I won't say I told you so, but...
...I will link (if only life were like blogging!).
After the hefty Friday numbers came in for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, box office prognosticators were predicting big things for the rest of the weekend. Box Office Prophets called for a 3.1 multiplier and $64.4 million total. David Poland thought it would fall somewhere between $60 and $70 million, maybe even higher. So what went wrong?
The Friday-to-Saturday drop (uncommon for children's films, as I pointed out back in April) can't be blamed on quality. Charlie currently has a very high 83% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Compare that to Tim Burton's last remake, Planet of the Apes, which had a paltry 45% Fresh rating, and yet its Friday-to-Saturday decline was less than 1% versus Charlie's 7.9% dip.
Likewise, the excuse that parents suddenly got wise to how twisted Burton is doesn't track. That rationale was used to explain Batman Returns' cumulative disparity from the first installment, yet the "darkness factor" didn't really kick in until after opening weekend. Yes, even Batman Returns experienced a slight uptick from Friday-to-Saturday (despite greater buildup, a fan boy rush brought about by a comic book sequel to one of the biggest hits of all time and more gripes about quality/suitability for fragile youth).
The thing is, Charlie's weekend haul is really quite good. On Friday, most people were predicting a total of about $45 million, so it exceeded initial expectations by $10 million. But, to play Oskar Schindler, how much more could it have made if they hadn't gone up against Harry Potter?
Warner Bros. is avoiding admitting a blunder by continuing to hide their heads in the sand:
The jury was still out as to how sales were hurt by the worldwide hype surrounding the release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
"That's a hard call," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic theatrical distribution at Warner Bros. "You just can't put your finger on it."
Actually, I think I did just put my finger on it, Dan. In fact, I did it three months ago. So why didn't you?