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Game Over for September

September 27th, 2007

September ends with little fanfare, but there are a couple of films that should be battling for first place. So while no movie really has a shot at superstardom, the race for first should at least be fun to watch. That said, the overall box office appears weak and will likely not keep pace with last year, making it two weekends in the row of year-to-year declines. Hardly reason to panic after the strong winning streak, but something to watch.

While the race for first place will be close, I see The Game Plan coming out on top. This is not because of its reviews, because they are very weak. It's not because of the star power as Dwayne Johnson hasn't turned into the massive movie star many expected him to be. In fact, it's just simply the right time to release a movie for kids as families will want something to do to celebrate surviving the first month of the new school year. $20 million seems to be the baseline here, but $25 million or even $30 million isn't out of the question. I'm going with a prediction of $22 million.

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Next up is The Kingdom, a drama about terrorism, which should help it since it is so topical. However, the reviews are a little on the low side, which is especially difficult to deal with since the more mature target audience for the film tend to read and trust reviews more. That said, there's enough here for the film to come out on top on Friday, but the family friendly nature of The Game Plan should give it a better internal multiplier, leaving The Kingdom in second place with just over $20 million.

The Resident Evil franchise has never been known for long, long legs and the first two both fell more than 60% during their second weekend of release. Resident Evil: Extinction won't change that. Everything, from the reviews, to the genre, to the sequel effect suggest a greater than 60% drop-off. This would give the film $9 million over the weekend for a running tally of $38 million or so.

Good Luck Chuck did well enough during its opening and even with some of the worst reviews of the year it shouldn't suffer as steep a drop-off as Resident Evil: Extinction will. That said, it won't show strong legs either and a 50% drop-off is certainly a possibility. Even if it avoids that fate, it won't be by much and $8 million is the upper limit of its weekend box office while $7 million is a little more likely.

Fifth place will be a battle between The Brave One and 3:10 to Yuma, both of which will grab around $4 million.

The final wide release is Feast of Love, which is opening in just 1,200 theaters. It does have the best reviews of any wide release of the weekend, but without a strong enough marketing push, that won't matter. There's a small chance the film will miss the top ten with $2 million, but $3 million is more likely. Add it to the long list of MGM missteps.

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Filed under: The Game Plan, Resident Evil: Extinction, The Kingdom, The Brave One, Good Luck Chuck, The Feast of Love, 3:10 to Yuma