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Saturday the 14th Turns Out to be the Really Unlucky Day for The Grudge

October 17th, 2006

It is reported that Friday the 13th costs the American economy $500 million as there are some people so afraid of that day that they are too scared to leave the house. That doesn't seem to be true for the movies, as Friday was the only day to outpace last weekend. Overall the box office managed $110 million, 1% lower than last weekend. However, that was 25% more than the same weekend last year when all three new releases bombed.

Friday the 13th was particularly bountiful for The Grudge 2, but that is to be expected for a horror film. It earned just over $10 million during its first day, and barely more than that during the rest of the weekend. It ended up in first place, but by a much closer than expected margin, with $20.8 million. Even worse, its internal multiplier of just 2.08 is, and there's no polite way to accurately describe this, pathetic. Add in sequelitis and reviews that were stuck at just 7% positive and this film may not make $20 million during the rest of its run. There are two signs of hope, however. Firstly, Friday the 13th artificially boosted Friday's numbers, and that could mean the low internal multiplier is not indicative of its long-term potential. Secondly, the film only cost $20 million to make, so even if it struggles greatly from now on, it has still made enough to secure a profit by its initial push into the home market.

The Departed remained strong, very strong, dipping less than 30% this weekend and came very close to winning the weekend race. In fact, it led the daily charts and Saturday and Sunday and it weren't for Friday the 13th, its $19.0 million weekend haul would have been enough. With a total of just under $57.0 million after 10 days, it is not the biggest hit in Martin Scorsese's career, yet. But it looks to be on pace for $110 million to $125 million, depending on the competition and how much early award buzz it can generate. Either case puts it well ahead of The Aviator for the best in his career and his second $100 million movie in a row.

Man of the Year was a pleasant surprise this weekend, earning third place with $12.3 million over the weekend, more than the last political satire earned in total. However, with very weak reviews even the highly political environment won't help this film last long in theatres and it will be out of theatres before the midterm elections are over.

Open Season also beat expectations, but thanks to stronger than expected competition it slipped a spot to fourth, earning $11.1 million over the weeekend. With $59.3 million in the bank so far, the film is still well behind its production budget, but with reasonable international appeal and excellent prospects on the home market it should have little trouble showing a profit after all is said and done.

As expected, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning crumbled this weekend thanks to a multitude of factors including sequelitis, direct competition, terrible reviews, and more. It managed to just miss a drop-off of 60% with $7.5 million, which was within a rounding error of Thursday's expectations. Also, with a production budget at less than $20 million, it also already made enough to cover initial expenses. It will probably need to earn about $30 million to $40 million more to cover its P&A, which is out of the question, at least domestically. The home market should provide those funds with ease.

The third wide release of the week was The Marine, which was the best-reviewed wide release of the week. ... I'll pause to let that sink in. Granted, its reviews were only 25% positive so this is more of an indictment of the quality of releases as a whole and not a show of strength by this film. Even so, it's kind of scary. Its opening weekend box office of $7.1 million was nearly exactly as expected while its future is a little more in doubt.

The last wide release of the week managed to beat expectations -- One Night with the King took in $4.1 million. However, it too has a dubious future ahead of it. Its per theatre average of $4,518 is just that, average, and its reviews were terrible. Should the film expand next weekend it could reach as high as $20 million, which is what it cost to make. On the other hand, should the film suffer the steep drop-offs normally associated with niche market films, it could struggle just to make it over $10 million.

Moving onto the sophomore class, there was just one film that didn't make the top five this weekend, Employee of the Month. It did fall nearly 54% to $5.3 million, but its $19.6 million two-week total is good compared to its production budget of just $10 million and even with almost no international appeal, it should earn enough to show a profit by its initial push into the home market.

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Filed under: The Departed, Open Season, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Grudge 2, Man of the Year, Employee of the Month, The Marine, One Night with the King