Thanks to Friday the 13th's impressive opening weekend haul, 2009 continues to exceed expectations.

The Surprises Continue

on February 16, 2009 by Phil Contrino
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Thanks to the surprisingly strong performance of Friday the 13th this weekend, 2009 has continued its hot streak.

While final numbers are due Tuesday, this Presidents' Day weekend is going to set a record for overall box office revenue. B OXOFFICE.com is estimating that the final tally for the four-day weekend could be as high as $225 million. That number is going to easily trump other Presidents' Day weekends even after inflation. Up until this year, 2007's Presidents' Day weekend held the highest box office gross. In 2007, Ghost Rider topped the box office with $45.4 million from Friday-Sunday, and another $6.6 million on Presidents' Day. That figure alone tops Friday the 13th 's without inflation, when adjusted, the full Presidents' Day weekend haul for Rider is around $54.3 million. Presidents' Day Weekend 2007 also boasted an impressive Friday-Sunday haul of $158.9 million, to which the actual holiday itself added another $29.7 million, for a total of $188.6 million. When adjusted for inflation, that number equals around $197 million. It's definitely worth mentioning that 2007 currently holds the record, without adjusting for inflation, as the highest grossing year of all time.

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Ultimately, this means that attendance during this Presidents' Day Weekend is up around 14% from 2007's record-setting Presidents' Day weekend. Considering the state of the economy as well as the recent decline of 3.14% in movie theatre attendance from 2007 to 2008, this is definitely a statistic worth celebrating. While the trend of declining attendance is something that the movie industry needs to be genuinely concerned about, it is not as immediately threatening as the kind of problems that are plaguing other businesses across the country.

Every single weekend in 2009 has brought with it a surprise at the box office. In January, both Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Gran Torino exceeded even the highest industry expectations. During Super Bowl weekend, Taken posted incredibly strong numbers and it has been maintaining its audience very well ever since. He's Just Not That Into You was able to hold a sizable portion of its audience during its sophomore frame thanks to Valentine's Day crowds. Only a few duds such as Inkheart and The Pink Panther 2 have popped up. As a result, there's an increase in total box office revenue from 2008 to 2009. 2008's box office up to Presidents' Day Weekend, which fell on February 18, equaled $1,327,020,691. This year, the tally up to Presidents' Day should land at approximately $1,488,220,538, which represents an overall revenue and attendance increase of 12.15%. Since $7.18 is the most recent average ticket price calculated and it comes from 2008, the attendance jump as well as the overall revenue increase will obviously drop once a new tally is put together for 2009.

This momentum shows no signs of stopping. The second half of February has at least one surefire blockbuster in Jonas Brothers: 3D Concert Experience, which will be playing at roughly 1,100 locations starting on February 27. Considering that Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, a similar draw among younger audiences, grossed $65.3 million from only 685 locations last year, it's safe to say that Jonas Brothers could easily land in the $75-$85 million range.

March also has a strong slate of films that will be able to help continue the streak. Race to Witch Mountain and Monsters vs. Aliens will both find strong support from family audiences, while Watchmen and I Love You, Man will appeal to crucial adult demographics. Both MvA and Watchmen have the potential to pass the $100 million mark.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris

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