Follow us on

Do Moviegoers Have a Vendetta Against Good Films?

March 17th, 2006

The first event movie of the year comes out this week, and V for Vendetta should have no problem topping the charts. However, there are other questions that are not so easily answered. For instance, will it become the biggest opener of the year? Will it help the box office keep pace with last year? Can it become the first $100 million movie of the year? At least two of those three questions will be answered by Monday.

V for Vendetta is generating a lot of buzz, but will that be enough to overcome the enormous drag its reviews will cause? You see, so far the film's Tomatometer reading sits at 75% positive, while most movies that have topped the box office this year have earned less than 30% positive. It's almost like moviegoers prefer bad movies. Add in a subject matter that will turn some people against the hero and the film could struggle. It could also cause enough controversy that the film could break the record for the biggest opening for a March movie, currently held by Ice Age. I don't think it will have enough to do that, but it could become the biggest opener of the year, earning just over $30 million.

Failure to Launch surprised audiences last weekend, overcoming terrible reviews to take top spot. This weekend it should hold up very well as the mid-week numbers have been steady. Look for just over $14 million over the weekend and a running total of $47 million.

The counter-programming of the weekend comes in the form of She's the Man, the latest modern retelling of a classic Shakespearean play. Reviews so far are better than expected and nearly up to the overall positive level. They are certainly better than most films that get a wide release. This should be Amanda Bynes' biggest opening of her short movie career so far (not counting voice work she did in Robots), and it should place third with $12 million.

Next up is The Shaggy Dog, which looks to recover from a disappointing opening last weekend. The film's target is $10 million over the weekend. If it can do that, it should be able to pull in enough to show a profit by the time it's shown on network TV. If it drops close to 50%, then Disney will likely lose a bundle.

Rounding out the top five should be The Hills Have Eyes with about $7 million over the weekend. That will give the film $28 million after just 10 days, and even after the theatres take their share, the studio will have made enough to pay for the production budget and start working on the P&A budget.

The last new release on this week's charts is Find Me Guilty, but with a theatre count of just 443 there's no way this film can be mistaken for a wide release. It does, however, have a shot at finishing in the top ten. To do so, it will need to crack about $2 million, which isn't out of reach. I don't think it has what it takes to get there, but it could be close. Part of the problem is that none of the protagonists are remotely sympathetic; it would be like making a movie about Charles Manson and portraying him as wise cracking, loveable, and just a bit eccentric. The film should finish with over $1 million, but outside the top ten.


Filed under: Failure to Launch, V for Vendetta, The Shaggy Dog, The Hills Have Eyes, She's the Man, Find Me Guilty