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Real Race for the Top

January 14th, 2005

With three new films opening and two others expanding into wide release, there is a lot of competition for top spot. However, no film is standing out as the obvious choice for top spot, which makes for an exciting weekend. In fact, given the average reviews the race for top spot could be more entertaining than most of the movies in question.

I’ve been looking forward to Elektra since the film was first rumored, which was shortly after Daredevil opened with $40 million. However, the reviews are just short of disastrous with only 1 positive review so far. Also hurting the film’s chances is the injury to Jennifer Garner, which has kept her from doing the promotional rounds. However, the ad campaign have been very aggressive, especially with the cross-promotion with her TV show, Alias. (Which, coincidentally, started off season 4 this week with its best numbers ever. ) And that should help the film start strongly, but word of mouth may prevent it from winning the weekend. Look for $19 million from now till Sunday, earn another $4 million on the holiday Monday and $60 million overall.

For the first time this year Meet the Fockers will most likely not finish first, (but it does have a legitimate shot at that goal.) Over the 3-day weekend it should add another $18 million to its lofty $210 million box office and $22 million overall.

Coach Carter may have the smallest theatre count of the three wide releases this weekend, but it also have the best reviews, although at 59%, they are not as strong as expected. Even so, the film should have the best per theatre average in the top ten taking in $17 million / $20 million over the weekend.

The final new release this weekend is Racing Stripes, which is opening in more than 3100 theatres, much more than expected. The reviewers are also better than expected, but at just 42% positive they are still weak enough to hurt the film’s long term chances chances. With no school on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this film should benefit the most earning $15 million over the first three days and $19 million overall.

White Noise will likely see quite a drop-off at the box office this weekend given its, weak mid-week numbers, awful reviews and extreme competition. But even with a nearly 60% drop-off, it should be one of 5 films to hit $10 million over the three-day weekend and $12 million overall.

While it will miss the top five, In Good Company should still have a very strong performance during its first week of wide release. The film has already made nearly $500,000 in just 2 weeks while playing in three theatres. This weekend its theatre count explodes to 1565 theatres and its box office should land at just shy of 8 figures at $9.5 million for the next three days and an addition $2 million on Monday. And with its amazing reviews and room to expand should result in very strong legs.

The last film to expand wide this weekend is House of Flying Daggers, which expands to nearly 1200 theatres tonight. However, it may be too late to capitalize on the film’s word of mouth and missing the top ten is likely with just shy of $3 million over three days and $3.5 million over the 4-day long weekend.

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Filed under: Meet the Fockers, Coach Carter, White Noise, Racing Stripes, In Good Company, Elektra, House of Flying Daggers