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Ricky Bobby Looks to Take Victory Lap

August 10th, 2006

After winning last weekend with ease, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby has four new films looking to knock it off the podium. However, that seems very unlikely at this point.

Midweek numbers for Talladega Nights have not been overly kind to the film, granted. The opening of World Trade Center yesterday did push all holdovers down. So one must expect a roughly 50% drop-off this weekend and there is a possibility of a much steeper decline. If it does fall to $23 million, which is what I'm predicting, it will still have just over $90 million at the box office and will have no problem reaching $100 million within a week. Unfortunately, that's the minimum it will need to earn to show a profit, and even then it will take until after its initial push into the home market to do so. The reason for this is twofold, 1) the movie was ridiculously expensive and 2) Will Ferrell and his Frat Pack buddies have little to no drawing power internationally. On the other hand, should the film beat expectations and earn closer to $30 million over the weekend, it could top Click and become the highest grossing live action comedy of the summer.

World Trade Center missed expectations on Wednesday, opening with $4.4 million and settling for second place. Should the film remain flat today, then it could still meet expectations over the weekend. However, that seems unlikely. The best case scenario has the film with a slight drop-off today and $18 million over the weekend. The worst case scenario has the film's daily take sliced in half and struggling to top $10 million over the weekend. Even with reviews slipping somewhat, the former scenario seems more likely, giving a weekend prediction of just over $15 million for a 5 day total of just under $23 million.

There are four films battling for the final three spots in the top five, including three new releases, two of which weren't screened for critics and the other which probably shouldn't have been. All four films, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals, Pulse, Zoom, and Step Up should earn between $8 and $10 million, although there is a chance one might earn breakout success while up to two of them could flop.

Step Up is using the same MySpace marketing strategy that helped John Tucker Must Die open so well two weeks ago. However, while both films are targeting the same demographic and earned practically identical reviews, Step Up doesn't seem as fresh. In fact, it seems like the bastard child of Take the Lead and Save the Last Dance. This is particularly ironic since Duane Adler, the screenwriter for Step Up is also the screenwriter for that latter film. It could break out with about $12 million over the weekend, but $10 million is more likely.

Next up is Barnyard: The Original Party Animals, which hopes to capitalize on its better than expected opening last weekend. Unfortunately, its terrible reviews and direct competition will prevent that. The film should still finish fourth with just over $9 million for a 10-day total of $33 million.

Zoom should finish in a very close race for fourth place with fellow kid flick. This is the first of two films opening wide this weekend that wasn't screened for critics and that's never a good sign. Even with Tim Allen's recent critic-proof successes in mind, it won't be able to live up to original expectations. Look for an opening of just under $9 million and $25 million in total.

Agree? Disagree? Put your prognosticating to the test and enter our Ultimated Super Hero Contest today.

Lastly we have Pulse, which looked like a great project until they butchered the film to get a PG-13 rating. This will backfire, especially with the film not being screened for critics. While a PG-13 rating does open the film up to teenagers, serious horror aficionados will pass on the watered down thrills. Perhaps the Unrated DVD might be a big seller, but the theatrical release with have to settle for an $8 million opening and $20 million in total.

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Filed under: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals, World Trade Center, Step Up, Pulse, Zoom