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Crime Pays Way Better Than Retail

October 10th, 2006

Editors note: Usually the DVD Releases column is published first on Monday. However, it is Thanksgiving day in Canada and that has delayed that column somewhat. It will be published shortly, but probably not until after midnight.

October officially washed away the stench that is September with the overall box office beating expectations at a total of $110 million. That is just shy of 10% higher than last weekend and 5% higher than the same weekend last year. Almost all of this growth can be attributed to The Departed, helped by its amazing reviews. The question now is whether it will have better legs than last year's number one film?

As expected, The Departed won the weekend box office race and did so with a better than expected $26.9 million. However, as I mentioned on Thursday, this is lower than the producers were expecting and weak compared to the film's $90 million production budget. On the other hand, the film earned what were arguably the best reviews for a wide release this year at an astounding 92% positive. Only Dave Chappelle's Block Party earned better reviews, but with a theatre count of just 1,200 it is stretching the definition of wide somewhat.

As for the film's long term success, talk of Oscar should increase and if the film has a sub-40% drop-off next weekend, $100 million will be in the future. I'm willing to bet this will be the case as Martin Scorsese's films tend to have long legs.

Second place went to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning with a softer than expected $18.5 million and with terrible reviews, even compared to the original remake's reviews. This, and sequelitis suggest very short legs. Even so, budget estimates range from $12 million to $20 million, and even if it is on the high end the film should have little trouble showing a profit by the time it hits the home market. On the other hand, if they do yet another sequel, it will likely go direct-to-DVD.

It turns out tracking wasn't as optimistic as I thought for Open Season, which beat expectations with $15.6 million over the weekend. This gives the film a 10-day total of $43.8 million and depending on how well it does internationally it could earn a profit before it hits the home market.

Dane Cook's debut as a leading man went better than expected as Employee of the Month took fourth with $11.4 million, just a rounding error away from matching its production budget. Even with the terrible legs its reviews suggest, it should have no trouble covering most expenses during its theatrical run. This is good news since its international appeal is limited.

Fifth place went to The Guardian with $9.6 million, which is just a fraction below expectations. So far the film has made $32.3 million and it should be able to match its production budget theatrically.

Moving onto the sophomore class, School for Scoundrels was the only such film not to score a spot in the top five. That film plummeted 60% to $3.4 million over the weekend for a running tally of just shy of $14.0 million.

One last note, estimates for Trailer Park Boys: The Movie put its opening weekend at $1.2 million in less than 200 theatres, which is enough for 12th overall, and perhaps enough for an American release date. With good reviews and a strong per theatre average, it could match its production budget theatrically and should show a profit by its initial push into the home market.


Filed under: The Departed, Open Season, The Guardian, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Employee of the Month, School for Scoundrels