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Grinding the Competition to Dust

April 5th, 2007

While there are four wide releases opening this Easter weekend, only one of them, Grindhouse, is given much of a shot at first place. The rest of the new releases are tracking for a middling start, a weak opening and a disastrous debut.

Grindhouse has been talked about on the Internet for months and months. Now we get to see if that hype can be translated into box office dollars. There are a lot of positives, including reviews that are currently hovering around an amazing 90% positive. Add in two directors that have a loyal following and plenty of actors who, while not A-listers, certainly add to the overall cool factor of the movie, and this has the makings of a box office hit. Tracking has the film opening with between $20 million and $25 million, but I see this one surprising analysts this weekend grabbing $30 million, give or take a million, and I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it cracked $40 million (I'm not betting on it, but it has the potential). On the other hand, the Fanboy Effect is going to crush this film and it might earn more during its opening week than it does during the entire rest of its run.

One last note for Grindhouse, it is opening tonight in 13 cities before big opening tomorrow. Those cities are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C.

Last week's winner, Blades of Glory, has shown strong midweek numbers, especially since there were two wide openings yesterday. Midweek growth helped it hold on to first place on Wednesday with $3.0 million, which is nearly 20% more than Monday's figure. Its first place run could end tonight with the opening of The Reaping, but it should rebound over the weekend and place second. The older members of its target audience, those who can get into R-rated movies, will likely be siphoned off by Grindhouse while the holiday should help to soften the blow with the teens. Tracking has it coming in at $18 million, but anything from $16 to $20 million would be within expectations. As for the film's long term goal of $100 million, obviously the more it makes this weekend the easier it will be to reach that milestone. Anything lower than $16 million probably won't be enough, but $18 million should be.

Meet the Robinsons should be just a little bit behind thanks to the family friendly nature of the long weekend and the overall positive reviews. It should see a sophomore stint drop-off of 40%, or a little less, which would give the film $16 to $17 million over the weekend and $51 million in total. This is well below other Disney animated movies, but at least they have a Pixar release coming out later this summer to boost their yearly figures.

There are plenty of words that can be used to described an effective horror film. "Silly" is not one of them. However, that seems to be a very popular word among critics when describing The Reaping. While the movie is getting killed by critics, it is not all negative. Most of the cast are given good words including Hilary Swank, AnnaSophia Robb, and Idris Elba. Also, there was a strong potential for the movie to be at least entertaining in a B-movie kind of way. But it all falls apart in the end, killing what camp enjoyment there could have been. Even so, the film has been given a huge push publicity-wise and that should help it win tonight with just under $4 million while taking in just over $12 million over the weekend.

Agree? Disagree? Had to dodge raining toads on the way to work this morning? Then check out our latest box office contest.

Are We Done Yet? didn't get off to a strong start yesterday; in fact, its $2.0 million was only enough for third place. This is bad news any way you slice it and with reviews that just can't help the film, it might struggle to earn $10 million by the end of the weekend. How well it holds on tonight will determine that. The worst case scenario has the film falling by 50% tonight to just $1 million while taking in $4 to $5 million over the weekend for a total of $7.5 million. Even if it only drops 25% tonight that would still give it a hard time crossing $10 million over the weekend with $9 million being the most likely number.

The move from summer to spring has proven disastrous for Firehouse Dog. Last night the film was only able to open in eighth place with just $600,000. I can't see the film recovering from this point, even if the word-of-mouth is better than the reviews would otherwise indicate. Even if the film shows mild growth tonight, it would have a hard time reaching $5 million over the weekend. I would bet money that it would make much more than half that. Just over $2.5 million over the weekend and just under $4 million after five days would be a terrible start, but that's what the early numbers suggest.


Filed under: Blades of Glory, Meet the Robinsons, The Reaping, Grindhouse, Firehouse Dog, Are We Done Yet?