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Ghost Rider Sets the Box Office on Fire

February 21st, 2007

It was a record-breaking President's Day weekend as 2007 produced it first blockbuster. Overall, total box office hit $158 million from Friday to Sunday, $188 million including Monday. That 3-day figure represents a 40% increase over last week and 22% over the same weekend last year. In addition, the 4-day portion was 20% higher than last year. This is great news for a year that hasn't gotten off to a fast start.

Not only did Ghost Rider set a record for biggest President's Day debut, it earned more in three days than the previous record holder did it four. Its $45.4 million from Friday to Sunday was just over the $45.1 million earned by 50 First Dates during its first four days and placed it third on the biggest February weekend chart. Add in Monday and the film made $52.0 million, which is already sixth place on the 2007 chart, third place if you don't count 2006 releases. As for the film's long-term chances, those are not so rosy. It's a super hero movie, which tend to suffer from the Fanboy Effect, and the poor reviews won't help. A 60% drop-off could be inevitable next weekend while reaching $100 million isn't guaranteed. But, that said, its opening weekend is the shot in the arm the industry was looking for.

A lot of people had Bridge to Terabithia placing third, but an effective, if misleading, ad campaign and the best reviews of any wide release of the year helped it score a solid second place. Over the three-day portion of the weekend the film made $22.6 million while over four is managed $28.5 million. Depending on the film's production budget, and reports have varied, this could be enough to show a profit sometime during its international run. However, even a worst case scenario has it breaking even sometime during its initial push into the home market.

Norbit lived down to its reviews, falling 50% to $16.8 million, and that's with inflated Sunday numbers thanks to Monday's holiday. Adding in Monday, the film made $19.9 million for a total of $62.0 million after 11 days in release. This film will go down as a midlevel hit, but it's not likely that it will be something Eddie Murphy will want to be remembered for.

The first of the Valentine's Day romantic comedies was Music and Lyrics. While the film had to settle for second place on Wednesday, it held up better than Daddy's Little Girls, earning $13.6 million over 3 days, $15.9 million over 4, and $21.4 million since Wednesday. This six-day total is well below Wednesday's predictions, but at least the long weekend portion was in line with Thursday's lowered expectations. Given its reviews, which as among the best of the year so far, and its genre, the film should have reasonable legs and wind up a midlevel hit.

The same can't be said for its fellow Valentine's Day release, Daddy's Little Girls, which will be saved only by its low, low production budget. After a weaker than expected, but still number one, opening on Wednesday, the film plummeted 75% on Thursday before earning $11.2 million over the three-day weekend and $13.1 million over four. Overall, the film has made $18.8 million, which is probably more than it cost to make. But with terrible reviews and a history of short legs, this film may not make that much during the rest of its run.

The final new release this week was Breach, which like Ghost Rider made more over three days than it was expected to make over four. On the other hand, its opening of $10.5 / $12.3 million is still not that impressive. At least with a strong per theater average and even stronger reviews, the film should be able to expand its theater count somewhat. This should help its legs and put it on pace to show a profit sometime during its home market run.

We now get to the sophomore class, which had only one member that didn't make the top five this week. Hannibal Rising fell more than 50%, and that's comparing its 4-day weekend to its 3-day opening. During its three-day weekend it was down nearly 60% to $5.4 million while including Monday it made $6.3 million. Overall, the film has made just $22.9 million, which is lower than the opening weekend gross of two of the previous installments.

Finally we have some more milestones. Night at the Museum has overtaken X-Men: The Last Stand in third place for 2006, and at this pace Cars is next. It is no longer a question of if, but when. Also, Dreamgirls may have been knocked out of the top 10, but it did cross $100 million on Monday. Barely.

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Filed under: Night at the Museum, Ghost Rider, Dreamgirls, Norbit, Bridge to Terabithia, Music and Lyrics, Breach, Daddy's Little Girls, Hannibal Rising