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Holdovers were Super while New Releases were Bad

August 27th, 2007

Holdovers went one-two-three on the box office chart this week, which is not a completely uncommon event. However, with six wide or wide-ish releases, you would think at least one could finish in the top three. The collapse of the new releases helped keep the overall box office down to $108 million, which was 17% lower than last weekend. However, that is still 4% higher than the same weekend last year and keeps summer 2007 on a record-setting pace. In fact, it has hit $4 billion for the first time ever, so there's plenty of reasons to celebrate.

To say Superbad matched expectations is an understatement as its sophomore-stint box office of $18.04 million was less than $50,000 away from Thursday's prediction. To put this into perspective, the movie only cost roughly $17.5 million to make and its 10-day total of $68.62 million means its it about a week from reaching profitability. Additionally, the film should have little trouble reaching $100 million before the end of its run, even taking into account the sudden drop-off in midweek numbers with the end of summer. This would make it the 20th film to reach $100 million so far this year, but it would take a Fall season that's awfully special to break the record for most $100 million movies in a single year. More importantly, Judd Apatow's new class of high quality, lowbrow humor it certainly proving profitable. Hopefully when others try and imitate him they will recognize it takes well-written characters for these films to work, not just a lot of R-rated content.

The Bourne Ultimatum rose to second place with an amazing $12.47 million during its fourth week of release. The film has already brought in $185.25 million during its run, more than the previous installments managed and will have little trouble becoming the 8th film to reach $200 million this year. Add in international numbers which could push the film's worldwide box office to $400 million or more, and I can imagine some studio executives trying to get another installment out of the franchise. However, the novels it is based on ended after three, so instead of doing that, they should just find another franchise for Matt Damon to lead.

On the other hand, I can't imagine a lot of studio executives trying to make Rush Hour 4. Rush Hour 3 isn't doing badly at the box office, actually. In fact, this weekend it crossed $100 million. However, its weekend haul of $11.71 million gives it just $108.47 million, putting it on pace to miss the $141.19 million the first Rush Hour made back in 1998. Add in nearly a decade worth of inflation and a ballooning production budget and it may have been a mistake to stretch the franchise to a trilogy.

The first of the week's wide releases was Mr. Bean's Holiday, which was the only new release to surprise in a positive way. The film finished in fourth place with $9.89 million in just 1,714 theaters for the second best per theater average in the top ten. Will $5,770 be enough to entice theater owners to add this film this coming weekend? Probably not, but with 51% positive reviews, it could hang on better than most films do this time of year.

Rounding out the top five was War with an opening weekend box office of $9.82 million. This is a little weaker than expected and the same can be said of its reviews, but both were close enough to call it a victory. On the other hand, I don't expect the film to stick around very long in theaters as Jet Li movies tend to be very front-loaded. Perhaps it will find a second life on the home market like many Jason Statham films do.

The next new release was The Nanny Diaries, which placed sixth with $7.48 million. Again, this is lower than expected but not terribly so. However, even with a target audience that is less likely to run out to the theaters on opening weekend, the film's reviews will likely result in poor legs and a disappointing final tally.

Moving down the list, way down the list, the rest of the new releases all failed to make any impact at the box office. Resurrecting the Champ parlayed its best reviews of the week into a tiny $1.66 million opening. Illegal Tender didn't even have solid reviews to work with and finished one place lower in 16th with $1.43 million. Finally, there are conflicting reports regarding September Dawn, as the film may have made $900,000 or $600,000. Hopefully this will be cleared up shortly, but regardless, it has to be considered a bomb.

Moving onto the sophomore class, The Invasion didn't completely collapse, down 48% to $3.09 million for the week. However, its 10-day total of $11.47 million is a disaster for a film that cost $70 million, or more, to make. The Last Legion wasn't significantly cheaper to make and it only managed $902,000 for a 10-day total of $5.04 million.

One final note for the weekend, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hit $283.23 million, which may not seem like an important milestone, but it is above the average for the franchise thus far. The next pseudo-milestone for the film is $285.72 million, which is what the films must average if the franchise is to top $2 billion domestically. At this pace, the franchise will miss that milestone, but it will be very close. So close that if the studio re-releases all the movies just before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hits theaters, it might be able to pull in the $10 million or so needed to get it over the top.

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Filed under: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Ultimatum, Rush Hour 3, Superbad, Mr. Bean's Holiday, The Nanny Diaries, War, The Invasion, The Last Legion, Resurrecting the Champ, Illegal Tender, September Dawn