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Plump Prospects for the Turkey Day Long Weekend

November 23rd, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend is as busy as ever. With five films opening wide (and another expanding wide) and with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire a dead cert to finish first again, many of the films will have a difficult time attracting moviegoers.

This is one of the most lucrative weekends of the year, and it should help Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire maintain a lot of its momentum from last weekend, as will the reviews. However, its massive opening will mean a relatively steep decline is inevitable, as most of the people who wanted to see the movie already have. So look for $60 million over the 3-day weekend and $80 million overall, which gives the film nearly $200 million in just 10 days.

Up next is another holdover, Walk the Line, which should hold up much better, partially due to its older demographic, but mostly because it lacks the Fanboy Effect of the previous film. It could have a week-to-week drop-off of just 20%, leaving it with just shy of $18 million over the 3-day weekend. And if that happens, it should earn about $25 million over the next 5 days.

Up next is yet another holdover, Chicken Little. (At this point it should be clear how weak the new releases are.) The family friendly nature of the film plus the holidays could help the film grow over the 3-day frame, although I think it will instead remain flat with just under $15 million. However, the holidays will boost the midweek numbers, giving the film $20 million more from now until Sunday.

The first new release of the week will either be Yours, Mine & Ours or Rent, depending on if you are talking about the 3-day or 5-day weekend. The holidays will help Yours, Mine & Ours get off to a better start due to its family friendly nature, but Rent will have more stamina due to its better reviews. (Although neither film is doing all that well with the critics, with the latter film ahead 47% positive to 13%.) Rent should win the weekend $14 million to $13 million, but Yours, Mine & Ours will have the better start overall, with just over $19 million compared to just under $19 million.

Just missing the top five will be Just Friends. The film is earning the best reviews for a wide release this week with a whopping 48% positive. The film is supposed to be a romantic comedy, but I don't think it is being marketed successfully as one. This will hurt at the box office giving the film a $10 million / $13 million start, which is still much better than original expectations, but the film's real success will come on the home market.

On the other hand, The Ice Harvest won't earn as much as I was expecting. Part of the problem is the film's reviews, which at 45% positive are not up to John Cusack's career average. But also hurting the film's chances is its low theatre count and the lack of publicity. That all will add up to $8 million over the weekend and $10 million overall.

The best-reviewed wide release of the week isn't technically a new release. Pride & Prejudice has done amazingly well during its select cites release, but now that it's going wide, the real challenge begins. Granted, 1,300 theatres is not all that wide of a release, but it is more than 6 times what the film was playing in last weekend. Most likely, this will result in a $6 million / $8 million performance, but if it hit $10 million over the 5-days, it would not be that shocking.

Since I've mentioned the previous eight films, I might as well do the whole top ten. Zathura should be helped out by the holidays, but that will be mitigated by its theatre count shrinking by roughly 600. Look for just under $5 million over the weekend and just over $6 million in total.

Lastly there's In The Mix, which is the stealth opening this weekend. Small theatre count, an ad campaign that is ineffective and what little reviews there are are all negative. That adds up to an opening weekend of just under $4 million and a 5-day total of just over $5 million, and that might not be enough to make the top ten as Derailed is looking to score similar numbers.

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Filed under: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chicken Little, Walk the Line, Yours, Mine and Ours, Pride & Prejudice, Derailed, Just Friends, Rent, Zathura, In the Mix, The Ice Harvest