Box Office Roundup: ‘Last Airbender’ debuts with $16 million

By Scott Mendelson

HollywoodNews.com: The Last Airbender parlayed its devout fanbase, the marquee value of M. Night Shyamalan, and a pretty solid marketing campaign into a $16 million-grossing opening day, which includes $3 million in midnight showings. That’s the fifth-biggest opening Thursday of all time, and the fifteenth-biggest Thursday on record. Yes, the 3-D ticket prices helped a bit, but if the product doesn’t entice audiences, it won’t matter how much the tickets cost. Of course, it’s no secret that the film is abysmal, so it’s a little disheartening to see M. Night Shyamalan rewarded with such a massive opening day (only Signs and The Village opened better, with $20 million on their respective opening days). Where it goes from here is anybody’s guess.

The worst five-day weekend multipliers on record are for the last two Harry Potter films. Half-Blood Prince opened to $58 million and ended the five-day sprint with $159 million (2.74x), while Order of the Pheonix opened with $44 million and ended its five-day weekend with $139 million (3.15x). Those two multipliers are certainly possible, with poor word of mouth canceling out the smaller opening day (the higher the opening day, in general, the lower the multiplier). Respective multipliers would give the picture $44 million or $50 million. Something more akin to the five day take of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (3.22x) or The Matrix Revolutions (3.4x) would give the picture a five-day take of $51 million or $55 million. On the other hand, the prior five-day opening weekends that started on Thursday are Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (6x), Terminator: Salvation (5x), and Sex and the City 2 (3.6x) Such respective multipliers would give The Last Airbender five-day totals of $96 million, $75 million, and $57 million.

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To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos.

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