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Mission: Implodes

May 8th, 2006

The unofficial start of summer was a disappointment, with the number one film missing expectations by nearly $20 million. However, the overall numbers were still very positive with the box office bringing in a total of $110 million. That's 7.8% higher than last weekend and 26.5% higher than the same weekend last year. Even better are the year-to-date numbers, which now stand 6% higher than last year. There is some bad news ahead as next week looks weaker and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and its $100 million weekend will hurt year-to-year comparisons the week after that.

There's very little positive for Mission: Impossible 3's opening over the weekend. Sure, it came in first place, but there was never any doubt about that. What's really shocking is how low its opening box office was, with the film barely topping Friday's worst case scenario, earning $47.7 million. To put that into perspective, that's little more than the original earned, and that film opened a decade ago and in 1,000 fewer theatres. Add in ticket price inflation and that's a major step backwards. On the plus side, there's little in the way of competition next weekend and the word-of-mouth should be good. But even so, it will likely be toppled from the top spot on the charts and the week after that it could start shedding theatres. As for its long-term prospects, it might have serious trouble just matching its production budget, but with international numbers a lot rosier, it should have no trouble showing a profit. It will, however, have to wait until the home market.

Surprisingly, R.V. was able to hold onto two-thirds of its opening, adding $11.0 million to take its running tally to $30.9 million. The film is still going to miss original expectations, but not by as much as its opening and reviews suggested.

Coming in third place was An American Haunting, which didn't miss the top five as many had suggested. However, with just $5.7 million, it actually missed expectations, albeit by a very small margin. (For a film to miss expectations but still place at least three places higher just shows how bad the competition collapsed this weekend.) As for this film, the genre plus the reviews mean it is unlikely the film will have any kind of shelf life and will quickly disappear from theatres.

Stick It also missed expectations in terms of box office numbers with just $5.5 million, but still placed higher, finishing in fourth place. If the film can do reasonably well in a couple of major international markets, then it should have no trouble showing a profit by the time it finishes it initial push into the home market. Even if it doesn't, it should still get to profitability eventually. That should be more than enough to secure more work for all involved.

Rounding out the top five was United 93, which fell more than 53% to $5.3 million. This plummet was more dramatic when taking into account the stellar reviews and the mature target audience. The good news is that it didn't cost much to make, so it should earn a profit, it's just a matter of when.

It was a record-breaking weekend for Hoot, but not the kind of records studios hope for. With just $3.4 million, the film earned the worst opening weekend for a film opening in more than 3,000 theatres 'beating' New York Minute by $2.6 million. With terrible reviews and a per theatre average barely above $1,000, there's little chance this film will have any legs. This means it could break records for largest drop in theatre count, currently held by Gigli at 2,142, and will almost certainly break the lowest total box office for a film debuting in 3,000 or more theatre, currently held by New York Minute at $14.0 million. The only real positive one could come up with is that its low production budget means the studio won't lose too much money.

One final note. There was only one film in the sophomore class not to make it in the top five and that was Akeelah and the Bee. The film placed ninth with $3.4 million, which was down just under 44% from last weekend.


Filed under: Mission: Impossible III, R.V., United 93, Stick It, Akeelah and the Bee, Hoot, An American Haunting