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Can Any Film Take the Lead from Ice Age?

April 7th, 2006

There's little doubt that Ice Age: The Meltdown will repeat as box office champion, the real question is how far will it fall. Also of interest, which of the new releases will come in second and how many of the four newcomers will finish in the top five?

No new release has a legitimate shot at $20 million this weekend, which means Ice Age: The Meltdown will likely finish with more than twice its nearest competitor over the next three days. To predict how much it will make, let us compare it to the original. That film fell just 35% during its second weekend of release. However, sequelitis plus weaker reviews will likely cause Ice Age 2 to fall slightly faster. A sophomore drop-off of just shy of 40% seems the most likely, and that would mean the film will add about $42 million to its total, lifting it to the top of the 2006 charts, maybe. There's a chance it will already be there by the end of Thursday. In total the film would have a 10-day total of just under $125 million, making it the first film of 2006 to hit $100 million and on track to reach $200 million as well.

There should be quite a battle for second place between The Benchwarmers and Take the Lead. No new release is earning overall positive reviews, but Take the Lead's 46% positive is better than average for the week. In fact its better than average for the year. (On a side note, at one point during the week it reached 70% positive.) It is also opening in more theatres than expected, topping 3,000, and this should help it bring in $15 million over the next three days.

The Benchwarmers, on the other hand, is not being screened for critics, and we all know what that means. However, the studio should be happy that poor reviews have not been a problem for most films this year and in fact it's almost like the better the reviews the weaker the results. What won't make the studio happy is the box office track record of the three stars. Both David Spade and Rob Schneider have had more misses than hits while Jon Heder has only been in two movies before. Add in a terrible ad campaign and the film will likely finish third with $14 million and see prodigious drop-offs during the rest of its run.

The Inside Man should be the oldest film in the top five by taking in about $9 million during its third week of release. That will bump its total to roughly $66 million, which would put it in sixth place for the year.

Next up is Lucky Number Slevin, the film earning the most buzz among cinephiles. These people might be the most disappointed since the reviews are below expectations, even though they are the best earned by any wide release this week. Also, given the sub-2,000 theatre count this film could bomb and earn less than $4 million during its opening weekend. Hopefully it will avoid that fate and bring in $7 million for a fifth place finish. However, any weakness and it is likely that ATL will snag fifth for itself.

The final wide release of the week is Phat Girlz, but with a theatre count of just 1,056, it is stretching the definition of wide. This film was also held back from critics, but there have been some early reviews and they are not nearly as bad as I would have thought. It is still a niche market film and as such will have to settle for a lower spot in the top ten with about $4 million, but there's a chance it could be a breakout hit.

One last note: Kinky Boots has a sneak peak tomorrow at 110 theatres. Check your local listings.

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Filed under: Ice Age: The Meltdown, Inside Man, The Benchwarmers, Take the Lead, Lucky Number Slevin, ATL, Phat Girlz, Kinky Boots