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Hitchhiker Earns a Big Thumbs Up

May 2nd, 2005

It's not summer yet. Anyone who has read the May Preview knows Summer doesn't begin until the first full weekend in May, but a lot of people got caught up the in the hype and were predicting a Summer-like box office. Even my more subdued predictions were too high, as no film was able to top expectations by more than a rounding error and both new films missed expectations by nearly $20 million combined. That led the box office downward by 3.00% from last weekend and 13.0% from last year. Year-to-date the numbers are hardly better with 2005 behind 2004 by nearly 6% at $2.475 billion to $2.628 billion.

Despite missing expectations by a significant degree, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy easily took top spot with $21.1 million. There is some bad news, however, as the Fanboy Effect will easily overcome above average reviews, resulting in short legs. On the plus side the film's production budget was much lower than originally announced at just $45 million, so a profit should be in the future for the film, although it might take until the initial push on the home market to get there.

The Interpreter matched expectations nearly perfectly earning $13.8 million over the weekend. Long legs will help the film move towards profitability, but a high production budget will keep it away until the end of its international run.

There's very little positive in XXX: State of the Union's opening. The film bombed with critics earning just 15% positive reviews, and then went on to perform even worse with moviegoers finishing third with $12.7 million. Combine all the negative conspiring against this film and it could be knocked out of theaters before Memorial Day and end up costing the studio a bundle.

Horror films tend to have weak legs at the box office, which makes The Amityville Horror's run hard to explain. This weekend the film added $7.9 million to its $54.8 million running tally and by the time the film is done domestically it could show a profit. Only about one in ten films manage such a feat.

Rounding out the top five was Sahara, which won't be showing a profit anytime soon. The film managed $5.7 million this weekend but will need to do extraordinary business in both the international marketplace and the home market to earn back its $130 million production budget.

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Filed under: The Interpreter, Sahara, The Amityville Horror, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, XXX: State of the Union