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Moviegoers Cheer Mutant Good Guys

March 27th, 2007

Six wide releases in a single weekend appears to have been at least three too many as most struggled at the box office. On the other hand, with so many new films opening and so many different demographics being targeted, it was a good week at the box office overall with receipts hitting $133 million, up 14% from last week and 22% from last year. Year-to-date revenue has already hit $2 billion and is clocking in at nearly 6% higher than last year's pace. More importantly, the number of big hits is increasing interest, and that can have a positive effect on future earnings. I feel confident in saying records will fall this year.

It appears that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was able to cannibalize much of Shooter's target demographic. Over the weekend the films earned, on average, as much as analysts were expected, but TMNT was easily able to grab the win with $24.3 million. This is not the best opening for a TMNT film, but does come close to the $25.4 million earned by the original back in 1990. However, given the 27% positive, the competition and the state of the industry, it won't have anywhere near the same legs. That said, it should still show a profit by its initial push into the home market.

300 was surprisingly strong this weekend given all of the competition and scored second pace with $19.9 million. That puts its running tally at $161.7 million and makes $200 million a much easier goal to reach.

Shooter opened in third place with $14.5 million. It's hard to be enthusiastic about this figure and any complement would feel like damning it with faint praise. For instance, it is coming out on top with reviews that are better than most, but hardly strong enough to be a selling feature. Its per theater average was not particularly strong, but not tragic either. Solidly mediocre. On the other hand, one has to wonder if the film would have performed better had it opened last weekend when the competition wasn't quite as strong. That's a question we won't know the answer to, but could haunt some studio executive over the next few days.

Wild Hogs again performed better than expected, adding $13.9 million to its running tally of $123.3 million. The film should close in on $150 million during the next few weeks, and even if it was overpriced it should show a profit before it hits the home market.

The Last Mimzy matched expectations nearly perfectly with $10.0 million. However, weaker than expected competition allowed it to grab fifth place. This is a film that doesn't have a very strong future despite earning strong reviews (only two other films in the top ten earned better). Its per theater average was just $3,323, which means theater owners won't be willing to hold on to it for very long and there's direct competition opening on Friday and that could hurt the film's legs. Perhaps it can surprise analysts, but it will likely have to wait until the home market to earn the bulk of its revenue.

Just missing the top five was The Hills Have Eyes 2 with $9.7 million. This was in line with expectations, but on the low side. The same can be said of the reviews, which ended the weekend at a mere 12% positive. Add in sequelitis and the genre and it is very likely that the film will see a serious drop-off this coming weekend and will be out of theaters by mid-April.

Reign Over Me lived up to lowered expectations nearly perfectly with $7.5 million. This is in line with other Adam Sandler dramas, and the lowest opening figure for a wide release headlined by the funnyman since Billy Madison. On the other hand, it did earn some of the best reviews of his career and could help him slowly mold his reputation and get moviegoers to accept him in more serious roles.

It turns out moviegoers were not interested in watching a movie about swimming, even one based on real life events and featuring an inspirational coach. This hurt Pride's opening, and it managed just ninth place with $3.5 million. With reviews that are merely average and a weak per theater average of $2,328, this film won't last in theaters long. The only positive here is the production budget, which was likely much, much lower than industry average.

Looking in on the sophomore class, none of last week's wide releases were able to reach the top five this week, but Premonition was the best of the group, finishing in seventh place with $9.6 million, down 45.54% from last weekend. Overall, it has made $31.7 million and could be considered a midlevel hit. Dead Silence just managed a spot in the top ten, down 56% to $3.4 million, while I Think I Love My Wife was down 51% to $2.8 million and finished one place lower.

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Filed under: Wild Hogs, TMNT, Premonition, Shooter, The Last Mimzy, The Hills Have Eyes II, Reign Over Me, Dead Silence, I Think I Love My Wife, Pride, 300