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Sweet Success

July 18th, 2005

The weekend box office was even busier than expected, despite the incredible competition on Saturday from the release of the latest Harry Potter novel. Every film in the top ten topped Sunday estimates and landed within a couple million of predictions, leading to a 10.5% increase from last week, and more importantly, a 7.1% increase from last year. Year-to-date things are not as rosy: 2005 is still down 8.1% from last year with $4.751 billion, while the summer is down by 10.5% at $2.25 billion.

It was a good news/bad news situation as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory beat expectations by more than a million with $56.2 million, becoming the third best opening of the year. The bad news is that the film had a bad internal multiplier at just 2.71. The reviews were excellent, so poor word-of-mouth is unlikely, and while the people involved in the making of the movie certainly have a lot of fans, they don't have enough for the Fanboy Effect to kick in. So how do you explain the low multiplier? Simple. It's Harry Potter's fault. Kids were so intent at getting the latest Harry Potter novel on Saturday that they saw the movie on Friday or Sunday instead. So they film should see excellent midweek numbers, strong legs, and the target is still to reach $200 million.

The biggest surprise of the weekend has to be The Wedding Crashers, which beat everyone's expectations with $33.9 million. Its reviews can be credited with a lot of the increased box office, and the film should have no problem breaking original expectations.

As expected, The Fantastic Four saw a deep drop-off over the weekend, falling by just shy of 60% to $22.8 million while crossing $100 million in the meantime. It has become just the tenth film released this year to reach that milestone and, according to Executive Producer Avi Arad, there is a sequel already in the works.

War of the Worlds just avoided seeing its box office cut in half by about $10,000, finishing with $15.2 million over the weekend and $192.4 million so far. It is now the second-highest grossing film of the year, and only a handful of other films released during the rest of the year that will even come close to that figure.

Batman Begins managed to meet the lower end of the predicted range, adding $6.0 million to its $183.1 million running tally. That's less than $1 million behind Madagascar for third place for the year, and it should top that film as early as this week.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith climbed ahead of Spider-Man 2 on the All Time Charts by less than $400,000. But with Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King weeks away, this will be the last weekly report for Sith Watch. And when the film climbs into seventh place, that will be the last milestone it will reach, at least on the domestic front.

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Filed under: Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, The Wedding Crashers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Begins, Fantastic Four