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Scaring the Easter Box Office into Submission

April 17th, 2006

It was a great weekend at the box office, with the box office growing and records falling. The total box office rose 4.4% to just shy of $120 million, which was $43.7% higher than last year. In fact, the week's number one film earned nearly half of what the total box office brought in this time last year. With two weeks of incredible year-to-year growth, 2006 has pulled ahead of 2005 by 4%, but remember, this time last year was the weakest part of the entire year, so don't celebrate prematurely. If 2006 can keep the growth up even when it goes against Revenge of the Sith, that's when we celebrate.

As stated, Scary Movie 4 broke the record for biggest Easter opening weekend, pulling in $40.2 million over the past three days. That was $10 million more than Panic Room made back in 2002. That's the good news. The bad news is, Scary Movie 4 earned weak reviews and had a terrible internal multiplier of just 2.12. The previous film had a internal multiplier of 2.58, which is still low, and unless the film recovers over the coming weeks, it will be the first film to open with more than $40 million yet finish with less than $100 million.

Ice Age: The Meltdown was able to recover somewhat over its second weekend, dropping by 40.8% to $20.0 million, but this is still very high drop-off for a film of its nature, especially when you take into account the holidays. Again, comparing it to the original, that film fell a high for the genre 39% to $18.1 million but recovered the following weekend. If Ice Age: The Meltdown can follow the same pattern, it will finish its run with just over $200 million, assuming the studio gives it a little push.

The Benchwarmers lived up to expectations nearly perfectly falling just shy of 50% to $9.9 million. In total the film has made $35.9 million, which is just above its production budget. Even if the film has almost no appeal internationally, which is very likely, the film should still show a profit early in its home market run.

Fourth place went to The Wild, which failed to match low expectations with just $9.6 million over the weekend. Compared to other digitally animated movies to open wide, and only Valiant and Doogal opened with less. To make matters worse, the film had terrible reviews and cost more than originally expected with a production budget closer to $80 million than $60 million. In the end, this will be a very costly mistake.

Rounding out the top five was Take the Lead, down 43.7% to $6.8 million. That was a steeper decline than expected, but not tragically so and by the time its initial push into the home market is over, it should have earned a reasonably profit.

Finally, Thank You for Smoking wasn't able to hold onto its per theatre average quite as well as expected as it had to settle for 8th place with $4.5 million. Granted, this is a smaller film, having cost just $6.5 million to make, while the distribution fees were just $8 million, so with $11.5 million already in the bank, everyone is happy.

The only wide releases in the sophomore class not to reach the top five this week were Lucky Number Slevin, which fell 32.4% to $4.8 million and Phat Girlz, which fell out of the top 10, down 56.9% to $1.3 million.

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Filed under: Ice Age: The Meltdown, Scary Movie 4, The Benchwarmers, The Wild, Take the Lead, Thank You For Smoking, Lucky Number Slevin, Phat Girlz