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Covenant Hopes to Bewitch Box Office

September 7th, 2006

This week we have a trio of new releases opening wide, but only one of them managed a theater count above 2,000. I suppose the studios for the other two films are hoping to earn high per theater averages and expand in the coming weeks based on strong word-of-mouth. But that almost never works.

This leaves just one opener as a legitimate contender for top spot on this week's box office charts, The Covenant. The film, which is opening in nearly 2,700 theatres, is aiming for the same market that propelled Resident Evil: Apocalypse to a $23 million opening just two years ago. Of course, that film was a sequel and therefore had a built in audience so there's little chance this film can earn that much. In fact, the studio would be ecstatic if it earned the $17 million the original Resident Evil made back in 2002. That too seems generous, but a more realistic figure or $14 million is still a fine start given the film's estimated production budget. On the other hand, the lack of reviews and the fickle nature of the target demographic suggests a quick decline in the coming weeks with little hope that the film will remain in theatres by Halloween.

Agree? Disagree? Put your prognosticating to the test and enter our Back to School Blowout Contest today.

This should push Invincible into second place after two weeks on the top of the charts. The real life football flick has already beaten original expectations and with another $7 million this weekend it is on track to top similar films like Friday Night Lights.

The next two new releases couldn't be more different. One is a martial arts action flick that is decidedly light on plot. The other is a drama that delves into the real life tragic death of actor George Reeves. The only thing Hollywoodland and The Protector have in common is theatre count (both are opening roughly 1550 theatres), and opening weekend box office potential. Both films should make between $6 million and $7 million over the weekend, but from there they will diverge. Hollywoodland reviews are marginally better than The Protector's and with a more mature target audience it should have the better legs. However, neither will be major hits of the month.

The last film in the top five should again be The Illusionist, although it is tough to rule out Little Miss Sunshine. Both films have performed amazingly as they have expanded from limited release. However, The Illusionist is seeing its theater count expand significantly this weekend and that will give it the edge. Expect it to take fifth place with just under $6 million. The film has already topped initial expectations and after this weekend will have topped its production budget of $17 million.


Filed under: Little Miss Sunshine, Invincible, The Illusionist, The Covenant, Hollywoodland, Tom yum goong