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Trying to End on a High

December 28th, 2007

It's the final weekend of 2007 and, like most years, there are no wide releases to deal with. However, there are three films that opened wide on Christmas Day, as well as five films from the weekend, and two others from the weekend before that. All in all, there's plenty to discuss.

There is little doubt that National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets will remain in first place this weekend. The only question is how well will it hold up. Given its reviews, one could expect a 20% drop-off over the weekend, but others are expecting it will be nearly flat and repeat its $44 million opening. Regardless which end of the spectrum it reaches, it will top $100 million over the weekend and if it earns $40 million like I'm predicting, $200 million isn't out of the question.

Speaking of $200 million, I Am Legend will also get there, but not this weekend. After Christmas Day, the film had pulled in $150 million and is tracking for a weekend box office between $25 million and $30 million. The closer it gets to that top end the more likely it will cross $200 million before the year ends and a prediction of $28 million should get it there.

The final days of the Christmas break should help the family friendly Alvin and the Chipmunks over the weekend as it adds to its $100 million running tally. Some think it could grow to hit $30 million or more, while others see a soft decline to $25 million over the next three days. Splitting the difference gives us $27.5 million and puts it in a virtual tie with I Am Legend for second place.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is the first of the films to debut on Christmas day. While it earned third place that day, the poor reviews and the Fanboy Effect will hurt the film and force it into fourth place with $17 million over the weekend.

Charlie Wilson's War should see a little growth this weekend, adding just over $10 million to its box office numbers. That would give the film a running tally of $35 million, but it would need a lot more Oscar buzz to reach even halfway to original expectations.

The Great Debaters should be close behind with just under $10 million. Strong reviews should help, but the award-season buzz is just not there and this will mean it will not be until its release on the home market that it finds an audience.

The end of holidays will help The Water Horse more than most films, but it won't be enough to crack $10 million over the weekend. In fact, it might not crack $9 million. The reviews are quite good, but I fear not good enough to save it at this point. Perhaps its international run will be significantly better and it will show a profit eventually, but that doesn't seem entirely likely at this point.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has to deal with a surprisingly high Fanboy factor for a musical. On the other hand, word-of-mouth is building to match the reviews, and it could see a bounce this weekend. It might even top $10 million, but I think $9 million is more likely.

Juno should climb a spot to ninth thanks to an expansion on Christmas Day and its award-worthy reviews. As the film, and Ellen Page, keep earning nominations, I expect the film to keep expanding into 1,000 theaters, and perhaps wider. I would look for close to $8 million this weekend, which would give it more than $20 million so far.

The final film in the top ten should be P.S., I Love You. Good news, the film should remain flat this weekend, it might even climb a bit. Bad news, that will still give the film just $7 million this weekend.


Filed under: I am Legend, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Juno, Charlie Wilson's War, P.S. I Love You, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, The Great Debaters