Written by Sarah

Back in November I wrote this, outlining box office predictions for some of the holiday releases and Lainey has asked me to grade myself on how my predictions went. So how did I do? Well, in my defense, I can barely count and have no sense of proportion. Once again, all the numbers are domestic (North American) totals only and in US dollars.

The arthouse players

Barney’s Version
This actually got pushed back to January 2011.

Guess: $70K opening/$5M gross
Reality: Estimate stands.

Black Swan
“I don’t see an artsy, psychosexual thriller playing in malls across America.” I’m a dumb*ss.

Guess: $175K opening/$20M gross
Reality: $1.4M opening/$47.8M gross

Blue Valentine
I didn’t expect the MPAA to overturn their NC-17 rating, but they did, so my guess really shouldn’t count against the total. Right? Right.

Guess: $40K opening/$150K gross
Reality: $193K opening (in four theaters!)/$291K after only five days in a handful of theaters in LA. This will end up making some money as it expands through January.

Country Strong
Oh man. I was so wrong here. Although Country Strong did only play in Los Angeles and Franklin, Tennessee. It goes national this weekend, so really, it could still meet my projections. But reviews have not been good and I doubt word of mouth will boost it, so I’m probably still wildly wrong.

Guess: $10M opening/$37M gross
Reality: Hahahaha, I really thought that. $30K opening/$119K gross

Frankie and Alice
Halle Berry’s split-personality flick is only in one theater for its Oscar-qualifying run. It goes wide in February. I was way, WAY overgenerous with my estimate.

Guess: $135K opening/$3M gross
Reality: $10K over nineteen days

Rabbit Hole

This movie made me so sad. It made me sad for days. I knew it would make me sad and I saw it anyway and then I was just sadder because I knew I didn’t have to be so sad. Rabbit Hole underperformed for my estimate. I guess no one else wanted to make themselves sad.

Guess: $150K opening/$15M gross
Reality: $53K opening/$435K gross

The major releases

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Well, I said Narnia 3 wouldn’t beat Prince Caspian’s numbers, and it didn’t, and I said Fox would call it a win anyway, and they did. The good news is, steadily decreasing openings may spare us from any more Narnia movies.

Guess: $35M opening/$135M gross
Reality: $24M opening/$86.9M gross

The Fighter
I kind of sort of got this one right! Definitely my best guess yet. The Fighter opened in limited release on December 10 and went wide one week later. I guessed it would open with $12M and it did! Just not on the weekend I thought it would. Once it opened nationally, The Fighter took in my $12M, and it’s on pace to meet, or get close to, my overall total.

Guess: $12M opening/$60M gross
Reality: $300K opening (in its limited weekend)/$46M gross

Gulliver’s Travels

You guys, I’m so nice. Even though I said this would “fight with Yogi Bear for biggest stinker of the 2010 holiday season”, I did think they’d make some money because kids are dumb and they like dumb movies starring Jack Black. That is apparently not true. Well, kids are still dumb but they don’t like Jack Black anymore, unless he’s an animated panda.

Guess: $14M opening/$60M gross
Reality: $6M opening/$27M gross

How Do You Know

Once again, I gave too much credit to a Name. Is Reese in trouble? Do people not like Reese anymore? Or is it just that James L. Brooks has lost his touch and hasn’t made a good movie since 1997’s As Good As It Gets?

Guess: $16M opening/$55M gross
Reality: $7M opening/$25M gross

Little Fockers

I’m actually glad to be wrong about this one because this is a terrible, unfunny movie and while it’s being successful right now, it’s not being as successful as I thought it would be. Someone, somewhere, displayed some common sense and skipped this movie. It will linger in theaters for a while yet, but we’ve entered the winter doldrums when no one goes to the movies so it won’t crack $200M.

Guess: $47M opening/$230M gross
Reality: $30.8M opening/$102.5M gross

The Tourist
I don’t usually support the paying for bad movies, but I was a little sad to see that the Movie Star (two of them, really) couldn’t propel this movie to some better financials. I really thought the combination of Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and sexy locales would be enough to garner $100M domestic but it wasn’t. Those days are over, I suppose. The Tourist has cracked $100M worldwide, though, thanks to slightly better foreign box office.

Guess: $30M opening/$102M gross
Reality: $16M opening/$54.6M gross

TRON: Legacy

Not that anyone expected this to be Shakespeare, but TRON turned out way worse (and racist?) than I thought it would. Once reviews started rolling out, tracking plummeted. I corrected my original prediction a few weeks later when I posted my final movie preview for the fall/winter of 2010, downgrading TRON to a $40M opening, which put me a lot closer to what actually happened.

Guess: $60M opening/$250M gross
Reality: $44M opening/$131M gross

True Grit
I wasn’t close on the numbers, but I made a couple claims about True Grit that worked out in my favor. 1) I said for ages that once True Grit rolled out it would mess up the Oscar race, and it has. 2) I said it would be the Coen Brothers’ biggest opening and at least match their previous highest-grossing film, No Country for Old Men. It is their biggest opening yet and it has surpassed No Country as their highest grossing to date. So I was right in spirit.

Guess: $15M opening/$74M gross
Reality: $24.8M opening/$86.6M gross

Pedobear Yogi Bear: The Movie

Slightly more people saw this than I counted on. While a disappointment,Yogi  didn’t bomb as hard as I thought it would. Which just proves that good taste is still dead. But I was in the ballpark with this one.

Guess: $12M opening/$58M gross
Reality: $16M opening/$65.7M gross

Overall grade


I should stick to qualitative statements, not quantifiable numbers.