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Vendetta Victorious, But at What Cost?

March 20th, 2006

Another poor weekend at the box office saw the overall gross drop to $106 million, which is 3.6% lower than last weekend and 8.7% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2006 has now brought in $1.8 billion, which is about 2% lower than 2005's pace. If this keeps up 2006 will be the second year in a row of declining box office revenue and the fourth year in a row of declining ticket sales. It's not quite time to push the panic button yet, but it is certainly worrying.

As expected, V for Vendetta easily won the weekend box office race, but it didn't pull in as much as most people were expecting. Granted, $25.6 million isn't a bad start for a film that cost $50 million to make, but it was only the fourth biggest opening of the year and the wasn't even in the top ten for biggest March opening. Where does it go from here? A Tomatometer reading of 76% positive suggests long legs, while the Fanboy Effect suggests otherwise. In these cases it is usually the latter than wins out. Look for $60 million domestically, a little more internationally, and a profit early in its initial push into the home market.

Failure to Launch scored a second place finished with $15.6 million, which was above most expectations. Its 36% drop-off suggest stronger than average legs despite terrible reviews, and even with a production budget well above initial predictions, it should still show a profit sometime during its home market run.

Shockingly, The Shaggy Dog finished in third place with $13.4 million, down only 18% from its opening. On the downside, because it started so slowly, its total box office of $35.6 million is still below expectations.

She's the Man opening was on par with Amanda Bynes' previous live action releases. But because the competition was stronger than expected, its $10.7 million was only good enough for fourth place. On the plus side, that was about half of what the film cost to make, so even with reviews that were only mixed, it should do well enough to show a profit early in its home market run.

All three holdovers in the top five beat expectations, including The Hills Have Eyes with $8.0 million. The film's week-to-week drop-off was just 50%, which is excellent for horror films.

The final new release of the week was Find Me Guilty, which most analysts expected to finish outside the top ten. Well, it certainly did that. The film finished in 18th place with just $609,000 in 439 theatres. This is further proof that Select Cities is the worst way to release a movie.

As for this week's sophomore class, all three wide releases remained in the top five, leaving just The Libertine to discuss. Unfortunately, after a slow start, the film fell fast, plummeting 60% to $881,000 for the weekend and $3.87 million during its run.

Lastly, Disney gave Narnia a boost over the weekend, which allowed it to top Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on the yearly charts $289.9 million to $289.7 million. On the other hand, the latter film performed much better on the international charts and was much more profitable.

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Filed under: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Failure to Launch, V for Vendetta, The Shaggy Dog, The Hills Have Eyes, She's the Man, The Libertine, Find Me Guilty