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Point has a Clear View of First Place

February 21st, 2008

There's only one truly wide release this week, but there are three other films aiming for a spot in the top ten. This means there's not much of a battle for top spot, and there will likely be a sizable drop-off at the box office. And even with last year showing some weakness during the weekend, it is not likely that 2008 will get back to its winning ways.

Vantage Point is the only movie opening in more than 2,000 theaters. In fact, it is debuting in more than 3,000. On the one hand, this film has an amazing cast that features a mix of veterans and up-and-coming stars. It also has a very intriguing premise with a Rashomon-like telling of an assassination attempt against the president. On the other hand, it has a political element to it, and even a hint of politics has been poison at the box office recently. And the reviews won't help. That said, it is the only wide release of the week and the only film with a shot at $20 million. It won't go far beyond, but look for $21 million over its opening weekend and close to $60 million overall.

Jumper has to deal with more or less direct competition, as well as very poor reviews and that could lead to a sizable drop-off this weekend. It could fall as far as 60% this weekend, but just over 50% to $13 million is more likely. This would put it on pace to match its production budget domestically, or at least come close, and with strong international numbers, it should show a profit relatively soon.

The Spiderwick Chronicles earned much better reviews and its family friendly target audience should help it during its sophomore stint. It could even overtake Jumper over the weekend, if that film fails to live up to expectations. With a prediction of $12 million, it will be withing striking distance but will likely fall just short.

Step Up 2 the Streets was a bigger than expected hit last weekend, but with its finicky target audience, a sizable drop-off is likely. A drop above 50% would leave the movie with just over $9 million over the weekend and $40 million in total. It might avoid that fate, but reaching $10 million will be difficult.

Fool's Gold should come in fifth place with just over $7 million over the weekend for a total of roughly $53 million. So far, its run hasn't been bad compared to most early year releases, but its production budget was higher than the average film released before Spring and it needed to earn more than this.

There are also three other films opening is varying degrees of wideness: Witless Protection, Charlie Bartlett, and Be Kind Rewind. Strangely, the most limited of these releases, Be Kind Rewind, should do the best business at the box office.

Be Kind Rewind is the latest from auteur Micheal Gondry who previously made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There are a lot of ways to describe his work, overly commercial is not one of them. While Be Kind Rewind is the most commercial of his films, it is also earning the weakest reviews since Human Nature. It does have an effective trailer and with a solid ad campaign it could make more than $5 million at the box office and perhaps even challenge for a place in the top five. However, $4 million from its 800 theaters is more likely.

I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Charlie Bartlett for a long time now, and I've had to wait for a long time since it was pushed back from August. It appears the wait was worth it, sort of. The reviews are the best of any wide release this week and are just over the overall positive level. On the other hand, it is only opening in 1,100 theaters and its ad campaign is best described as non-corporeal. You can tell it's a MGM release based on these facts alone. Had this movie been given a midway decent ad campaign and a theater count in the low 2,000 range, it should have had an easy shot at a top five finish. As it stands now, it will struggle to reach the top ten with $3 million.

Witless Protection is the latest vehicle to star Larry the Cable Guy. ... And it is not being screened for critics; no real surprise there as his previous two films earned a total of three positive reviews. As far as the film's box office chances go, Health Inspector opened with just under $7 million while Delta Farce took in half of that during its opening weekend. Add in a smaller theater count, and Witless Protection could take in less than $2 million. Even it is manages just over $2 million, which it probably will, it would still miss the top ten.

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Filed under: Jumper, Vantage Point, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Fool's Gold, Step Up 2 the Streets, Be Kind Rewind, Witless Protection, Charlie Bartlett