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Epic Start for Critical Bomb

January 30th, 2007

Well, January is finally over and we survived. The final four entries tried their luck this weekend and while two earned enough to be considered box office successes, none came close to wowing critics.

Epic Movie not only won the weekend box office race, but also became an early favorite for worst movie of the year. Its opening total of $18.6 million was within a rounding error of Thursday's predictions and probably in line with its production budget. However, on the other hand, the film earned 0% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It's not the first movie to manage this feat; in fact, two movies did it last year alone, but this is still worse than expectations. (Personally, I was predicting 5% positive, and it could still get there.) Even if the film collapses this coming weekend, and that looks likely, it will still earn more than enough to show a profit and ensure they keep making more such movies in the future.

Smokin' Aces didn't do as well with the critics as expected, but its 28% positive score was still the best out of any wide release this weekend. This film also topped expectations at the box office, pulling in $14.6 million. This is not a monster hit by any definition, but it is close to the film's estimated box office of between $15 and $20 million. And even with a tough sophomore stint, thanks in part to the Superbowl weekend, it should still earn a profit thanks to strong sales on the home market.

Also beating expectations was Night at the Museum which added $9.6 million for a total of $216.8 million. The film has survived all of January despite the assault of two kids movies and it is still in the top five. That won't last much longer, but the film could close in on $250 million before it leaves theaters for good.

Stomp the Yard continues to beat expectations despite earning terrible reviews. This weekend the film added $7.7 million and became the first movie to earn $50 million this year. (Well, the first film from 2007 as both Pursuit of Happyness and Night at the Museum have managed more than that amount this calendar year.)

Catch and Release was just in fourth place with $7.7 million, less than $30,000 behind Stomp the Yard. This is close enough to predictions to be called a victory, but still a disappointing total compared to Jennifer Garner's career average. As for its future, the reviews were just not up to standard and the word of mouth will likely punish the movie. Then again, there's not a lot of crossover appeal between this movie and the Superbowl, so it could hold on better than most movies this coming weekend.

The final new release of the week was Blood and Chocolate, the latest MGM bomb. The film earned just half of the Thursday's predictions with just $2.1 million and its reviews were not much better at just 11% positive. Even if the film holds on to most of its audience this coming weekend, it will still lose most of its theater count the weekend after that.

Finally we get to the sophomore class, which had just one member this week, The Hitcher. The film lost nearly 54%, down to just $3.6 million for a 10-day total of $13.4 million. And worse yet, with a per theater average of just $1,281 this weekend the film will see a huge drop in its theater count this Friday.


Filed under: Night at the Museum, Stomp the Yard, Epic Movie, Smokin' Aces, The Hitcher, Catch and Release, Blood and Chocolate