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Hitcher Walks a Lonely Road

January 23rd, 2007

The lone wide release of the weekend struggled to find an audience and even though most of the rest of the top five were able to beat expectations, the weekend box office was still way down. At just $100 million, the weekend was down 22% from last week and 17% from the same weekend last year.

Stomp the Yard became the first repeat winner of 2007 after taking in $12.3 million over the weekend. This is amazing when you consider the historically bad legs for movies aimed at the same target audience and the abysmal reviews. The $12.3 million would have been a good opening box office with the film's production budget reported to be in the low teens, and it should have little problem showing a profit by its initial push into the home market.

Just a rounding error behind was Night at the Museum with $12.0 million. The film crossed $200 million at the box office this weekend becoming the fifth biggest hit released in 2006, overtaking Superman Returns in the process. (Anyone who predicted that would happen at the beginning of the year needs to play the lotto more often.) At this pace the film should overtake The Da Vinci Code before too long and X-Men: The Last Stand's third place standing isn't exactly safe either.

Studio estimates had Dreamgirls pulling in $8.7 million, just ahead of last weekend's box office. However, when the final numbers were released it managed just $8.0 million. This is well within the range given on Thursday and with Oscar nominations being announced tomorrow, it could earn a very similar amount next weekend as well.

The first new release of the week was The Hitcher. The film could manage no better than fourth place with $7.8 million, barely more than half of the predicted opening. Granted, the reviews were bad, but not the worst we've seen this year, but that doesn't fully explain the film's struggles. The overload of horror remakes, the lack of star power, and the weak ad campaign all have to share some of the blame. Regardless of the exact cause, the film will likely disappear from theaters as soon as the exhibitors are contractually able to let it go.

Rounding out the top five was Pursuit of Happyness with $6.3 million, which matched expectations nearly perfectly.

There were a couple other noteworthy results over the weekend including Pan's Labyrinth's expansion into seventh place with $4.5 million. Also, there was the return of The Queen into the top ten with $3.4 million, its best weekend ever.

Finally we come to the sophomore class, which was led this week by Arthur and the Invisibles with $3.1 million over the weekend for a total of $9.3 million after ten days. That represents a drop-off of just 28%, but that's still huge disappointment anyway you look at it. Next up was Alpha Dog, which missed the top ten, down 53% to just under $3.0 million over the weekend for a tiny running tally of $11.8 million. However, Primeval was the big loser, down a stunning 69% to $1.9 million for a total of $9.6 million. Hopefully studios will learn that moving a movie's schedule up so much so close to its new release date is a bad, bad move.

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Filed under: Night at the Museum, The Pursuit of Happyness, Dreamgirls, Stomp the Yard, The Queen, El Laberinto del Fauno, The Hitcher, Arthur et les Minimoys, Primeval, Alpha Dog