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Listen to the New Releases

February 1st, 2007

It's February, but you can't tell by looking at the quality of the new wide releases. Neither film is wowing critics and both look like mid-level hits at the most. Granted, it's Superbowl weekend and that could explain why studios were hesitant to put out any top dollar films this weekend. Even so, the two new releases should finish in first and second place.

The multi-generational romantic comedy Because I Said So should lead the way, not because of any particular strength but because of the overall weakness. Its reviews are terrible, and what's worse, it's target audience tend to read and take the advice of reviewers. This will undoubtedly have a seriously negative affect on the box office. On the other hand, it is Superbowl weekend and this movie doesn't share a lot of crossover appeal with the football championship audience. This will help the film win the weekend, but with a muted $13 million.

The only other wide release of the week is The Messengers, which probably won't earn much better reviews. I say probably because the film is not being screened for critics. Granted, there have been films where this has happened and they turned out pretty well, but they is few and far between. Right now the film only had one review over on Rotten Tomatoes, and it's negative, while most expect a final reading in the mid-teens or low 20s at most. Even more troubling is the ad campaign, which hasn't exactly been aggressive. Because of the target audience, ads are more important than reviews and this negative impact could prevent it from reaching $10 million during its opening weekend. I'm willing to predict that much; in fact, $12 million is my target. This certainly puts it within range to win the weekend and it will likely come out on top on Friday, but a low internal multiplier will keep it out of first place come Monday.

While Epic Movie beat Smokin' Aces last weekend, those two movies should reverse positions this weekend. Smokin' Aces has dominated Epic Movie in the midweek charts, and even factoring in the latter's younger and more immature target audience, it is very unlikely that it will bounce back over the weekend. However, both films will suffer large drop-offs with Smokin' Aces getting cut in half to $7.5 million and Epic Movie losing more than 60% to just over $7 million.

Night at the Museum should round out the top five with $6 million, putting it just shy of $225 million during its run. The film is already in fourth place for movies released in 2006 and is on pace to overtake X-Men: The Last Stand for third.

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Filed under: Night at the Museum, Because I Said So, Epic Movie, Smokin' Aces, The Messengers