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Holiday Season Starts

November 6th, 2008

The winter holiday season used to start on Thanksgiving long weekend, but now it starts the first weekend of November. And this year it starts with a sequel that has great expectations associated with it. Some good news, this weekend last year was weaker than expected and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa should have no trouble earning more than all three wide releases from last year combined. In fact, it should earn more than the two top films from last year did.

Madagascar 2 is opening at a saturation level theater count (4,000 or more theaters), which is still fairly uncommon. It is also opening to reviews that are somewhat better than the original's, which is also fairly uncommon. Expectations are strong here with $50 million looking like the low end, while there are those who think it could reach $60 million over the weekend, or more. The consensus seems to be in the lower end of expectations, $52 to $53 million, but I'm a little more bullish than most and I'm predicting $57 million over the weekend. That might not be enough for its final box office to match the first film, depending on how much the Sequel Effect kicks in.

The two other new releases for the week should battle for second place and both Soul Men and Role Models are aiming for $10 to $12 million. Role Models has the better reviews at 72% positive to 55% positive and the wider release at 2,791 theaters to 2,044, but most analysts think Soul Men will win the race. I'm not in agreement here, especially with Soul Men being released by MGM and I'm predicting Role Models will take second place with $11 million while Soul Men will have to settle for third with $10 million. For both films this would be a fine start.

The first of the holdovers should be High School Musical 3, which should rebound from last weekend and the major effect of Halloween. There is a chance it could battle for second place with more than $10 million over the weekend. However, fourth place and $9 million is a more likely outcome. This would give the film a running tally of $75 million after three weeks of release.

There should be a bit of a battle for fifth place between Zack and Miri Make a Porno and The Changeling. Both films should earn roughly $6 million, with The Changeling having a small advantage over Zack and Miri, especially since Role Models is direct competition for that film.

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Filed under: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Role Models, Changeling, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Soul Men