UPDATE: Well, never mind. Shockingly, HSM 3 actually experienced a 9% drop in ticket sales on Saturday, only pulling in $15.3 million yesterday.
We’re not exactly sure how that happened. Were Friday’s numbers due to an unusually large group of adult ticketholders? Did kids make their parents take them after school on Friday?
Anyways, now HSM 3‘s projected weekend total is $42 million, about the same as people expected on Thursday. But that’s nothing to sniff at. It’s still way more than Hannah Montana’s 3D movie made its opening weekend, and with international box-office grosses (HSM 3 opened in many countries overseas last week), its worldwide box-office total is close to $82 million. Plus with this weekend’s numbers from Beverly Hills Chihuahua and The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D, we doubt anyone at Disney is complaining.
EARLIER: On Thursday, we sniffed at HSM 3‘s ranking as only the 13th most popular movie in terms of advance ticket sales on Fandango. We were impressed by its #1 spot in advanced sales for this weekend, but given the box-office frenzy displayed by Miley Cyrus’ 3D Hannah Montana concert movie last spring, we sort of expected a simlar level of advance enthusiasm for the HSM kids. At the time, Hannah Montana was Fandango’s fifth biggest advance-ticket seller in the company’s history.
Well, now HSM 3 has hit the big screen, and it’s surpassing everyone’s expectations. Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and co. opened with $16.9 million Friday, which is way more than the experts predicted. It also beat the opening-day record for a live-action musical and a live-action G-rated movie.
As with most kids movies, the real box-office business is supposed to take place during the Saturday and Sunday matinees. So with the impressive Friday debut and even more business expected for Saturday and Sunday, box-office gurus are now upping their weekend projections.
Nikki Finke says her box-office experts are raising HSM’s estimated weekend haul from $40 million to $60 million, which would far and away surpass Hannah Montana‘s opening weekend total of $31 million. In fact, that would put HSM 3 close to Hannah Montana‘s $65 million total for its entire box-office run. It should be interesting to compare the per-screen averages, though, since Hannah only opened in 683 theatres while HSM opened in 3,623.
As we noted on Thursday, despite the HSM stars’ tabloid appeal, Disney was taking a bit of a gamble releasing the sequel to two TV movies on the big screen. Most box-office analysts went into the weekend thinking the same thing. After all, there’s really nothing to compare this HSM 3 to since no one can recall a TV movie being turned into a successful big-screen movie. An HSM insider e-mailed the same to Nikki Finke today:
“HSM3 is a hard film to track because most kids will see it at least 2x this weekend. There are no metrics to a film that has repeat viewing, and kids that have to be accompanied by parents,” one HSM3 insider just emailed me. “Disney internal folks have no idea what to expect because what historical data could be a comparison. Nothing. I have a feeling this weekend will be a game changer…”
This is great news for Disney, which has the lowest market share of the six major movie studios thanks to a not-so-spectacular summer (Swing Vote, anyone?). But with HSM 3, still-strong business from Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Disney’s annual Halloween re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D, this could be a big weekend for the Mouse House and one that could finally boost its box-office market share out of the basement.
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