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Scary Start to the Year

January 6th, 2006

The first full weekend of 2006 brings us three wide releases, two of which were not screened for critics. The only film that is being reviewed is the latest sadistic horror film from Lionsgate. But while the overall box office will suffer, there is quite a race for top spot brewing, with three films having a legitimate shot at winning the box office crown.

Of the three films battling for top spot, Narnia looks like it has the best shot at winning, which would make it the film's third first place finish during its five-week release. Like the other two films, this one should bring in about $13 million and that would give the film $245 million at the box office. Even if rumors are true and the actual production budget was $180 million not the earlier reported $150 million, then the film will still have topped its total costs at the box office. Add in the film's international run so far and it has already started showing a serious profit, something most films don't do until the home market, if at all.

The first wide release of the weekend is Hostel, which is also the only wide release to be screened for critics. Amazingly, the movie is earning 90% positive on the Tomatometer. However, it has still only been reviewed by 21 critics. At this point Wolf Creek had earned similar reviews, but as more and more critics reviewed the film, its Tomatometer dropped to 51% positive. The film should earn around $13 million, but it has the best chance at having a breakout weekend and easily scoring a first place finish, but it could also miss the top five.

The last contender is King Kong, which will also pull in about $13 million. That would give the film $190 million during its run, and will put it on pace to match its production budget at the box office (or at least come close). That's not something most films can do, but its run will still be looked at with disappointment due to high expectations.

Next up is Fun With Dick and Jane with $9 million over the weekend and over $75 million during its run. It didn't turn into the disaster that some were predicting, but nor is it performing up to Jim Carrey's normal standards.

Rounding out the top five should be either Munich or Cheaper by the Dozen 2, both of which are aiming for between $7 million and $8 million. Munich seems to have the edge at the moment, but is still not performing up to expectations given the pedigree and obvious Oscar bait nature of the movie. On the other hand, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 should eventually match original expectations and should go on to make a profit by its initial push into the home market.

There are two other film opening wide this weekend. Both will miss the top five, and I wouldn't be too surprised if one missed the top ten.

Grandma's Boy is the first starring role for Allen Covert, who has made a career of doing cameos in Adam Sandler movies. The film looks terrible, but it's hard to confirm or disprove that as it was not screened for critics. With a theatre count of just over 2,000, the film will likely struggle with just $5 million over the weekend.

On the other hand, Bloodrayne would be lucky to earn that much. The latest from Uwe Boll is earning even worse reviews than his earlier films and is a lock for at least a handful of Razzies at the end of the year. As for the film's chances at the box office, missing the top ten is likely in store. In fact, it could earn a per theatre average of less than $1,000 leaving it with under $2 million. But I'll be generous and predict $3 million over the weekend.

One last note, Glory Road is having a sneak peak tomorrow in just over 800 theatres. Check your local listings for details.


Filed under: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, King Kong, Fun With Dick And Jane, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Munich, Hostel, Glory Road, Grandma's Boy, BloodRayne