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High School Repeats a Grade

November 4th, 2008

With Halloween falling on a Friday, the box office practically lost one day out of three over the weekend, which explains why the overall box office was down 34% to $87 million. Coincidentally, the box office was down a nearly identical 35% from the same weekend last year. However, not only did Halloween cut into the box office, this time last year was the beginning of November, which is historically a much more lucrative month at the box office, and both of these are mitigating factors. Year-to-date, 2008 has brought in just under $7.79 billion, compared to 2007, which earned just over $7.79 billion during the same time period.

Halloween was even tougher on High School Musical 3 than anticipated as it fell more than 90% on a Friday-to-Friday basis. However, it was able to bounce back over the rest of the weekend, mostly, earning $15.32 million over three days for a total of $62.03 million after two weekends. Normally if a film performed like that, one could assume a total box office of between $75 and $80 million, but assuming this plummet doesn't scare theater owners into dumping the movie, it should be able to top that number and earn $90 million, or close to it. Perhaps if fans make it a weekly event, it could pull in $100 million, but I wouldn't bet on it at this point.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno opened in second place, as expected, but its opening weekend box office of $10.07 million was much lower than expected. This was still the second best opening for a Kevin Smith film, and depending on what happens next weekend, and how much Halloween hurt the film, it could beat out Dogma as the biggest hit in his career. Aided by good reviews, the movie could perform well over the coming weeks. On the other hand, the Fanboy Effect could be in full force here and crush its business next weekend. It is way too soon too tell. We can't even use the internal multiplier as an aid in coming up with a guess, because Halloween threw that figure out of whack.

Saw V fell faster than expected as it was down more than 67% to just $9.74 million over the weekend and $45.47 million after two. That is officially the worst sophomore stint for any film in the franchise so far. Even the original Saw managed more than that, and it earned 40% less during its opening weekend than Saw V did. The only good news is the lack of direct competition, but even then the film will show weakness at the box office compared to the earlier films.

Changeling was the only film in the top five to come within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction, but even then it was a little soft, earning fourth place with $9.35 million. Additionally, the film's per theater average is over $5,000, which suggest some potential to add a few more theaters, or at the very least, it should not shed any theaters next weekend. I don't think the buzz will be there to help it grow at the box office, but it could still be a money maker for the studio, assuming it didn't cost too much to make, and it can open in wide release in most international markets.

On the one hand, The Haunting of Molly Hartley had the second biggest opening for its studio ever. On the other hand, it was still really weak. In fact, even with Halloween the film opened below lowered expectations with $5.42 million in 2,652 theaters and a per theater average of just $2,045, which is barely above the Mendoza Line. Add in nearly zero positive reviews, and it is hard to image a scenario where this film lasts in theaters much longer.

Finally we get to RocknRolla, which expanded over the weekend and had a shot at a top ten finish. It didn't get there with $1.87 million, which was only enough for 13th place. Also, with a per theater average of just $2,267, further expansion is extremely unlikely. Then again, it has already earned more than Guy Ritchie's last two movies and should surpass Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels before long.

Moving onto the sophomore class, there is only one such film not already mentioned above, Pride and Glory. The film didn't perform badly, in fact, it was left mostly intact despite Halloween to be down 46% to $3.36 million over the weekend for a total of $11.72 million after two.


Filed under: High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Saw V, Changeling, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Pride and Glory, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, RocknRolla