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Will the Change of Season Change 2005's Fortunes?

September 9th, 2005

The fall box office season begins today with what is historically one of the worst weekends of the year. There's not much in the way of quality releases this week, but with only two widely different films going wide, at least they won't be stealing moviegoers away from each other.

Movies based on real life, especially horror films, have a tendency to be sold based on the source and not the quality of the film. After all, it's much easier to convince someone that the film is really scary if they believe it really happened. The Exorcism of Emily Rose is no different (although it is more of a courtroom drama than a true horror film). Reviews have fallen to just 42% positive after starting the week at 80%, but the film should still have an easy time taking top spot with $13 million. I do have doubts about the film's long-term potential, however.

If The 40 Year-Old Virgin can continue is leggy performance at the box off this weekend, it should be able to remain in second place for the second weekend in a row. Even with the worst week-to-week performance during its run so far, the film should still earn another $8 million and it could earn more than $9 million. Either way, it will be enough to keep the film on pace to cross $100 million.

The weekend after a long weekend is usually marred by steep drop-offs, and it's the same for sequels during their sophomore stint. So with both of those causes relevant to The Transporter 2, there's little doubt how well it will hold up this weekend. Best case scenario has it falling 50% and landing at a little more than $8 million. Worst case scenario has it falling more than 60% and plummeting to $6.5 million. I think it will come up a little closer to the former than the latter giving the film $7.5 million for the weekend and just over $30 million in 10 days, more than the original earned during its entire run.

The second new release of the weekend is The Man, which is actually earning better than expected reviews. OK granted, its reviews are still terrible, but many people were expecting its Tomatometer to be in single digits. On the other hand, it is only opening in roughly 2,000 theatres and that will hurt its box office a lot more than a few more positive reviews will help it. So look for $6 million over the weekend and $15 million in total.

The Constant Gardener should have one of the best week-to-week drop-offs in the top ten thanks to its mature target audience and its stellar reviews. This weekend the film should add $5 million to its box office, which is very close to expectations for its opening weekend.

Lastly, we have a couple of notes that were omitted on Monday regarding last weekend due to me forgetting to include them. Firstly, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reached $200 million, just the fourth film to do so this year. And secondly, the summer box office ticket sales were the worst level since 1997.

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Filed under: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The 40 Year-old Virgin, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Transporter 2, The Constant Gardener, The Man