ACC_2009_Sep25_1325FF ACC_2009_Sep25_1325FF
Feature Film

Box Office Report

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol pulled in $30 million last weekend, falling short of industry expectations, which had ranged from $35 to $40 million. According to Box Office Mojo, the film sold fewer tickets than other recent holiday-themed films like Elf, The Santa Clause 2 and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Seventy-four percent of the film’s gross came from 3D presentations, and it was the best opening weekend of Zemeckis’s career. The opening was nearly identical to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, though that film opened in 500 fewer theaters in a slower box office period and had no megastar anchor like Carrey.

Speaking of Cloudy, while no longer in the top ten, but it added another $1.3M over the weekend for a total of $121 million. It has surpassed Disney’s Bolt at the domestic box office, and will end up grossing in the range of Bee Movie and Robots. It’s Sony’s first animated feature to cross the $100M mark.

Meanwhile, Astro Boy is officially a bomb. After three weeks, the film’s cume stands at a measly $15.1 million. Its final gross should be somewhere in the low-to-mid twenties, putting it alongside Titan A.E. and The Iron Giant, and far below last year’s Space Chimps, which took in $30.1M.

  • Ricardo

    “and it was the best opening weekend of Zemeckis’s career.”

    Yeah that wouldn’t be surprising but this definetly won’t be his biggest grosser.

  • You know, looking at his list of movies, I have to say that I really do like most of his movies, it’s just this latest spree of fake CG people movies that’s really turned me off to his work.

  • Jason

    Shame about Astro Boy. It was better than Bolt OR Cloudy, and I loved those movies. Whoever at Summit put together the ad campaign and decided to premiere the film in October should be fired; an early spring release would probably have been a better choice. Anyway, what a bummer. Astro follows in the same sorry footsteps as another misunderstood robot, The Iron Giant. I feel bad for the animators and writers of AB. They did some damn good work.

  • Motion Capture is sorta like those bad Internet ads. You know, “Make youself a cartoon character!!”, only here it applies to Hollywood actors.

  • Geoff. W.

    Much to the chagrin of, I think, many here, I took the fam to see Christmas Carol on the weekend. Wife and I found it dull; the kids (2 1/2 yr old twins) were mostly terrified.
    Bad choice for many reasons. Shoulda went to see Astro Boy

  • Mike

    The still says it all. What is he looking at, her eyes? No! His jealous gaze is upon her normal chin! If this was RZ’s version of Little House’s Mary Ingals and her hubby than I’d say well done.

  • Marc Baker

    Well, what did you expect from ‘The Twilight Studio’? They’re so giddy over hyping this crappy excuse for a ‘pop culture phenomenon’, and shoving it down our throats that they have no idea how to promote an animated feature.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Amid in that still they look like zombies. But I’d rather see Zombieland.

  • Bob! Humbug!

  • Keith Paynter

    Jim Hill makes an excellent point. Carrey’s “Grinch” was a perfectly awful film, but it now shows up in bulk on store shelves for two months every year and provides post-box-office-bomb revenue like the insideous Martiah Carey or Kenny G Christmas albums! Even “Jack Frost” and “Santa Claus: The Movie” have been redeemed by the passage of time. Don’t get me started on “A Christmas Story” (dud then, iconic holiday ‘classic’ now)…

  • Cyber Fox

    Man, you people are so mean spirited!

    I saw the film two days ago in 3-D and it was incredible despite the cries of “Zombies” from some critics, basically the most frightening/creepiest adaptation of the story yet, In fact Zemeckis made this film very faithful to the original despite some loose ends (i.e. the long chase scene between The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come [on horse carriage] and Scrooge)

    It’s quite reasonable to say is that you should NEVER do your decisions of movie going based of opinions of critics or how well it did in the box office or if it won an oscar (but i mentioned the downside of critics and the oscars already on the last post related to this film on this blog) but by your opinion via a trailer or a tv ad or two, If the film looks good to you… Go See It but If it isn’t… Don’t Go, That’s It!

    Baseing your opinions on your film viewing on if it won an Oscar, or if it’s critically acclaimed or how well it did in the box office is the most closed minded not to mention bias thing to do, that’s how the film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” got it’s bad reputation it has today where in reality the film basically cinema fluff that you don’t need to take seriously to enjoy (i.e. the “Oh, God!” series of films)

    anyway about the film, I already mentined my experiece with the film
    It’s not as horrible as Jerry Beck nor the critics wants ya to believe, It’s an enjoyable, charming and fun film to see whether in 2D or in Disney Digital 3-D… i say Go See It, Make it pwn the film “2012” because the last thing we need is paranoid people during the christmas season

  • I didn’t even notice Astro Boy’s promotions. Marketing needs to pay more attention to people who don’t have cable, yet love the internet in it’s stead. The Christmas Carol was featured on my favorite news sites, but Astro Boy was not.

  • BT

    Not that it really matters to me, but I’m sure A Christmas Carol will make a ton of money in the end. Unlike most movies it will die down for a while but pick up after Thanksgiving and until Christmas. And I’m sure they’ll re-release it for years – they did it a few times with Polar Express and this one will be easier because they can project it digitally (they’re still doing Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D every year).

  • Well in a way I’m glad but I had to note that I still kinda like Polar Express. Even though it’s still freaky motion capture, there is something a more heart warming about it then I get from this movie…What I get from this movie is like watching a in game cut scene from video games like Oblivion – The Elder Scrolls. Those awkward moments where ‘animators’ pose the character for each new line they have to say and assume that when the character is talking they have to move as such. Their faces are poorly colored and stretched across their head like a latex mask.

    I’ve said this with a lot of Jim Carrey films, he’s not a bad actor, he’s just working with directors who don’t know how to use his abilities. I’ve been a bad fan cause I havn’t seen too many of his more recent non kid movies, but a Series of Unfortunate Events might be his best performance directed for children. I was upset when I saw he was playing Count Olaf because the character is far more evil and wicked in the books but the movie was made to show how pretentious the character as bad actor. Jim saw that and used it to make fun of himself, and all three characters he plays are really hilarious.

    Though people like Zemeckis and Ron Howard are using him because he’s a “funny and WACKY guy”. Like these are bad movie concepts outside the fact you just hired Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, or Mike Myers to play the leading role. I don’t know if it’s in their contract to always be a leading character of the movie but I would like to see these guys as supporting roles (The Cable Guy doesn’t seem as bad of a movie nowadays). How can we blame the actor when the directors are far more eccentric.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Although A Christmas Carol has done poorly at the box office it is still
    a fine movie. Here’s hoping The Princess & The Frog will be a hit. I love CG animated movies,but I would love to see 2-D make a comeback.

  • Scott

    I’ve seen the film (or should say “suffered through” the film).

    I am not a hater of stereoscopic films, nor am I hater of “performance capture.”

    But I am a paying audience member (although I saw this for free at a preview!). And I like being respected. This film does not do that.

    There are fun uses for stereoscopic films. Mostly in short form, or theme park attractions. Even educational uses. Sadly, what even the BEST stereoscopic films suffer from is a 30% dimness in image in order to achieve the desired effect. This means eye strain, which means headaches after extended viewing. I’ve not yet seen a stereoscopic film that utilized the effect for STORYTELLING purposes. And this film doesn’t attempt to do so either.

    Used creativly, motion capture can be very useful. Gollum comes to mind. And while the Peter Jackson King Kong film wasn’t great, it’s use of this was terrific.

    But film is all about character and emotion. Good visuals are icing on the cake. This film has none of these things, nor does it have visual clarity. And that’s BEFORE putting the dimming stereoscopic glasses on. From a story point of view, it’s strictly a pageant–a rote telling of the Dickens story filmed a thousand times, and a thousand times better. The actors might have supplied performances worth seeing, but the director, Robert Zemeckis, denies us, the audience, from seeing them. I miss seeing Bob Hoskins in films. He’s a terrific actor, even if you include the horrible Zemeckis atrocity, Roger Rabbit (he’s the most animated thing in the entire film!). But at least we got to SEE him.

    The performance capture is still zombie like. And since the film reportedly cost almost $300 million, one wonders why it wasn’t done with live action and makeup. It would have looked better, been cheaper, and not robbed the audience of the performances of the actors. What was Disney and Zemeckis THINKING?

    The actors are smothered in some of the ugliest “designs (and I use this term loosely)” ever put on film. It’s like a maudlin Thomas Kinkaide painting by a monkey on a bad acid trip. It is UGLY, and often gets in the way of visual clarity. The characters are so over rendered, with no discrimination or taste. The environments fare a little better–if only because they’re more simply displayed. But I was never once convinced these characters inhabited this environment–it’s 2 different films.
    Frankly, the film is s repulsive to look at, it’s almost impossible to get into the thinnest of paper thin versions of the story attempted on film.

    The whiz-bang of the stereoscopic effects also hinder any emotional involvement with the story or characters, and never add anything to it.

    I’m not one for shielding children from scary elements in films, if it’s appropriate to the story. But the frights in this film are unwarrented, and will no doubt, seriously affect box office. Parents be warned–this is not a family film. I don’t have a problem with that–but it’s not what it’s being marketed as.

    I am of the mind, however, that what will scare children and adults alike most is how appallingly bad and ugly this film really is. THAT’S what should scare them. It sure scared me.

  • Cyber Fox:

    How is it there’s always one person in a discussion that takes the time to type out a missive essentially stating that no one should express their opinions? ‘Stop being so mean-spirited! If you want to see it, see it, and if you don’t, don’t! Otherwise just stop being so judgmental!’

    Look, I agree with not outright slamming a film based on its teaser or posters, but I’ve seen more than enough footage from ‘ACC’ to know it’s ugly and hopelessly pandering to kids who love roller coasters. And believe it or not, I do take reviews seriously, at least those written by critics I respect. And their opinion is that I shouldn’t bother, so I’ll be staying at home, thanks.

    Despite this, if I want to discuss the film’s box-office take and what that means for the industry, I’m allowed, thanks. And if I wanna make a snarky jab at the film’s awful, flesh-melting design, I shall! Stop telling everyone to hold back their ‘mean’ thoughts while throwing out your own two cents.

  • Gobo

    I’m certain that CAROL will do well going into the holiday season; frankly it’s far too early for many people to go see a Victorian Christmas film. Theatres will be packed for this throughout December.

    If anything, one of its biggest failures is its godawful marketing. Instead of selling its potential charm, richness, and Christmassy-ness, the ads and posters decided to sell the film as a crazy crotch-smacking thrill ride. Big mistake.

  • Phil

    Hopefully this will hinder any CG Roger Rabbit.
    Though I’m sure the movie will continue to rake in money towards Christmas. Still seems weird to me that they’re release a big budget Holiday film now.

    About Astroboy. I have not seen ANY marketing of this movie at all. Not one commercial, not one poster.
    If it wasn’t for Cartoon Brew, I wouldn’t have even known the movie existed.

  • Scott

    “I’m certain that CAROL will do well going into the holiday season”

    No. Virtually ALL 3D theaters are booked with Avatar early December. That’s why Disney moved up the release date. If it doesn’t make bank the day after Thanksgiving, it’s thankfully a goner. And deservedly so–it’s dreadful.

  • Dear Hollywood,


    That is all.

  • Ricardo

    I don’t know why people keep saying it’s too early for a Christmas movie. This is exact time when they release them. After Halloween is over, everyone in the entertainment industry is thinking Christmas.

  • The sad thing is in the old days even crappy Disney love action films at least were an excuse for what were often superior comic strip adaptations that appeared in Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales.

    Of course we now have no Disney comics strips. I am still trying to run down when the Mickey and Donald strips closed up. I know they evidently ended in the 90s but have had no luck pinning down what the final strips were dated.

  • I of course meant crappy Disney live action films.

    BTW I agree with “Wade Sampson” I think Hyperion is missing a sure think by not doing books reprinting some of the Treasury adaptations. Heck much like the excellent Alan Dean Foster novelization of The Black Hole I am told the comic strip version drawn by Jack Kirby is superior to the film. And a book of the annual Disney Christmas strip seems a natural also.

  • God in heaven! I just can’t fight it any more! A Christmas Carol does look simply ghastly. I tried to see the charm in it and did put up a valiant effort I think. But it’s just a total mess. And those faces look like demons from hell.

  • Scott

    DAMN! I wanna see some Disney “love action” films. Helen Hayes in “One of my Garter Belts is Missing!” or Elliot Gould in “The Last Sight of Lola’s Fart.” Or how about “Charlene, the Lonesome Cougar?”

  • First, Scott I grew up in the 70s and I wish any of the movies Disney did in that era was as funny as your post riffing on my “love action” typo.

    Don’t know why but my comments asking Hyperion to reprint the Disney X-Mas comic strip “specials” and some of the Treasury adaptations got clipped. Maybe the long link address is at fault?

  • David Breneman

    I’m hoping to see the film this weekend. As someone who has been an active stereographer since high school (and Gerald Ford was president when I first got my hands on a 1950s Kodak Stereo Camera that had been donated to the school) I’m painfully aware of how stereo can be used as a gimmick rather than as an artistic element. I also think I’m in a better position than most to tell whether stereo is being properly utilized, since most people think “3D” is just stuff flying out of the screen. I’m going to be trying to go in with an open mind.

  • Adam

    In my opinion, motion capture is digital rotoscoping. I could never understand why people would make a movie that was completely rotoscoped. I find rotoscoping is useful as a tool to improve animation or add realism, like in “Snow White”.

    “I was upset when I saw he was playing Count Olaf because the character is far more evil and wicked in the books”
    My mom has always said that Christopher Lloyd should have been Count Olaf and after seeing his performance as Judge Doom in “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit” I fully agree. Carrey wasn’t a bad Count Olaf, but he made the character humorously over-dramatic in my opinion.

  • Ricardo

    I am still kind of freaked out by Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom. And what makes his preformance even more disturbing is you really never know what he is. Definetly ranks up there with the best of Boris Karloff or Christopher Lee.

  • Scott

    Too bad Judge Doom didn’t make any sense in a film that didn’t make any sense. It was almost as ugly to look at as Christmas Carol, with equally tasteless animation.

    “I also think I’m in a better position than most to tell whether stereo is being properly utilized…”

    Good one.

  • So if Astro Boy is a “bomb,” what does that make Ponyo? I think it’s extremely difficult for an animated movie to get anywhere in America unless it’s a widely known property. Foreign movies, and unconventional movies, are not going to be big draws. They will find success on the Long Tail DVD/BD market.

    I also think it’s a bit premature to pronounce A Christmas Carol a failure. I suspect a certain wishful hoping that this movie fails. I have to say, from my own point-of-view, that it’s too damn early to be hit with the Christmas shopping season already. Disney should have released this movie after Thanksgiving, at least.

    Fortunately, because of its famous name and its seasonal nature, this movie will become a holiday classic. Let’s see how it’s doing in four or five years. Then we will be able to properly judge its success.

    I have been discouraged by the mixed reviews A Christmas Carol has received, but Roger Ebert’s 4-star review has turned me around. Win, lose or draw, I’m definitely interested in seeing this movie. We’ll see if I can afford it. Does Hollywood know there’s a severe recession going on out here? We don’t have money burning in our pockets.