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Da Vinci is Da Vine

May 22nd, 2006

It was a good news, bad news weekend. Good news, The Da Vinci Code had one of the biggest opening weekends of all time and that helped the overall box office climb 63.8% from last weekend to $163 million. Bad news, every other film in the top five missed expectations, leaving the box office of flat with the same weekend last year. Not all of the smaller, independent releases have reported yet, but when they do, this weekend should see just a tiny increase, one that would round to 0.0%, but that's compared to microscopic decline of 0.001% it is showing right now.

Given the more mature target audience, I figured The Da Vinci Code would not have such an incredible start but instead have amazing legs. Now that is has opened with $77.1 million, the question is will it have the same kind of legs? If it does, the film could reach as high as $300 million domestically. However, the awful reviews combined with the incredible hype will leave the film heavily front loaded, perhaps so much so that is struggles to reach too much past $200 million. The real wildcard here is the church-going crowd. If over the next several weeks they are encouraged to go as a method of proselytizing, then it could last a long time in theatres. On the other hand, if the attitude is to try and boycott the film, or attack it in other ways, then the only reason for churchgoers to go in large numbers is the curiosity factor, and that was probably satiated during opening weekend. Signs are mixed but I think it will lean slightly towards the latter and bring in between $225 million and $250 million. On a side note, it looks like author Dan Brown will earn enough money from the rights to the movie and the increased book sales to almost cover the costs of all his lawyers. The guy has more plagiarism lawsuits against him than I have pairs of underwear. ... But that's probably not something you needed to know about me.

The other big opening of the weekend was Over the Hedge, which didn't live up to expectations, bringing in $38.5 million. That is the lowest opening ever for a film debuting in 4,000 or more theatres. The good news is that with excellent reviews, the best reviews in the top five in fact, and a younger demographic it should stay strong for a while. (Or until Cars crushes it in two weeks.) Add in strong international prospects and the film should still earn enough to show a profit either before it hits the home market or shortly afterwards.

Mission: Impossible 3 started the summer off slower than expected and hasn't held on nearly as well, falling 55% this week to $11.3 million. That was more than enough to surpass $100 million, but with $103.5 million in total it is still well below studio expectations. At least nobody will be fired as a result of the film's box office performance so far, but nobody's getting a promotion either.

As for Poseidon's sophomore stint, it barely topped worst case scenario bringing in $9.2 million for a total of just $36.8 million after 10 days. Even if it made that much over its opening weekend it would have been disappointing, so for a film that some are saying cost more than $200 million to make, this is completely unacceptable and makes profitability almost entirely out of reach.

Rounding out the top five was R.V. with $5 million, which was almost 50% less than last weekend. In total the film now has $50.3 million and is one week away from topping its production budget. Should the film do well internationally it could show a profit as early as its initial push into the home market. If not, it will reach that goal before it is shown on network TV.

The final new wide release was See No Evil. The film wasn't screened for critics before its release, but even after the weekend it still had no positive reviews, going zero for eighteen with the critics. Moviegoers were only slightly more interested with the film bringing in just $4.5 million over the past three days. On a more positive note, it should do the bulk of its business on the home market and eventually show a profit, but it was not a great debut for WWE Films.

Moving onto the sophomore class, results were mixed with Just My Luck, which had the best week-to-week drop-off in the top ten, down 40.5% to $3.3 million over the weekend, and $10.5 million in total. This is still a very disappointing result. However, the film was box office gold compared to Goal! as that film fell nearly 65% to $673,000 on 1,007 screens for a 10-day total of just $3.0 million. The trilogy cost roughly $100 million to make, and at this rate the final two installments won't even warrant a theatrical release.

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Filed under: The Da Vinci Code, Over the Hedge, Mission: Impossible III, R.V., Poseidon, Just My Luck, See No Evil, Goal! The Dream Begins