Follow us on

Drop in the Bucket

January 10th, 2008

This week, we have three new wide release and there are also a couple of expansions. Add in several strong holdovers, and there could be quite a logjam on the top of the charts. Not every new release / wide expansion will take part in this bounty, with In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which could turn out to be the worst movie of the year, likely to miss out.

First Sunday looks to finally break National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets' hold on the box office crown, but not due to any inherent strength in the film itself. Early reviews are barely above the complete disaster level with most critics calling the movie predictable, preachy, unfunny, and overly sentimental. They are also comparing it to the collective works of Tyler Perry, which many would consider redundant. Then again, its target audience (churchgoing African Americans) have been very forgiving as of late and there's a chance this film could surprise and reach $20 million or more over its opening weekend. Even the worse case scenario has it reaching $10 million over the weekend and landing in the top five. The lower end is a little more likely than the higher end and my final prediction is first place and $13 million.

Juno took over first place on the daily charts this Monday, and it is expanding further this weekend. If things continue to go as they have in the past, it has a shot at first place, but second place and $12 million is more likely. Regardless, it will be the highest-grossing film of the major contenders for the Best Picture Oscar nomination and could become the only nomination this year to reach $100 million.

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets should also earn $12 million, or at least close to it. If it does pull in more than $11 million over the weekend, it will be about a week away from reaching $200 million for the year. When it gets to that milestone, it would be the 10th film released in 2007 to do so, which is well above the previous record of 8 from 2005.

The first major expansion of the week comes from The Bucket List which is going from 16 theaters to a 2,911. Reviews are merely mixed, but this hasn't hurt the film's legs so far and this bodes well for its expansion tomorrow. Should it reach a per theater average of $5,000, it would grab $14 million and could reach first place. Even $4,000 would give the film a very respectable $10.6 million over the weekend and that would put it in a very close fourth place. The latter is more likely, but still respectable.

Both Alvin and the Chipmunks and I Am Legend are looking to add $9 million over the weekend, more or less. Alvin slightly more and Legend slightly less, but both will be battling for the final spot in the top five.

The next wide release of the week is The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie. I was never expecting this film to be a major hit, but I was expecting its buzz to be louder than this. At this point, I'm not entirely convinced it will open with more than Jonah did back in 2002. Reviews, like the buzz, are practically non-existent but are the strongest of any wide release this week. There's a chance that the film could miss the top ten altogether and even if it surprises, a top five finish is likely out of the question. I'm going with seventh place with just over $7 million, but I'm hoping I'm underestimating the power of produce to fill seats.

The final film on this week's list is In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Earlier in the week it was estimated the film would play in 2,500 theaters making it the widest release in Dr. Uwe Boll's career; however, those numbers have dropped to just 1,600 theaters, and the film's box office potential has dropped with it. It was never expected to be a big hit, or even a midlevel hit, or even just mildly disappointing, but now most expect it to open outside the top ten with less than $5 million. In fact, given his previous two films, it seems unlikely that it will hit the Mendoza line of $2,000 on the per theater charts, which could give it $3 million or less. Depending on how strong its reviews are, and its subsequent word-of-mouth, the film could earn as much as $6 million at the box office. However, $4 million is as high as I'm willing to guess.

In addition, both The Orphanage and Atonement are expanding this weekend and that could help one or both of them into the top ten. For the former film it would be its first time there, for the latter the second.

One last note, 27 Dresses has another sneak peak this Sunday in just over 600 theaters. Check your local listings for details.


Filed under: I am Legend, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Juno, The Bucket List, Atonement, First Sunday, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, El orfanato, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, 27 Dresses