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Halloween has Furious Beginning

September 4th, 2007

The summer ended on a strong note, including a record-breaking opening by Halloween. Overall the box office earning $118 million over the 3-day weekend, which was up 8% from last weekend and 16% from the same weekend last year. Over 4 days, the box office total was $149 million, up 15% from last year. With records broken for total box office, number of $300 million movies, number of $200 million movies, and more, this is a summer most movie executives will deeply miss.

After collapsing in 2002 with Halloween: Resurrection, the franchise was reborn over the weekend with Halloween as it topped all expectations with $26.36 million over three days and $30.59 million over four, both of which are new Labor Day long weekend records. In fact, it was able to make more over four days than the last film made in total. This is quite surprising as the buzz wasn't that strong. The director's two previous films made only $29.63 million combined while the reviews were terrible with some of the most aggressive complaints coming from genre fans. Furthermore, both remakes and horror films were in a slump, not to mention the weak release date. All this suggested a poor showing, but I guess the lack of competition helped. As for the film's long term chances, if we look at Jeepers Creepers II, that film made $18.37 million over its first four days, and just $17.26 million more during the rest of its run. If the same holds true here, Halloween will end its run with just under $60 million, but that will still be more than enough to ensure profitability rather soon.

As expected, Superbad remained strong in second place with $12.47 million over three days and $15.85 million if you include Monday. This gives the film a running tally of $92.69 million and puts it on pace to hit $100 million by this time next weekend while it has earned enough to show a profit just taking into account the film's domestic box office and that's a rare feat.

After tripping up during its opening two days, Balls of Fury picked it up over the weekend with $11.35 million over three days, $14.11 million over four, and $17.07 million in total. This is more than was expected of the film on Wednesday, which makes the weak midweek opening harder to explain. One could say the word-of-mouth grew as the weekend wore on, but the reviews suggest otherwise. I'm going with my original hypothesis of chemical impairment. As for the film's long-term chances, I don't expect it to make much more over the rest of its theatrical run as it has made so far, which makes $40 million the upper ceiling. However, that's more than enough to ensure a profit sometime during its home market run.

The Bourne Ultimatum became the eighth film of 2007 to reach the $200 million milestone after it took in $10.41 million / $13.39 million. The film has already topped the running tally of Ratatouille, which reached that milestone on Saturday, while it has its eyes set on 300 for sixth place on the yearly chart. It should top that film's total of $210.59 million in roughly one week's time.

The final film in the top five was Rush Hour 3 with $8.40 / $10.84 million over the weekend. It's closing in on the first Rush Hour and its box office final tally of $141.19 million, but with a rapidly declining theater count, it might not make it there.

The final wide release of the week was Death Sentence, but that film more or less bombed in eighth place with $4.23 million / $5.34 million. Given its reviews and its per theater average, I can see a lot of theater owners dropping the movie as soon as they are contractually able to.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we find plenty of films to discuss as none of the previous week's new releases stayed in the top five. Despite being helped by its family friendly nature, Mr. Bean's Holiday fell nearly 40% during the three-day portion of the weekend, the second worst in the top ten, but it did earn $5.98 million / $7.93 million. The Nanny Diaries was next down just over 30% to $5.14 million / $6.57 million, which was an average performance. War collapsed down more than 57% to $4.18 million over the weekend while its 4-day total of $5.33 million represents a 45% decline, which would have still been the worst drop-off in the top ten.

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Filed under: The Bourne Ultimatum, Ratatouille, Rush Hour 3, Superbad, Halloween, Mr. Bean's Holiday, Balls of Fury, The Nanny Diaries, War, Death Sentence