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Gang Has to Settle for Field Goal

September 19th, 2006

Not a single film in the top five beat expectations by any significant margin. Even so, with the terrible result last weekend the overall box office was still able to rebound a little, up 7.7% to $78 million. However, that was still 9.0% lower than the same weekend last year. So far the fall season has not kept up the winning ways we saw throughout the summer, but 2006 still has a bit of time to turn things around before we need to worry again.

Gridiron Gang may have taken top spot on the weekend box office charts, but its $14.4 million wasn't quite the touchdown some where expecting. In fact, it is the weakest opening in Dwayne Johnson's career. On the other hand, even with reviews that were not impressive, real life inspirational coach movies tend to have better than average legs and it should easily match its $30 million production budget before long. However, with nearly zero international appeal, it will have to wait till the home market to see a profit.

In second place was The Black Dahlia with $10,005,895, which was within 0.06% of Thursday's prediction. However, this was lower than the studio was expecting. Part of the problem was the weaker than expected reviews and part of the problem was direct competition from Hollywoodland. The only good news is that while the film may have cost up to $70 million to make, Universal paid just $10 million for the domestic theatrical rights.

Third place went to Everyone's Hero but the digitally animated flick could only pull in $6.1 million in nearly 3,000 theatres, giving it the weakest per theatre average of the four wide releases. Add in reviews that fell short of 50 / 50 and major competition less than two weeks away and this film will have a very short stay in theatres. To make matters worse, the baseball theme will really hurt the film internationally.

Fourth place went to The Covenant, which didn't completely collapse as many were expecting. It managed to avoid losing 50% of its opening this weekend and fell to $4.8 million for a total of $15.8 million, which puts it about a week from matching its production budget. Assuming the film can do relatively well both internationally and at the home market, it should earn enough to make a small profit after calculating DVD sales, but not enough to go ahead with the planned sequel.

The Last Kiss couldn't even live up to lowered expectations as it finished the weekend in fifth place with $4.6 million. There's not much good news here and even the little there is seems like damning it with faint praise. Its per theatre average was weak, but not disastrous, its reviews were equally weak, but the best in the top five. Even if the film has better than expected legs, it still won't match its production budget, but at least is wasn't too expensive to make and it could show a profit, eventually.

Moving onto the rest of the sophomore class, Hollywoodland managed ninth place with $2.7 million as it was decimated by direct competition. The Protector fared little better, down nearly 51% to $2.5 million for the weekend and $9.1 million in total. That is almost twice what Ong-bak earned in total, so at least Tony Jaa is growing his following here and perhaps a studio will be willing to sign him to a deal with North American audiences in mind.

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Filed under: Gridiron Gang, The Covenant, The Black Dahlia, Everyone's Hero, Hollywoodland, Tom yum goong, The Last Kiss