicity and shifting release dates.

“We had obstacles to overcome,” said Erik Lomis, head of worldwide distribution at the studio’s closely held Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer parent. “But the movie speaks for itself.”

Keep an eye on:

  • A top advertising researcher says U.S. ad spending actually fell in full-year 2007, with bigger drops seen in 2008 and expected in 2009. If true, it would mark the first three-year decline since the Great Depression (AdAge)
  • The premiere episode of HBO’s offbeat comedy “Flight of the Conchords” has drawn 250,000 streams in its first 10 days on FunnyOrDie (The Hollywood Reporter)
  • Stuart Elliott, of the New York Times, recaps the best and worst of advertising for 2008 (NYTimes)

(Photo: Reuters)

2 comments

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Saw Valkyrie- not as impressed as I wanted to be. Mainly because Tom Cruise, but anyways, didn’t take away from being able to have a Merry Christmas

Posted by Erin | Report as abusive

hollywood seems to loose site of the fact that they are in the entertainment industry, subscribers normally go to a good uplifting movie which seems to be endorsed by ticket sales.but hollywood never seems to get the message that there is a segment of the public that do not share their lifestyle or their perception on social issues and objects to their interference.also the celebrity lifestyle is not appealing to many of the normal mundane ordinary folk.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive