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Super Heroes Stop The Slump

July 11th, 2005

The Slump is dead. After 19 weeks, it has finally ended. It has been more than four months since the last time 2005 topped 2004 in the yearly comparison, but that's just what happened this weekend. Before we start celebrating too much, note that the margin of victory was tiny at just over $500,000. But at this point a victory is a victory and the movie industry will take them anyway they can get them. On a week-to-week basis we actually saw pretty good growth, rising by 5.2%, which is strange for a post-holiday weekend. Year-to-date, 2005 is still off by 8% $4.523 billion to $4.934 billion while the summer is down 11% $2.023 billion vs. $2.281 billion.

Wow. The Fantastic Four not only beat expectations, it crushed them, earning an incredible $56.1 million, the third best opening of the year. Reviews suggest the film will have very short legs, but even so a sequel is probably already in the works. As for why this film succeeded where so many other films failed, other films that were clearly better films failed, that's a tough question. Better marketing campaign is one reason, bigger marketing campaign alone helped, but I think the film appealed to kids more than analysts were expecting. That family appeal would normally help the film's legs, but with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory coming out next weekend that probably won't happen.

A lot of analysts were expecting War of the Worlds to hang onto its box office better than most films this year since it wasn't a sequel. However, even without sequelitis the film fell 53% to $30.5 million. Even with that disappointing drop-off the film will still be the second highest grossing film of the year by the end of next weekend, and it will also show a strong profit.

Batman Begins beat expectations, earning almost exactly $10.0 million over the weekend and pushing its total to $171.9 million so far. It's still a week away from overtaking Hitch on 2005's chart, and it won't be long afterwards that Madagascar falls, but it will be overtaken by War of the Worlds before that happens.

Dark Water couldn't even match lowered expectations, missing the $10 million market by smallest of margins. With the weak reviews will likely come short legs, and that could spell the end to the Japanese remake trend, at least for a while.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith held on amazingly over the weekend, adding $7.9 million to its box office. Its 25.5%, post-holiday drop-off was the best in the top ten and one of the reasons the slump ended this weekend.

Also beating expectations was Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith with $2.6 million. That was just enough for the film to overtake The Passion of the Christ on the All Time Charts. Spider-Man 2 is the next film to fall, and that could happen as early as this weekend.

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Filed under: Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith, The Passion of the Christ, War of the Worlds, Batman Begins, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Fantastic Four, Dark Water