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Box Office Suffers a Meltdown

April 10th, 2006

Only one film mentioned in Friday's preview was able to beat expectations to any real degree, and this pushed this week's box office down 19.5% from last weekend. However, at $114 million it was still 31.5% higher than last year, which is more important. Even better news, 2006 has moved ahead of 2005's pace, albeit by a narrow 1% margin, meaning ticket sales are still slower than a year ago.

It was a 50% drop-off for Ice Age: The Meltdown, leaving the film with just $33.8 million during its second weekend of release. That's barely more than the original made during its sophomore stint despite have an opening that was nearly 50% greater. While this is still a good result and more than enough to take top spot, it does make the $200 million mark a little more difficult to reach. Good news, it was able to become the number one film of the year on Thursday and the first film of 2006 to reach $100 million, so there are positives one could focus on.

The Benchwarmers continued the trend of terrible movies that manage to beat expectations. In fact, it was the only film in the top ten to beat expectations by any significant degree as it managed second place with $19.7 million. That represents David Spade's best live action opening ever, Rob Schneider's best non-Adam Sandler opening since Home Alone 2 and Jon Heder's best opening ever. (Okay, he's only been in two other movies.) As for the film's long-term chances, they don't look good. And neither does its chances on the international scene.

Take the Lead didn't live up to heightened expectations that came with its 3,000+ theatre count, but its $12.1 million was better than original expectations. The film's reviews ended the weekend about where they started with a Tomatometer reading of 44% positive, which is nothing to brag about, but certainly better than most wide releases have earned this weekend. This could help the film's legs, but even if its performance from now on is average, it should earn enough to show a profit sometime during its home market run.

The Inside Man met expectations nearly perfectly with $9.1 million over the weekend for a $66.0 million running tally. Next goal for the film is surpassing Big Momma's House 2 for fifth place on the 2006 charts, which it should do sometime early next weekend.

Also matching expectations nearly perfectly was Lucky Number Slevin with $7.0 million. Reviews continued to sink over the weekend, hitting the 50% level by Monday, which is not the level needed for a film such as this. If a film aims for critical acclaim, it better reach it.

The final wide release of the week didn't reach the top five, but that was no surprise. Even so, Phat Girlz debut of just $3.1 million was lower than most predictions and with niche market appeal and below average reviews, it will likely have a precipitous drop-off next weekend.

Rounding out the top ten was Thank You for Smoking with an impressive $2.3 million in just 300 theatres. Because of the film's early success, the studio is expanding the film faster than it has previously planned. This is excellent news.

Moving onto the sophomore class, no film was able to hold onto more than half its opening, while two of them had drop-offs well above 60%. ATL placed the highest, finishing in seventh with $3.7 million or down nearly 68%. Slither fell to 13th with $1.6 million, which is a loss of almost 58%, but that is better than average for this week. Worst of all was Basic Instinct 2 as it plummeted more than 68% to 16th place with just $1.0 million.


Filed under: Ice Age: The Meltdown, Inside Man, The Benchwarmers, Take the Lead, Thank You For Smoking, Lucky Number Slevin, ATL, Slither, Phat Girlz, Basic Instinct 2