Slow Times

Not so very long ago, the Christmas weekend was the biggest and most lucrative weekend for movies. Everyone went to see something — whether to escape their relatives, give the kids a distraction for a couple of hours or just break up a day when there’s nothing else to do.

That cliche about Jewish families forging their own holiday traditions of Chinese food and a movie? That’s not a cliche, that’s life in the diaspora.

This year, though, the megaplex was a little less busy, the slump in theatrical attendance rolling straight through Boxing Day. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” topped the charts with $26.5 million in its first weekend of full release, but that’s the sort of number we’d ordinarily see for Christmas Day alone. Other contenders — Steven Spielberg’s mo-cap epic “The Adventures of Tintin”,¬†Cameron Crowe’s fuzzy, family-friendly “We Bought a Zoo”, David Fincher’s forcefully buzzed remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — either underperformed or failed to register, suggesting audiences just weren’t as interested in going to the movies, period.

From the CP piece:¬†“‘Thank God 2011 is almost over, because we’ve had a real rough run here at the end of the year,’ said analyst Paul Dergarabedian.”

It’s been rough for a little longer than that: The only genuine smash for months has been the “Twilight” sequel. And that doesn’t bode well for anyone …

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