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Taylor Made

March 20th, 2008

It's Easter weekend, which is a rather big holiday up here in Canada, but is not even considered a long weekend in the United States. We celebrate it by eating lots of chocolate bunnies (ears first) and cheering or favorite NHL teams into the play-offs. (Or if you are from Toronto saying, "Next year will be different." (...No it won't.)) But there are new wide releases to check out, three of them, in fact. We also have the second weekend for the biggest opener of the year, which is aiming to become repeat champion at the box office.

Despite the competition from three new releases, Horton Hears a Who has a solid shot at repeating on top of the charts thanks to its target demographic, as well as its reviews. Families tend to support good films, and even mediocre films, with repeat business, and this should be the case here. Expectations are high with some predicting it will drop just 30%, which would give it $31.5 million over the weekend for a total of more than $90 million. Even a 40% drop off would give it $27 million over the weekend and would make $100 million inevitable. The film appears to be tracking somewhere in the middle, giving it a sophomore stint of just under $30 million, which would rank it as the fifth best weekend, and easily the best sophomore performance, of 2008.

Meet the Browns is the latest Tyler Perry creation featuring Madea, but he is also playing Uncle Joe. The fish out of water funeral reunion film is earning zero reviews, which is not surprising given the critical reception of Tyler Perry's previous films. That said, the lack of praise hasn't hurt his box office performance. At this point I've given up trying to accurately predict the opening weekend box office for his films, but $20 million seems to be the minimum while $25 million is at the higher end. However, the film could earn anything from $15 million to $35 million and I wouldn't be shocked at all. Look for $21 million over the weekend and $55 million in total.

The next wide release of the week is Drillbit Taylor, which stars Owen Wilson as a lovable loser, a roll he's played before. This might be a problem as early reviews have not been kind to the movie with many of them complaining about the lack of originality here. Another issue critics have been bringing up is the rating, which is PG-13, as the comedy feels like a more natural fit with an R-rating, like Knocked Up or Superbad had. There's not a lot of enthusiasm for the film's box office chances with most analysts expecting the movie will end up in the low to mid teens. I think the higher end is more likely and that could give the film $14 million for the weekend, but poor reviews will prevent it from having the same legs as other Judd Apatow produced films.

10,000 B.C. didn't hold up very well during its second weekend, although it is showing better strength this week. Dropping less than 50% is likely, which would give the film $9 million over the weekend and $78 million as a running tally. This would really boost its chances at $100 million, which would boost the overall box office numbers for 2008. So far this year, there hasn't been a whole lot to cheer about, and too much depressing news will actually depress the box office numbers.

The widest release of the week is Shutter, which is earning... zero reviews. The second film that is not screened for critics, it is also the third Asian horror remake of the year. The previous two films, One Missed Call and The Eye, both opened with just over $12 million, and although The Eye showed better legs, neither lasted long in theaters. Throw in a star that has shown almost no ability to draw in moviegoers, and it is very hard to be bullish about this movie's box office chances. There are some that think it will place third with $15 million or so, but I have a hard time imagining it topping $10 million. In fact, I think it is more likely that the film will open with a per theater average below the Mendoza line giving it $5 million over the weekend. I'm going with fifth place with $8 million.

Finally, Run, Fat Boy, Run has a sneak peak this Saturday, but in only 78 theaters. Check your local listings for more details.

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Filed under: Horton Hears a Who, Meet the Browns, Drillbit Taylor, Shutter, Run, Fatboy, Run, 10,000 B.C.