Anyway, as you'll remember, I was always skeptical about the notion that Kong was going to be a super-gigantic blockbuster--Titanic (or Gone with the Wind)-sized monsters simply cannot be foreseen. But, as our initial rough math showed, it was all but impossible for the second-week Narnia to outgross Kong on its opening weekend. Erosion rates for movies that open at 3,200+ theaters (and Narnia was up over 3,600) are notoriously steep. Narnia declined by 52.4 percent from its opening, leaving it in no position to challenge even a Kong which opened at the bottom of the range we predicted for it.
This was never even close.
Moving along, I want to point people toward the truly impressive per theater average for Brokeback Mountain--
That said, I'm still skeptical that Brokeback will find a mainstream audience. Look at the other live-action movies at the top of our list of all-time highest-averages. You'll see Bulworth, Punch-Drunk Love, I Heart Huckabees and other films which were critical darlings but couldn't even cross the $30 million mark in total box office. The highest total gross of one of these high-average movies is Moulin Rouge!, with $57 million.
Anyway, it will be interesting to watch Brokeback's numbers in the coming weeks to see if it follows in the path of a medium-sized hit, such as Edward Scissorhands, or becomes a hot-house flower, such as Huckabees.
Update, 12/19/05: Galley Friend J.E. emails in to point out that the average I cited above for Brokeback Mountain, $109,485, is from last weekend, when the movie was only playing on five screens. This weekend it expanded to 64, and the average dropped to $34,188.