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Coach Catapults to the Top

January 18th, 2005

The Martin Luther King Day long weekend was huge, with 6 films topping $10 million over the 3-day period. Overall the weekend was up 18% from last year, putting 2005 ahead of 2004's pace so far. In spite of this, two things should be kept in mind. First, it is much too early in the year for those comparisons to be truly meaningful. Second, 2004 started off very slowly, and didn't pick up until late February. So the comparison is tilted in 2005's favor.

Coach Carter wasn't deterred by its low theater count, and earned the best box office of the weekend: $24.2 million over the first three days and $29.2 million overall. Not only was the film the best reviewed new release, it also had the biggest opening for a basketball film and enjoyed the strongest per theater average in the top ten.

Dropping to second place was Meet the Fockers, with $19.3 million / $22.5 million. Fockers is now just a week away from hitting $250 million and entering the top 5 for movies released in 2004.

The next two films on the list switched places depending on if you are looking at the 3-day or the 4-day weekend. From Friday to Sunday In Good Company finished ahead of Racing Stripes $14.3 million to $13.9 million. However, over the four-day weekend the roles were reversed $18.9 million to $16.6 million.

For Racing Stripes, this start was almost as expected, just with more of the box office coming on the holiday. Lack of competition will help the film's legs, but mediocre reviews will likely hamper the film's long term success.

On the other hand, In Good Company outperformed almost everyone's predictions and shows great potential. Firstly, its very strong per theater average means it should continue to expand its theater count and having the best reviews in the top five doesn't hurt either.

Rounding out the top five was Elektra with $12.8 million / $14.8 million. The film was quite front-loaded, which is easily explained by the horrible reviews. Comic book movies tend to be tough sells internationally, so this film will likely be the first flop of the year.

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Filed under: Meet the Fockers, Coach Carter, Racing Stripes, In Good Company, Elektra