Box office report: 'Narnia' underperforms but finishes first with $24.5 mil

Voyage-of-the-Dawn-TreaderImage Credit: Phil BrayWell, that didn’t go as planned. Two high-profile films, the 3-D fantasy epic The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the romantic thriller The Tourist, registered inauspicious openings as the overall box office trailed last year for the fifth weekend in a row. Fox’s Dawn Treader, the third film in the franchise based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved children’s novels, led the frame with $24.5 million, according to studio estimates. That’s a disappointing opening for a series whose first two entries, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, debuted to $65.6 million and $55 million, respectively. Dawn Treader‘s opening gross puts it in a league that includes such other fantasy clunkers as Eragon and The Golden Compass.

While box-office prognosticators were predicting a decline from prior Narnia movies, no one foresaw Dawn Treader stumbling this much. It’s hard to decipher what went wrong. According to a rep for a rival studio, Fox’s marketing sold the $140 million movie as more of the same, instead of as a fresh take on the Narnia universe. But the film’s outlook may not be as dreary as it initially seems. For one thing, Dawn Treader scored an encouraging “A-” from CinemaScore audiences. And with the approaching holiday season, Fox is quick to point out that the film is positioned for a marathon — not a sprint. “Its best days are ahead of us,” says a studio rep.

The Tourist arrived via a Venetian gondola instead of a speeding water taxi. Despite the star presence of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, this remake of the 2005 French movie Anthony Zimmer opened to a modest $17 million. With a budget north of $100 million, Sony now must hope the PG-13 thriller performs significantly better overseas. In third place, Disney’s animated musical Tangled slipped only 33 percent for $14.6 million, bringing its domestic total to $115.6 million. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 didn’t hold up as well, dropping 50 percent for $8.5 million. The PG-13 fantasy film has grossed a potent $257.7 million to date, although it trails all other Potter entries in estimated attendance. And the Denzel Washington runaway-train thriller Unstoppable dipped 37 percent for $3.8 million.

While many of the major Hollywood films were floundering, the indie scene thrived this weekend. Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan expanded to 90 theaters and leaped to sixth place with $3.3 million, for an astounding per-theater average of $37,000. The psychological thriller, starring Natalie Portman as the sanest ballerina you’ve ever met, will expand to at least 800 theaters next weekend. And the boxing drama The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, slugged $320,000 from four theaters — that’s an $80,000 per-theater average. Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, however, stirred as much interest in the moviegoing public as the Shakespearean play commonly stirs in ninth-graders. It took in just $45,000 from five theaters.

Check back next weekend as three new films — TRON: Legacy, How Do You Know, and Best Picture-contender Yogi Bear — open nationwide for your consideration.

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader — $24.5 mil
2. The Tourist — $17 mil
3. Tangled — $14.6 mil
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 — $8.5 mil
5. Unstoppable — $3.8 mil
6. Black Swan — $3.3 mil

Comments (151 total) Add your comment
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  • Lisa

    Just got back today from seeing Narnia a second time. I’m telling you, don’t listen to the people who call themselves critics. It has a 80+% from viewers on RT, so take critics reviews as a grain of salt. It’s a fantastic movie for all ages and I highly suggest you go drop what you’re doing right now and go see it. Prince Caspian is still my favorite, but don’t let someone else make decisions for you. Go see Narnia now and help its opening weekend!

    • Huh?

      I’m confused… You’re saying don’t let someone else make decisions for me, yet you’re telling me what I should do this weekend… As far as I’m concerned, you’re “someone else”, no?

      • ej


      • Lisa

        I thought I wrote this out clearly enough but I’m talking about a REVIEWER/CRITIC. Which I’m not. I’m an average moviegoer. So what I’m trying to say is don’t always listen to the reviews. You listen to the actual people who go to the movies every week.

      • anakinjmt

        She just said don’t listen to critics. Since she’s not a critic (at least on this site), she’s saying you can listen to her. Quit being a smartass.

      • @lisa

        Yeah and the actual people who go to the movies every week made twilight a popular franchise, so yeah, none of you are smart either.. oh and narnia blows, I felt asleep watching it, that is how boring it was

      • @lisa

        So I guess what I am trying to say is, avoid Narnia, listen to me, an average moviegoer

      • Allex

        But she said “don’t let someone else make decisions for you.”, even though she is telling me to go see Narnia. Why would I let her dissuade me of seeing it if she just said not to ” let someone else make decisions for(you)” me?

      • Hilarious

        She is not a critic but she is criticizing the critics.

      • Bart

        In other words, Lisa sucks.

      • Ted C

        My god people, why do you have to be so rotten. All she’s doing is recommending a movie. Good grief. I saw it, loved it, and I also recommend it.

    • Chris

      I’d rather not take the opinion of the average movie goer. I tend to like movies that the average person tends to hate.

      • Lisa

        Something tells me you wouldn’t like Narnia…but go ahead and prove me wrong Chris! :)

      • rerun

        Is it possible the weather was the reason for the drop in box office?

    • James Quinn

      i just find it amusing. A fantasy movie based on a fantasy story to promote a fantasy god:) Well at least soon there will be a movie out about a manly god THOR!!!

      Pagan jim

      • Duncan

        A war between Jesus and Thor.. who would win? Remember though, one has a powerful hammer and the other one was nailed to a cross :)

      • Lisa

        It’s only spiritual if you make it that way. I’m not religious at ALL and Narnia is my favorite.

      • Troy

        Aye aye aye. What is this world coming to.

      • Ted C

        I feel sorry for people like you. Taking every opportunity to insult people’s faith. How is life for you being filled with so much hate?

    • jack

      And how do I know you’re an “average moviegoer” Lisa? For all I know you work for the studio, or maybe you’re a hermaphrodite midget with a limp, which would make you far from being an average moviegoer. I will need to see some credentials and family history before I take your word and go see the movie. Or, I could take the word of well known film critics, whose work I respect, and avoid the movie like the plague.

      • Jackson

        i see at least 3 movies a week, but i was really busy this week, and i only saw black swan, especially because tourist & narnia dont interest me. it was very good

      • Dany

        I’d go with hermaphrodite midget with a limp.

    • mrswinchester248920

      The Narnia movies have no sex, excessive violence, profanity, suicides, liberal (or conservative) agenda, controversial issues, or anything flat out disgusting. Of course the critics hate it. It’s a family movie that anyone could enjoy whose main goal is to entertain (which is DOES). Why is anyone surprised critics hate it? I support Lisa, the movie is great and who cares what a bunch of people who make careers out of insulting things say. My 11 year old brother can enjoy this movie and so can I (college-age).

    • simon

      finally someone whom appreciates films for what they are, good entertainment and not something to critcise, god bless you

    • Rush

      Looks like the live action Narnia series ends here. Might as well, the first story was the only one filmable.

  • Alice

    I really did like Narnia and thought it was a lot better than Prince Caspian. I hope it picks up speed in the weeks to come because, even though it is unlikely right now, I really would like to see the other books made into films. And good for Tangled, which was a great and touching movie. I’m glad to see fairy tales aren’t dead. I really hope Black Swan’s success means that it will open in my theater soon. I’m dying to see it.

  • dally

    I saw The King’s Speech yesterday. Now that was a great movie. It was funny and moving and, yes, suspenseful, even though you knew how it would end. I highly recommend it.

  • Bella’s golden heart

    Well, guess Twilight is more popular then Jesus

    • Alice

      Well, Twilight outperforming anything, almost, just makes me sad in general.

    • chris

      That statement irritates me!

    • Mephysto

      Also more popular then narnia this year: jackass, resident evil, the karate kid remake and most likely, Yogi Bear

      • chris

        @mephysto: just shows how weird the American public’s taste is… or lack thereof…

      • m1

        Did you see The Karate Kid remake? It was solid.

      • Felix

        @m1 Compared to your average kid’s movie, yeah it was solid. Compared to the original film? Garbage.

  • Andrew

    Yogi Bear, a best picture contndor, that’s good one LOL!

    • Dave

      lol that made me laugh too.

    • Allan

      As funny as Natalie Portman playing the sanest ballerina.

  • Hedwig

    aww poor Narnia. I just didn’t get around to seeing it, but I might go next weekend. And what is up w/ Harry Potter getting less attendance than it’s previous movies?? It’s probably the first or second best in the HP series [of movies]!
    Oh and I’m not sure, but I think you mean $140 MILLION movie, not just $140 in “It’s hard to decipher what went wrong. According to a rep for a rival studio, Fox’s marketing sold the $140 movie as more of the same, instead of as a fresh take on the Narnia universe.”

    • Gil

      Re: Potter

      I know a lot of casual fans who are waiting to see it when the last one comes out.

      Also, people are staying away from the movies in general this do to the holiday season and economy this year… so fans who would normally rewatch it are not doing so.

      Plus the whole movie is a downer, which hurts it when it comes to kids who watch these movies (and aren’t familiar with the source material and it’s dark ending).

      It’ll still do fine in the end.

      • chris

        You are only looking at the American ticket sales…Have you seen the difference in the international box office ranking?
        @gil: I agree, it’ll do fine – It is doing fine! ;-)

      • Shaun

        Exactly… Remember, it’s just Part 1 of the finale. Yes, it’s an excellent film. But it’s also just half a movie, essentially. After everyone saw it the first or second weekend that was enough. Now we wait for the big finale. That’s the one that will get repeat business. I also imagine WB will re-release Part 1 for a brief run right before Part 2 opens.

        It’s not like Harry has anything to worry about. Nearly $260 mil. domestically after just 4 weekends, doing huge numbers overseas too, and considering this is the least accessible of the films (if you haven’t seen the others or read the books), and the least kid-friendly too… “Deathly Hallows” is a looong way from the look and tone of “Sorcerer’s Stone.”

  • Leo

    Best-picture contender “Yogi Bear”? John Young, the movie isn’t getting Oscar buzz, it’s getting Razzie buzz because the Golden Raspberry Awards have been following this film for a few months!

    • Dave

      Wow, someone forgot to turn on their sarcasm meter this morning. It’s a joke, Leo.

      • DW

        And a hilarious joke, at that.

  • Mephysto

    “And with the approaching holiday season, Fox is quick to point out that the film is positioned for a marathon — not a sprint. “Its best days are ahead of us,” says a studio rep.”

    HAHAHAHAHA, blinding optimism, so sad.. Let’s put it this way, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, hell, even CRAPLIGHT never had a problem opening a movie. That’s because those movies connected with audiences. No matter how hard Walden Media tries to force it down people’s throat, Narnia will never be a popular series

    • Kalie

      There’s nothing delusional about that statement. Just because the movie didn’t make a killing opening weekend, that doesn’t mean it won’t end up being successful in the long run. Just the fact that it opened at #1 is a positive sign. I’m really excited about the movie because I was such a huge fan of the books, and I still wasn’t able to watch it this past weekend. A lot of people are very busy right now because of the holiday season and we all know that the economy is really bad right now. I think this is a movie that will make it’s money over time. “The Chronicles of Narnia” already is a very popular series. Did you happen to read how much the other two movies made? They’re based on a hugely popular book series that has endured for decades.

      • Mephysto

        Right, let’s make more excuses and hope that this movie succeeds… there’s a reason why Disney dropped this series, they knew there isn’t any real appeal or profit behind it, so they abandoned it…

  • jon

    I tell you exactly what went wrong here. Both Disney and Fox got it all wrong. You are supposed to call the film ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Waldrobe’ for all these films. That is the classic title. Heck I heard of that name but when you changed it up to this, i was like ‘what the heck is this’.

    • steph

      They’re all called The Chronicles of Narnia. That’s the overarching title for all the books. The rest are individual stories. There’s no reason to call this movie The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe because there is no wardrobe involved in this story…

      • Jamesb3

        Jon has a point, and it is about name recognition. Only the first book’s title has broad name recognition – the series name and the books that followed do not.

      • renee pearman

        Wardrobe doesn’t mean clothing…a wardrobe is a big closet that stands alone as a piece of furniture……what Lucy then her siblings walked into and through to get into Narnia.

      • Dave

        James, I agree about the other entries in the series not having as broad a name recognition as the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But the series name itself? I definitely think the title “Chronicles of Narnia” is recognizable. And Jon’s ultimate point is kind of dumb. To name all of them The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe? That’s ridiculous. That title has nothing to do with the other entries. These films are about Narnia. It would be stupid to not have Narnia in the title.

  • Ed

    Oh well, vaya con Aslan, Narnia.

    We’ll never forget you… um, well you were watchable enough but we did forget you immediately AFTER seeing you.

    But still, fare thee well.

  • Gina Vera

    I saw Nardia it was pretty good but they closed it out like there wouldn’t be a #4. If they keep making them I will keep going. Didn’t have time to see the Tourist next weekend!

    • gcavol

      They closed it out saying that Eustice might come back… and that his friend Jill was there to visit.

      Eustice and Jill are the heroes of the next book

  • a person

    I would have gone and saw Narnia this weekend, but I have to study for finals, as do many of my friends who all wanted to go see it and getting good grades is more important than movies (unless it was a new Harry Potter, of course!)

    • California

      Me too!! It’s finals for us and it’s totally putting a hamper on the movies we want to see (Black Swan is the most buzzed about). When Harry Potter came out, that weekend we had a final for our writing class: paper assigned on the Thursday Harry Potter came out and due that Monday. Everyone still went and saw HP though … the paper just kind of dictated whether you were going to take a study break and go to midnight movie, or save it for Saturday or Sunday!

    • LisaR

      THIS! I’ve been waiting for this movie for months, but I have to get through all my finals before I can justify seeing it! and I’m certainly not alone. This is the busiest week of the year for students.

  • Pete

    Black Swan in only 90 theaters beat Love and Other Drugs which is in over 2,000. Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor Swift is bad luck for men time to move on to Miley Cyrus. Maybe her young fans will stand in line to see you naked. LOL. There is no fool like an old fool.

    • Brianna

      On Dec 22 Black Swan opens wide!!! It will be in my theater, Yes frickin Yes!!! Soooo excited!!! And hey, I have to say Pete, I saw Love and other drugs and it was a very well made movie. I thought it was a classic romance that has a important lesson and story for a lot of people. Very sweet movie.

  • California

    I wouldn’t be surprised if my family goes to see Narnia closer to Christmas (like the 20th or 21st, or 26th or 27th). And by family I mean mom, dad, sister, aunt, uncle, two cousins, and grandma. I’m not overly excited about this Narnia. I think I read or at least saw all of the BBC Narnias when I was a kid, but honestly the only one that ever stuck out was Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Then again I was always uber into Rauld Dahl as a kid so maybe it’s just not my taste. Love the BBC’s L,W,atW, and loved the Disney one. I saw Prince Caspian on cable last year and it was actually pretty good. The one thing I will say about this new one which looks like it has the most random story line ever, and has already confused me from what I remember of Prince Caspian, is that the effects look amazing. Literally my only interest in being dragged to this movie is to see the effect. Otherwise, I’d rather see Black Swan, Harry Potter for the third time, the Tourist though the trailer made it look horrible, or Tangled for the second time. Bring on True Grit!!!

  • Matt

    Why the dig at Yogi Bear?

    • Mephysto

      Because it looks like a shitty movie… just like Garfield and Alvin?

    • Buffy Freak

      I’m guessing because it looks like one of the worst and most unnecessary movies of all time.

    • SC

      Because it’s an abomination unto the Lord.

    • tenoch

      My dump holds more entertainment value then Yogi Bear

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