Alex Quoted in The Press Democrat on Christmas Day Movies

December 25, 2008
Source: Press Democrat

The Press Democrat

Yesterday I did a quick phone interview with a writer for The Press Democrat, a New York Times regional newspaper based out of Sonoma County, aka California wine country. I spoke with her about the tradition of seeing movies on Christmas Day, a tradition that I've been following myself for years. The article was published this Christmas morning, for those who are curious to check it out. It's titled "Movies could attract record attendance today" and includes quotes from numerous people, including yours truly, about movies on Christmas and potential hits (I made a prediction that Marley & Me might be the top earner today).

"'Obviously, given the number of films that studios put out on Christmas, it shows that they are confident in it as a launching ground,' Billington said." I'm not even sure why I do it, but I've always been going to movies on Christmas Day with friends. Last year it was Sweeney Todd, the year before that it was Dreamgirls, and this year it might be Marley & Me (although that's not official). Not the usual choices, but that's what makes the tradition so fun. To me it's not a chance to escape, I suppose it's a way of showing my gratitude towards Hollywood for putting out such an interesting selection of movies every year.

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I noticed that as I'm from Sonoma County. Personally last year I went and saw AvP-R and it was fantastic.

Kent on Dec 25, 2008

2 wonder you defended Time Out's decision to put Obama in their Movie Alphabet thing.

Al on Dec 25, 2008


The democratic nature of the newspaper had nothing to do with my interview. They contacted me for no other reason than as an industry resource. Politics is not a part of this.

Alex Billington on Dec 25, 2008


my bad.

Al on Dec 25, 2008


I have a feeling that BEDTIME STORIES will be number one and then MARLEY AND ME and for third, a close call between YES MAN and BENJAMIN BUTTON. However, I think BEDTIME willl get high $30s, and the others will all do good but not spectacular. I live in an area with a bunch of 24, 20, 16 screen theaters and due to the sheer amount of movies released, most of the films are playing on just one screen. One of the 16 theaters that specializes in independent films is only showing THE READER on one screen already because of how much they need to cram in. There is a wide variety of choices this season so there will be lots of money circulating, but not towards just one particular movie. I think most will do the low 20s or mid teens because most films are showing on just one screen.

Ryan on Dec 25, 2008


Bye the way, Alex, are you buying a different ticket for when you see Marley and Me because then you will be supporting Fox, right :)?

Ryan on Dec 25, 2008


I went today and saw Frost/Nixon (cause it JUST came out), and it was fantastic! I loved the movie, and I loved the score.

Brian on Dec 25, 2008


Ryan, we decided to go see Benjamin Button instead... Don't mind giving my $$ to Paramount. 🙂

Alex Billington on Dec 25, 2008


Personally I'd rather see Ben Button on Christmas, although it is probably too long for most people. I would say Slumdog Millionaire is a great Christmas day movie too. This is a complete tangent, but when are you guys going to throw up a review for Slumdog? That movie was phenomenal in my book and I want to see what you guys think of it.

Steven on Dec 25, 2008


What does it matter what studio you "give your money to?" That loose logic isn't fair (to anyone putting out movies in general), and seems to be based around conscious ignorance. (trust me, I understand you were joking, but a discussion should be had about that nonetheless, because I'm hearing things like that all the time now)

Black Guy on Dec 25, 2008


Haha, I saw Benjamin Button too! Saw THE SPIRIT today and BEDTIME STORIES. SPIRIT was awful but STORIES was surprisingly cute. At my theater BUTTON sold-out all of it's showings as well as MARLEY and BEDTIME STORIES did almost as well, but not that later showings. GRAN TORINO was a complete sell-out as well and VALKYRIE did decent business, but didn't sell-out tell later in the day. THE SPIRIT was a conplete flop, managing only two sell-outs, one at 7:45 and another at 10:15. Earlier in the day, SPIRIT barely sold any and today when I saw it there was only 9 people (including myself). THE READER did about just as bad, not selling out one showing, but had a crowd through-out the day.

Ryan on Dec 26, 2008


Sorry for the double post, my friend who works there told me as far as holdovers went DESPERAUX sold-out in the morning, but failed to sell almost anything past 4:00 and only really sold any tickets when BEDTIMES was sold-out. YES MAN did surprisingly better than it did on it's opening night, with sell-outs for almost every showing and the least full showing was 85% full. SEVEN POUNDS on the other hand sold-out 4 times, one at 1:00, another at 3:25, one at 7:30 and one at 9:45, but the other showings were only about 60% full. FOUR CHRISTMASES, which they put back in a slightly bigger theater for the day only was a mistake accordingly, only selling about 100 tickets a showing, or about 1/3, though business did pick up later in the night, maybe with Christian families down their dinner and wanting to see a holiday movie, being the only choice available. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, MILK, and FROST/NIXON did quite poorly, each being about half full, but they have been playing since their second week of release for most of them, because this theater was originally a big arthouse theater, but was bought by National Amusements recently and turned into a Showcase, so they still get the movies very early at least. DOUBT (which came out a week ago) did the worst actually, but did manage one sell out, late afternoon. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL had a surprising rebound, and while not selling-out, the IMAX showings sold-out completely. Today so far, THE SPIRIT has had a massive drop-off in sales, though it can be improved by tonight. BEDTIME STORIES is doing very well and all the screenings have been 80%-100% full. DESPERAUX had a slight improvement while YES MAN and SEVEN POUNDS held strong, but YES MAN a bit stronger. VALKYRIE took a nosedive early in the day, but has been improving. MILK, SLUMDOG, and FROST/NIXON remain the same about, while DOUBT is the only film that has improved and quite substantially (maybe a movie accusing a Priest of rape isn't the best suit for Xmas). THE READER is actually doing WORSE than yesterday, which is not a very good sign. The average showing so far has been 20%-45% full and it's already been relegated to the smallest screen (109 seats) after the disappointing performance as yesterday along with THE SPIRIT. Meanwhile, BUTTON and MARLEY & ME have held terrifically. BUTTON has not been quite the sell-out as it was yesterday, but has averaged an 84-93% attendance for all of it's showings so far and times for later tonight are already or close to half full. Meanwhile MARLEY still seems to be performing just as well. While earlier in the dya it wasn't doing so hot, it sky-rocketed at around 2 and sold-out to 3:15, 4:00 and 4:45 already as well as the 7:00 and 7:45 already. GRAN TORINO has been quite the surprise though and so far has sold-out everyone of it's showings once agian. Wow, this was much longer of a post that I thought, and while it might not mean anything, my theater has an extraordinarily good consensus with what the box office will turn out to be for some mystical reason, perhaps.

Ryan on Dec 26, 2008


Cools Alex. 🙂 Keep on keepin' on, man.

Bry from Chi on Dec 26, 2008


Its a great tradition. I havent done it every year, but almost every :).. This year it was Rachel Getting Married. Usually Ive went to see Harry Potters, LOTR, etc with the family.. It would become a nice tradition. Hopefully ill try to make it a real tradition when ive got my own family 🙂

max on Dec 27, 2008

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