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Analysts Predict Box Office Doom

October 21st, 2005

Another week, another four movies opening wide. But only one of those films is earning positive reviews. And with the overall weakness in the market, the four films combined openings could be less than last year's number one film. But hopefully the box office numbers will be strong enough to avoid that fate.

Doom should have little trouble earning top spot. In fact, it could be the only film this weekend to top $10 million. Granted, its reviews are hardly award winning, but its ad campaign has been effective enough for it to do respectable business for at least one weekend. The worst case scenario would see the film open in the low-teens and disappear from theatres sometime in early November. The best case scenario is an opening just north of $30 million and strong enough legs to reach $100 million. More likely, the film will earn a $20 million start and $45 million in total.

The latest Oscar hopeful is North Country, which started out with amazing reviews, but has since dropped to a Tomatometer score of just 67% positive. That is still better than most wide releases, but it's not up to the level you would expect from the big winner on Oscar night. I still expect several nominations, but it won't have a Million Dollar night. As for its chances at the box office, it should secure second place with $11 million, but if it dips below $10 million over the next three days I won't be too surprised.

The leggiest film of the month has been Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and it should retain that crown this weekend, dropping just 30% to $8 million. That will give the film $43 million during its run, which is nearly enough to pay for its production budget. Reaching profitability domestically is probably out of reach, but since the film is doing better internationally than it is domestically it should have no problem making a profit before the home market. And it should clean up once it comes out on video.

Next up is Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, which is playing in anywhere from 1,800 to 2,600 theatres depending on what source you go by. Assuming the 2,007 figure we have is accurate, the film should open with just shy of $8 million and finish in fourth place. This is lower than initial expectations, but the reviews are weaker and the theatre count is way lower. With a younger demographic, the film should have better than average legs, but I don't fancy its chances internationally.

Coming in fifth place should be Elizabethtown, which failed to meet expectations last weekend. This weekend the studio is hoping for a shallow drop-off to salvage its run, but a 40% drop-off is in order. That will leave the film with $6.5 million over the weekend and just under $20 million during its run. Compared to its production budget, that's simply not enough.

Lastly there's Stay, which is opening in just 1,684 theatres. The reviews are abysmal, and the ad campaign is almost non-existent (at least I haven't seen any ads). All this adds up to an opening of less than $5 million and a mercifully short stay in theatres.


Filed under: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, Doom, Elizabethtown, North Country, Stay