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Disturbing News for New Releases

April 23rd, 2007

It was a slow weekend at the box office as most of the new releases, and a couple of the holdovers, were unable to live up to expectations. How slow was it? The overall box office dropped below $100 million. It fell 25% from last weekend to just $89 million and that's a severe 19% drop-off from the same weekend last year. In fact this was the worst weekend since last September. However, it is important to note that overall 2007 is still ahead of last year's pace by 5% and most analysts expect many, many records to fall this summer.

While I was expecting a pleasant surprise this past weekend, none came. This left Disturbia with a clear path to first place as it earned $13.0 million over the weekend and lifted its total to $40.2 million after just 10 days. There are some mixed reports on how much the film cost to make, but even if the high end is accurate, this movie is still well on its way to profitability. It should make it there sometime during its international run, if not sooner.

Fracture also came in on the high end of Thursday's expectations, pulling in $11.0 million and scoring second place. The film earned overwhelmingly positive reviews, which should help it hold strong at the box office. However, it only has one more week before Spider-man 3 opens and destroys all competition, so it had better earn as much as it can, as fast as it can.

Blades of Glory wasn't able to keep pace with expectations, but that hardly matters this weekend as the film was still able to cross $100 million. Also, while its $7.7 million was lower than expected, it was still able to place third thanks to weaker than expected competition. This is the fourth film to reach $100 million this year and that is the earliest we've ever reached that milestone. The previous fastest to four happened on April 26th, 2003 when Anger Management reached that milestone.

Vacancy stumbled out of the gate with just $7.6 million. That was lower than Thursday's prediction, but within the rather wide margin of error given. Even with reviews that are better than expected, its per theater average suggests a short theatrical run as theater owners won't be willing to keep this film any longer than contractually obligated. Perhaps it will have a better time on the home market.

After strong holds the past two weeks, Meet the Robinsons fell more than 44% to just under $7.0 million for a total of $82.1 million. While this is hardly a shocking drop-off, it does put $100 million in doubt. Its per theater average also suggests a sharp acceleration in the rate at which is sheds theaters, making that milestone even harder to reach. Perhaps if it gets close enough the studio will give it that extra push its needs to make it there, but it is too soon to tell.

Next up was Hot Fuzz, which placed sixth with $5.8 million in 825 theaters. On the one hand, this is an improvement over Shaun of the Dead in terms of raw box office, theater count, and per theater average. On the other hand, this is still lower than my admittedly lofty predictions. Its per theater average of just over $7000 was the second highest of the weekend and should be enough to entice some theater owners to pick it up next weekend, unless of course Spider-man 3 scares them away. Overall one has to be at least moderately happy with the film's start, and given the supreme reviews it should perform even better in the long term.

MySpace marketing wasn't able to lift In the Land of Women as it earned even less than traditional logic predicted. Over the weekend, the film managed just $4.7 milliona and with the per theater average of just $2,187 and mixed reviews it is unlikely to last in theaters much beyond next week.

There was a crowded sophomore class this weekend and most of last week's new films fell out of the top ten (or were never there to begin with). The best of these releases was Perfect Stranger, although best seems like the wrong word to use to describe this film's performance. During its second weekend of release the film was down 63% to $4.1 million for a 10-day total of $18.1 million. Pathfinder fell a nearly identical percentage, but had a slower start, leaving it with just $1.9 million over the weekend and $8.2 million in total. Redline was just a bit weaker, down 67% to $1.3 million over the weekend and just under $6.0 million after two. Now we get to the real hard cases. Aqua Teen Hunger Force COLON Movie Film for Theaters was down more than 71% to a mere $854,000 over the weekend and $4.6 million in total; good news, the film cost only $750,000 to make and has already shown a profit. The same can't be said of Slow Burn as that film plummeted nearly 85% to just $119,000 on 755 screens for a total of just $1.2 million. This is the second biggest drop-off ever as only Undiscovered's sophomore stint was worse, and that wasn't by much.

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Filed under: Blades of Glory, Meet the Robinsons, Disturbia, Fracture, Perfect Stranger, Hot Fuzz, Vacancy, In the Land of Women, Pathfinder, Redline, Slow Burn, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters