How The Industry Got to Reporting "21 Jump Street" Box Office Figures at Noon on a Friday

Posted 11:14 PM March 16th, 2012 by Senh Duong
21 Jump Street

At 12:19 PM today, The Hollywood Reporter did an early box office report for the surprisingly well-reviewed “21 Jump Street,” which is Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes with 87% on the Tomatometer.

Remember back in the day when box office results would only appear on Monday mornings in the newspaper. Monday mornings eventually became Sunday mornings because the Sunday figure is estimated based on the Saturday and Friday figures anyway. Why wait an extra day to show the estimated results?

On the internet, websites like BoxOfficeMojo.com and Showbizdata.com started posting daily box office figures several years ago. The Drudge Report started linking to BoxOfficeMojo.com (BOM) every Saturday and Sunday back then, giving it consistent exposure to millions of users. It helps that BOM is by far the most comprehensive and searchable box office site on the web.

Online film sites looking for an edge from the trades - Variety, The Hollywood Reporter - started reporting on Friday’s figure on Saturdays. Eventually, the trades follow suit. Now, pretty much every film site reports on Friday figures.

Nikki Finke (Deadline.com) then came along and started putting up preliminary numbers at late Friday evenings, the first source to do so. Drudge, who loves box office figures, started linking to her site every Friday evening until BOM updates their site with the actual final figures.

Variety and Hollywood Reporter, again follow suit by posting box office reports on Friday evenings or sometimes earlier trying to preempt Finke.

Not wanting to be outdone by them, Finke started putting up Friday numbers in the middle the day (usually around 4 pm) based on ticket sales from noon matinees.

4pm eventually moved to noon-ish.

And that’s where we are now. The Hollywood Reporter reported that “21 Jump Street” will gross an estimated $12M for Friday based on matinee sales. I've seen Variety doing similar reports recently too.

I think this is where it stops though. You can't get any earlier than noon. Or can you?

UPDATE: As always, early Friday estimates are always a mil or two off. "21 Jump Street" made $13.1M, nearly doubling that of the $6.7M from "The Lorax." Needly to say, the former will end up easily taking the weekend crown.

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