Steve’s Box Office Report: November 2006
Top 10 Films for the Month of November:
- Happy Feet – $198,000,317
- Casino Royale – $167,445,960
- Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – $128,505,958
- The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – $84,500,122
- Flushed Away – $64,665,672
- Déjà Vu – $64,038,616
- The Queen – $56,411,711
- Stranger than Fiction – $40,660,952
- Deck the Halls – $35,093,569
- Babel – $34,302,837
- Bobby – $11,242,801
- The Fountain – $10,144,010
- Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny – $8,334,575
November Winners: Happy Feet, Borat, The Santa Clause 3, and the Queen
So after a pretty hot summer of 2006 that led into a very dismal fall season, the box office picks right back up here with November. Other than the month of March and the entire season of summer, this month and the next month sees the final blockbusters of the year released just in time for the holiday season. This time of year usually sees the most business due to the holidays even with people spending money elsewhere, and the month of November for 2006 sees some films succeed pretty well. The first film on the list that is a winner of the month is the animated film Happy Feet, a film about a penguin who loves to dance despite the rest of his flock preferring to sing. November sees at least one animated film released either at the beginning of the month or the weekend before Thanksgiving, and after several months of underwhelming animated films being released Happy Feet finally bucks the trend and joins Cars and Ice Age 2 as the highest grossing animated films of the year. Speaking of family films, the next film on this list is the third and final part of the Santa Clause trilogy, and despite not being as successful as the first two films this did pretty well though it paled to how well Happy Feet did. The next film on the list for the month of November is the Queen, a fictional drama based of the response to the death of Princess Diana. Despite being released in September, this film was released the weekend before Thanksgiving and proved to be perfect counterprogramming to other major films released around this time. However when it comes to the month of November, one of it not the biggest winner for the month is the “mockumentary” film Borat which sees Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat travel to the USA. Coming out at the beginning of the month, the film proved to be insanely popular with moviegoers and it would play very well throughout the month while becoming a cult classic over the years. It was clear that this month would go down as one of the best months of the year and helped turn around the box office after a pretty dismal two months in September and October.
November Losers: Flushed Away and the Fountain
While the month of November had its fair share of winners, it was not without some losers as well as there were two specific films that ended up failing in a successful month. The first film on the list is the animated film Flushed Away, a story about a well-to-do rat who is flushed out of his home and into the sewer. Despite the positive reviews from critics, it ended up falling flat in its opening weekend behind Santa Clause 3 and then it fell even further when Happy Feet came out over Thanksgiving. While the film did end up finishing in the top 5 for the month, it doesn’t ignore the fact that this film was a complete bomb and ended up being one of 2006’s biggest failures. The other big loser of the month is the Fountain, an epic drama film that intertwines three storylines throughout the film involving the same two characters. The film received polarizing reviews from critics as some liked the film while others did not and despite coming out around Thanksgiving, it ended up falling behind the other films of the month and as such it is one of the losers of the months.
The Surprise/Story of November 2006: Dancing penguins and James Bond play second fiddle to Kazakhstan
After the last two months of 2006 failed to keep the momentum of the summer going, November finally spikes the box office back up with a few big movies being released. In terms of the month of November, two of the bigger films to be released was the already mentioned Happy Feet and the long awaited James Bond film, Casino Royale which was the first to feature Daniel Craig as Agent 007. Both films were released the weekend before Thanksgiving and as such, it ended up dominating the box office for the last two weekends of the month and finished in the top two for the month. However, the biggest story to come out of November 2006 was the unexpected success of the film Borat, which came out at the beginning of the month and played well throughout the whole month. Even against the releases of Happy Feet and Casino Royale, Borat served as perfect counterprogramming to the big budget releases and would end up putting Sacha Baron Cohen on the map. This would not be the first time that a film like Borat ends up outperforming expectations and is the main story of the month, and it will be interesting if this ends up happening again in the future.
Overachiever of November 2006: Borat
As I mentioned on previous recaps, there will be some months where picking an overachiever of the month is pretty tough though there will also be times when choosing an overachiever is one of the easiest decisions of the months. In the case of November 2006, this was one of the easiest choices to date as the clear overachiever of the month is the “mockumentary” film Borat. When it comes to films like this, they can be made for very little money and if they can find an audience, they can be extremely successful in the long run and Borat did just that for this month. In a month that featured many big budget features and with the busy Thanksgiving weekend included in this month, this film seemed like a little fish in a big pond and it instead proved to be perfect counterprogramming to the big films released during the month. Coming out at the beginning of the month and playing well for the next few months, it would end up finishing in the top 3 for the month and ended up being one of the biggest success stories for the year of 2006.
Underachiever of November 2006: Casino Royale
Now unlike the overachiever of the month which was a completely easy choice, choosing an underachiever of the month was a bit more of a challenge. While on the surface it seemed like Flushed Away would’ve been an easy choice, I don’t recall that film being expected to do well especially against Happy Feet and it would fall by the wayside fairly quickly. So when it came to choosing the underachiever of the month, I ended up going with the newest James Bond film Casino Royale. As mentioned, this was the first Bond film to feature Daniel Craig as the famous 007 agent and the film earned plenty of praise from critics with Craig’s performance being lauded. However, while the film did end up finishing with a lot of money which was in part to being released the weekend before Thanksgiving, it does seem like there was a bit of a feeling that it could’ve done somewhat better. It did go up against Happy Feet which drew the families to the film and as we’ve seen, the majority of the adults were choosing Borat which also hurt Casino Royale’s bottom line and it ended up being great, but couldn’t quite make it to the next level. I will admit that this will probably be one of the weakest underachievers chosen and might stir up some debate, but I stand by this decision in that this film could’ve done so much more though future Bond films would build on Royale and be very successful in the future.
November 2006 Awards Watch: Happy Feet, Borat, the Santa Clause 3, the Queen, Stranger than Fiction, Babel, Bobby, and the Fountain
As we head into the final months of the year, we are now fully entrenched into awards season and November sees a lot of films come out that end up being award contenders and potential award winners. We did have a few months with multiple films being nominated for awards and now we come to November which has a whopping eight films come out that got awards love. The first film of the month in this category is Happy Feet, becoming one of the most successful animated films of the year as it was nominated for one Academy Award (Best Animated Feature) which it won and it would also win one Golden Globe Award (Best Original Song) while being nominated for one more (Best Animated Feature). The next film of the month included is Borat which would be nominated for one Academy Award (Best Adapted Screenplay), and it would win one Golden Globe Award (Best Actor – Musical or Comedy) and was nominated for one other (Best Picture – Musical or Comedy). The next film on the list is the Santa Clause 3, but unlike the previous two it would not be nominated for an Academy Award or Golden Globe, instead it would be nominated for 5 Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Screen Couple, Worst Prequel or Sequel, and Worst Excuse for Family Entertainment) though it wouldn’t win any awards. The fourth film on the list is the Queen which as mentioned was released in September, but was released wide in November where it gained the majority of its gross. It would end up winning one Academy Award (Best Actress) while being nominated for 5 more (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Costume Design). The Queen would also end up winning 2 Golden Globes (Best Actress – Drama and Best Screenplay) and it would also be nominated for 2 more awards (Best Picture – Drama and Best Director). The next film on the list is the comedy Stranger than Fiction, and it would be nominated for one Golden Globe (Best Actor – Musical or Comedy) though it would not do much else. The next film on the list is the foreign drama film Babel, a film which was originally released in October before being released wide in November. The film would end up winning one Academy Award (Best Original Score) and it would be nominated for 6 more (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing). The film would also end up winning one Golden Globe award (Best Picture – Drama) and would be nominated for 6 more awards (Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score). Our next film on the list is the drama film Bobby, a fictionalized account of the last days of Robert Kennedy, and it would be nominated for 2 Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture – Drama and Best Original Song). The eighth and final film from the month of November to be included here is the Fountain, and it would be nominated for one Golden Globe award (Best Original Score) which it would not win. I think when it comes down to it, the month of November 2006 was a pretty successful month as many of the films in this list did end up winning a bunch of awards while also earning numerous nominations.
Overall Thoughts of November 2006:
So after a pretty tepid two months coming off a hot summer, the box office takes a significant upturn here thanks to the films released in November of 2006. I’ve mentioned on previous recaps that aside from the summer months, the other busy timeframes for the box office take place during the holidays when schools are out and people are looking to take breaks from shopping. Hence why many blockbusters are released during this month and in addition to the potential award contenders being released around this time, there is no question that November is a very important month for the box office. This month saw some big time winners and a few minor losers, but all things considered this was a pretty successful months. We are coming to the end of a very interesting 2006 where we saw some big films earn a great amount of money, but there have been plenty of misses amongst the hits and we will see if December can end the year on a high or a low note. As for the month of November, it does end up being a pretty good month which helps the box office recover from a horrendous two month stretch in the fall.
Final Grade: B-