“New Year's Eve” Wins Worst Box Office in 3 Years

Garry Marshall's oversized ensemble comedy had just $13.7 million in ticket sales

2012 can’t come fast enough for Hollywood, which suffered through its worst weekend at theaters in more than three years.

“New Year’s Eve” rung in mid-December with $13.7 million in ticket sales – about a million per star in the movie, but still enough to top the box office.

Yet that was hardly an achievement to be proud of, as box office receipts plunged 15 percent from the same weekend a year ago. The overall take of about $78 million was the lowest since September 2008, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Nailing it on the head, Dan Fellman of Warner Bros. said “the box office was just in really bad shape.”

"While we had the No. 1 movie, we were No. 1 in a very soft market,” said Fellman, the studio’s president of domestic distribution.

“New Year’s Eve” did much worse than the Garry Marshall holiday-themed, oversized ensemble comedy which spawned it, “Valentine’s Day,” which generated $72 million when it debuted over the four-day Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day weekend in 2010 (and $56.3 million over the standard three days).

The cameo-filled “New Year’s Eve” has been roundly panned by critics – only 7 percent have given it a positive review on Rotten Tomatoes – but audiences are turning out to be much more forgiving. Moviegoers polled by CinemaScore rate it a B+, compared to a B for “Valentine’s Day.”

Jonah Hill’s first star vehicle, “The Sitter,” was second this weekend with $10 million. The raunchy R-rated comedy from Fox could still make back its production budget of about $25 million, however.

After three weekends at No. 1, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" fell to third place, surprising no one. It added $7.9 million for a running total of $259.6 million.

“The Muppets” ($7.1 million), “Arthur Christmas” ($6.6 million) and “Hugo” (6.1 million) all declined slightly in their third weekend in theaters to come in 4-5-6. “The Muppets” have done best overall, grossing $65.8 million on a $45 million budget.

Among limited new releases, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “Young Adult” both attracted high per theater averages, though they both opened in fewer than 10 theaters.

And with awards season coming – the Golden Globe nominations will be revealed Thursday – and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" waiting in the wings, things are sure to pick up next week.

Selected Reading: Hollywood Reporter, EW.com, AP

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