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Move Over Ghost Rider, there's a New Gang in Town

March 6th, 2007

March came in like a lion, with Wild Hogs earning the third best opening ever for the month. Even with the other new releases missing expectations, the overall box office still climbed to $124 million. That's up nearly 6% from last weekend and 20% from the same weekend last year.

With $39.7 million over the weekend, Wild Hogs became the third biggest March opener and the biggest debut for a non-cameo role for both Tim Allen and John Travolta. Interestingly, the film opened on Friday with $11.3 million, which was in line with Thursday's expectations. However, the film had an amazingly high 3.53 internal multiplier. Given slightly older target demographic, this isn't too surprising, but one would expect with awful reviews the word-of-mouth would be very weak. This coming weekend there will be two diametrically opposed forces at work: the poor reviews and the older demographic. The former suggests a short run while that latter says $100 million is nearly guaranteed at the box office. By this time next week we'll find out which one won out.

Zodiac rode the best reviews of the year to a soft second place with $13.4 million. This film is a serial killer flick by the same director that brought us Se7en. It should have opened better. And yet, even with 12 years of inflation, the film still opened with $500,000 less in terms of raw dollars. Even if it has amazing holds over the next couple of weeks and a very strong international run, it's going to have a hard time recouping its $85 million production budget.

Ghost Rider surrendered its hold on top spot but it performed better than expected, adding $11.6 million over the weekend for a total of $94.8 million. Given this performance, $100 million should be reached early in the weekend and the film's final box office could be $115 million or higher. There were not many people who expected that.

Bridge to Terabithia matched predictions nearly perfectly with $8.9 million and that lifted its running tally to $58.2 million. This is nearly the low end of the film's estimated production budget and considering how well the film should do on the home market, it is well on its way to profitability.

As expected, Number 23 fell fast this weekend, down more than 55% to $6.5 million, which is almost exactly in line with Thursday's expectations. Overall, the film has made $24.1 million, which is well below Jim Carrey's career average, which might explain why he fired his agents recently.

The final new release of the weekend was Black Snake Moan, which missed lowered expectations with just $4.1 million. This means Justin Timberlake it oh for four when it comes to producing hits (assuming Southland gets pushed around a bit more before going direct-to-DVD). If Shrek the Third bombs, the man is officially cursed. Speaking of Cursed, Christina Ricci has now gone 10 films and nearly 8 years without a hit, although she has done some smaller, challenging films that earned her critical praise during that stretch. The only one of the main cast I have no worries about is Samuel L. Jackson.

There was a mixed bag for the sophomore class. Reno 911: Miami finished on top of the group with $3.9 million, but that was down more than 60% from its opening. At least its running tally is above its expected production budget. Amazing Grace was the only film to hold up well as it was down just over 30% to $2.8 million, but that was not enough to keep it in the top ten. The Astronaut Farmer also fell out of the top ten, down 50% to $2.2 million, while The Abandoned plummeted more than 75% to just $185,000 on 515 screens. Given the average cost of a print, it would have been better for the film to have skipped the theatrical release altogether and gone direct-to-DVD.

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Filed under: Wild Hogs, Ghost Rider, Bridge to Terabithia, The Number 23, Zodiac, Reno 911!: Miami, The Astronaut Farmer, Black Snake Moan, The Abandoned, Amazing Grace