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Evan Makes Executives Uptighty

June 25th, 2007

The box office was off last year's pace, again, this time it is mainly due to the box office struggles of the overall box office leader, Evan Almighty, which missed lowered expectations. Overall the industry added $132 million over the weekend, which was down 9% from last weekend and 6% from the same weekend last year. It is not time to panic, yet, but if we don't see the box office rebound over the next few weeks, industry talk will switch from the big hits to the misses, and that tends to worsen a depressed market even more.

No one really expected Evan Almighty to live up to its predecessor, but most were expecting it would be a lot closer than it was. Even Thursday's lowered expectations weren't low enough and the film opened with just $31.2 million. That was still enough for an easy first place finish, but nowhere near high enough to recover its $175 million production budget. Perhaps if the film has better than average legs it can top $100 million, but its terrible reviews suggest otherwise. After this debut, it would really take a miracle to show a profit any time soon. Hopefully this won't be a black mark on Steve Carell's career as he is still one of the most reliable comedians out there.

The real winner of the weekend was 1408, which placed second with a stronger than expected opening of $20.6 million. Strong reviews should help compensate for a genre that is not know for its legs, and $60 million is the new target for its theatrical run, while $75 million isn't out of the question. That would be enough to pay for its production budget while showing a profit early in its home market run.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer fell faster than expected, down just over 65.5% to $20.0 million while it failed to reach $100 million over the weekend. (It will have made it there late tonight or early tomorrow, on the other hand.) How profitable it will be depends a lot on its performance overseas, but I expect a third film in the franchise by 2009.

As expected, Ocean's Thirteen placed fourth with $11.4 million over the weekend and now has $91.1 million in total.

Knocked Up was closer than expected, finishing just a hair below $11.0 million while crossing $100 million at the box office. In fact, its running tally of $109,323,845 is just below the final tally of Judd Apatow's previous film, The 40-Year Old Virgin.

The final wide release of the week was A Mighty Heart, which just managed to finish in the top ten with a mere $3.9 million. Granted, its theater count was low but a per theater average of $2,914 suggests there's no room to grow and even strong reviews won't help the film last that much longer.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Nancy Drew showed off some nice legs, down less than 36% to $4.4 million for the weekend and $16.1 million in total. However, that is a case of too little too late. Speaking of too little, DOA: Dead or Alive would have set a new record for fastest sophomore stint drop-off at 91.93%, if it were a wide release. As it is, it managed just $21,000 over the weekend for an anemic total of $468,000.

One last note, Shrek the Third reached $300 million since last weekend while both the Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises have now earned more than $1 billion domestically.

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Filed under: Shrek the Third, Knocked Up, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ocean's Thirteen, Evan Almighty, Nancy Drew, A Mighty Heart, DOA: Dead or Alive, 1408