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Oscars Weekend Weakens Box Office Potential

March 3rd, 2006

It's Oscar weekend and while people will be celebrating the best movies have to offer, they won't be doing it in a movie theatre. There's usually a huge drop-off in ticket sales over Oscar weekend, especially on Sunday. The only groups that are mostly unaffected are teens and young men and that explains why all four movies opening wide this weekend are aimed at one of those two groups.

The only movie with a legitimate shot at $20 million over the weekend is 16 Blocks, the action movie starring Bruce Willis and Mos Def. So far the reviews have been mixed, not bad enough to scare away moviegoers, but not good enough to be a selling point. It should still finish first with between $18 million and $19 million, but it will be a closer than expected race.

The reason for the close race is Dave Chappelle's Block Party; this film is only playing in 1209 theatres, but that is 50% more than was expected earlier in the week. Add in a super hot Dave Chappelle and the best reviews of the year and you have the makings of a surprise hit. $15 to $16 million is the target, but if the film outperforms revised expectations by just a little bit it could top the charts this weekend.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman dropped nearly 50% during its second weekend of release despite see a pretty significant increase in its theatre count. Madea's Family Reunion won't benefit from expansion and will likely see a steeper drop-off with 60% not out of the question. A 60% drop-off would leave the film with just over $12 million, but just under $14 million seems more realistic.

$14 million is also the prediction for Ultraviolet. The film was not screened for critics, and we all know what that means. An effective ad campaign could offset this, but so far I've been very unimpressed, as the film looks very derivative.

Rounding out the top five should be 8 Below with $10 million while the final wide release of the weekend will be just behind.

Aquamarine is the final new wide release of the week and is the only film aimed at teen girls, but that group has been finicky as of late with several films targeted at them going down in flames. It is earning better reviews than I was expecting, especially since earlier in the week it was reported that it wouldn't be screened for critics. It could surprise and reach $10 million and fifth place, but $8 million is a little more likely.


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Filed under: Eight Below, Madea's Family Reunion, Ultraviolet, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, 16 Blocks, Aquamarine