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Newcomers Try to Knock Pirates out of Top Spot

May 31st, 2007

The post holiday weekend sees three new releases, but for the first time in three weeks, there's no massive blockbuster on the horizon and there's little chance we will have a new number one at the box office.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End opened a little slower than expected over Memorial Day weekend, and with reviews that have slipped below the 50% positive rating, there are concerns that the film's legs will suffer from poor word-of-mouth. There is practically no chance the film will have the same legs as Curse of the Black Pearl; then again, almost no films released these days do. However, it even seems unlikely that it will match Dead Man's Chest in that regard either. To match that film it would have to fall 54% or less, giving it just under $53 million for the weekend, but that's a tad higher than most analysts are willing to predict. A 60% drop-off would give the film $46 million over the weekend and an 11-day total of nearly $220 million. Split the difference gives us $50 million for the weekend and a clear path to $300 million overall. However, this is still a lot lower than expectations and a troubling sign for any possible additions to the franchise.

The widest new release of the week is also the best-reviewed wide release of the year. Knocked Up is the second film from Judd Apatow, who got his start making the highly acclaimed, and short-lived, TV series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Fortunately his movie-directing career has been more lucrative and this film has a solid shot at second place with just over $30 million. While that would puts on pace to crack $100 million, this is a little more bullish than most analysts are predicting, but there is a huge audience for character-driven comedies, especially ones aimed at adults.

Agree? Disagree? Rather have a one-night stand than go to the movies? Then check out our latest box office contest.

Shrek the Third took a big hit last weekend, falling more than 56%, and with a post holiday weekend, it won't recover that much this weekend. Shrek 2 fell more than 47% during its third weekend of release, and that would give this film just under $28 million this weekend. However, it is important to note that that film earned far superior reviews and that undoubtedly helped its legs. If Shrek the Third doesn't improve this weekend, it will take in $23 million, or less, which could make $300 million a little difficult to reach and will certainly make the studio nervous about Shrek 4. The former is more likely than the latter and it could in fact capture second place with just over $30 million, but third place with $28 million is a safer bet.

Next up is the second new release of the week, Mr. Brooks. Early reviews were amazing, in the 80% range, but they have since cooled off dramatically and are struggling to stay at 50% positive. This will undoubtedly hurt the film's box office chances, especially since suspense films are more quality dependent than action movies, for instance. To be fair, the movie isn't terrible and there are a number of reasons to check it out, it's just that for most people, it can wait till the home market. Look for $11 million over the weekend and $30 - $40 million overall.

Rounding out the top five should be Spider-man 3 as it continues its yearly-chart-topping pace. The film should add just over $7 million over the weekend for a running tally of just under $318 million. It will then hit $325 million shortly after that, but at this pace even $350 million is out of reach. It has already made a profit, even if the rumored $500 million total price tag is more accurate than the studio was willing to admit, but it will still be seen as a disappointment to many.

The final new release of the week is Gracie, the inspirational sports movie based on real life events. The film's reviews are only average; it is inspirational, but also very predictable. Given its theater count of barely more than 1,000 and an ad campaign that isn't even prevalent enough for that, the film will have a tough time finding an audience this weekend. On the high end it could score $5 or $6 million and challenge Spider-Man for fifth place. On the low end it could fail to grab $1 million and miss the top ten altogether. It should finish comfortably in the middle giving it just under $4 million for the weekend and roughly $10 million in total. On a side note, Carly Schroeder has earned quite a bit of praise for her performance here and should find bigger and better roles in the future.


Filed under: Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Knocked Up, Mr. Brooks, Gracie