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New Year is Out with the New, In with the Old

December 29th, 2006

It's the New Year's Day long weekend, and not surprisingly, there are no new wide releases this week. There are, on the other hand, two movies that are playing their first weekend, Dreamgirls and Black Christmas. However, it looks as if neither has what it takes to wrestle top spot from Night at the Museum.

With two long weekends in a row, this is the most lucrative time of the year for movies. It is also one of the more predictable as there are almost never any new releases the second weekend. No new releases usually means the films finish in the same order as they did the last weekend with roughly the same amount. Kids movies tend to do better, and that should help Night at the Museum grab $45 million over the next four days. That will put the film well over the $100 million mark making it the 17th movie from 2006 to do so, but it won't be the last.

Second place should go to Pursuit of Happyness with $23 million. Word of mouth has been particularly strong for this film after it surprised analysts by opening in first place. What was supposed to be a smaller drama will shortly become the 10th $100 million movie of Will Smith's career and there's even some Oscar buzz. A nomination seems increasingly likely, which would be the second of his career, but a win is a long shot.

After the top two, there's a bit of a drop-off in weekend numbers. But also a very close race between the next three films.

When Dreamgirls expanded on Christmas day, it was able to earning an amazing $8.73 million in just 852 theaters. However, it then suffered a 34% drop off on Tuesday and another 31% drop-off on Wednesday. It should bounce back a bit over the weekend giving it $16 million over the next four days and nearly $40 million in total. Should the film do well at the Golden Globes, it could show very strong legs throughout the month of January while cracking $100 million by the time Oscars are handed out.

Charlotte's Web has been showing very strong growth during the midweek, taking over third place on Wednesday. This bodes well for the film's chances over the weekend and if it does pull in $15.5 million it will start the new year with close to $60 million.

The final film in the top five should be Rocky Balboa. Like Dreamgirls, this film started out very strong but has been fading faster than anticipated. It should have a late surge of energy and earn $15 million over the next four days, but there's also a chance that The Good Shepherd will overtake it and knock it into sixth place.

The final newish release is Black Christmas, which has seem steep declines since its Christmas Day opening. It has already fallen out of the top ten and looks to earn just $5 million over the weekend. Even so, that will be enough to show a profit by the time it hits the home market.

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Filed under: Night at the Museum, The Pursuit of Happyness, Dreamgirls, Charlotte's Web, Rocky Balboa, The Good Shepherd, Black Christmas