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Tight Race over Long Weekend

February 17th, 2006

There's a two way race for top spot on the box office charts this Presidents Day long-weekend. None of the three wide releases is likely to come close to last year's top opener. But the overall box office should remain close to last year's pace.

The leading candidate for box office champion is Date Movie, which is a spoof on romantic comedies. It probably should have opened last weekend to take advantage of Valentine, but perhaps it will benefit from a post-Valentine anti-romance backlash. While that might help the film, it's reviews certainly won't. Right now the film is sitting at just 20% positive but there are two things to keep in mind, firstly, there are only five reviews so this figure is bound to change. Secondly, the one positive review is less than enthusiastic about the movie so the 20% rating is likely more than it will have after the weekend is over. It should still finish first with roughly $20 million, but that is over the full four days. Given how low its production budget is estimated to be, this will probably be enough to show a small profit after the film's initial release on the home market, but not enough to be considered a major success.

8 Below is both the widest release, and the best-reviewed movie on this week's list. However, it is still expected to finish significantly behind Date Movie during the three-day portion of the weekend. On the other hands, given the film's family friendly nature, it should benefit the most from the holiday and close the gap finishing with $18 million, which is close enough that it wouldn't be a big surprise if it came in first place.

After it's surprise first place finish last weekend, Pink Panther should see a small drop-off thanks to its family friendly nature. Over the next four days the film should add $15 million pushing its total to $40 million. That's more than most people expected it would earn in total, but with a production budget of about $80 million after reshoots, it is still not enough.

Another film that should really benefit from the holidays is Curious George. The film should pull in $12 million from now till Monday, which is well above the studio's expectations for its opening weekend.

The final wide release of the week is Freedomland. The film is earning the smallest wide release at under 2400 theatres, and with terrible reviews, lack of an effective advertising campaign, no advanced buzz, etc., the film is unlikely to live up to previous expectations. At the moment, it might not even earn $10 million over the full four-day weekend, and if that happens, look for Final Destination 3 to score the final spot in the top ten.


Filed under: The Pink Panther, Eight Below, Curious George, Final Destination 3, Date Movie, Freedomland