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Shrek Sets His Sights on Spidey

May 17th, 2007

So far May has been softer than expected. Sure, Spider-man 3 opened with a record breaking weekend, but since then it has started tracking below expectations. Meanwhile, every other film has missed their modest expectations, some by large margins. This weekend things should get back on track with one of the most anticipated films of the year debuting tomorrow, but even here there are some warning signs.

The weekend before the Memorial Day long weekend is arguably the best weekend of the year to open a blockbuster movie. In the past, this particular weekend has been home to such hits as The Da Vinci Code, The Matrix Reloaded, the Star Wars prequels, and of course, the previous two Shrek films. This alone makes analysts very bullish on Shrek the Third and there are very few who don't think it will crack $100 million over the weekend. On the other hand, they are more evenly split on whether it will top Shrek 2's opening weekend total of $108 million.

There's a lot of buzz surrounding Shrek 3, but perhaps not as much as anticipated. Also, like the previous trilogy, this latest Shrek film isn't wowing the critics as much as the first two films did. In fact, it has fallen below the overall positive level and was flirting with a mere 50% positive earlier in the day. The critics are not hostile toward the movie; they admit it has all the right parts, or to be most accurate, all the same parts. There doesn't seem to be much fresh here, which is especially troubling given Shrek 4 is already in the works.

Even with these issues, the film should still be a monster hit, opening with more than $100 million over the weekend. At the high end, Shrek the Third could pull in $125 million, but $110 million is a safer bet. As for the film's overall box office, $400 million is still the target, but it is going to be awfully close.

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The film's biggest competition is Spider-man 3. Oh, let's face facts, Spider-man 3 is the film's only competition. Not only were the rest of May's wide releases D.O.A., the week's only other scheduled wide release, Captivity, was pushed back due to a dispute with the MPAA. That leaves Spider-man 3 a clear path to second place and should help it recover somewhat from last weekend's massive drop-off. While the film was down more than 60% last weekend, it is tracking for a 50% drop-off this weekend, which would leave it with $29 million over the next three days, and just over $280 million after 17. This does mean the film will miss out on the fastest to $300 million by quite a margin and will make $400 million nearly impossible giving it a very Lost World-like run.

28 Weeks Later will grab third place, almost by default. The only real question is whether it will avoid a 50% drop-off this weekend. Odds are it will, but with just over $5 million, it will be close.

The same question is being asked of Georgia Rule. On the one hand, it's target audience suggests it should be able to perform this simple feat with ease, but its reviews suggest otherwise. It is tracking at $3 million to $4 million and splitting the difference gives us a prediction of $3.5 million.

Finally we have Disturbia, which is the only film since Blades of Glory that has shown any legs at the box office. Unless something unexpected happens, the film will make its sixth appearance in the top five with roughly $3 million. This will push its total to $71 million, which might be enough to show a small profit and this is not taking into account international numbers, home market, etc.

One last note, Waitress is expanding again this weekend, and has a shot at taking a spot in the top ten. It will need to make $1.1 million - $1.2 million to do so, which will be tough, but not out of the question.


Filed under: Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Disturbia, Waitress, Georgia Rule, 28 Weeks Later