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Along Comes a New Number One

January 16th, 2004

With three new movies opening wide this weekend, we should finally have a new number one at the box office. But don't expect it to be number one in the minds of the critics. With Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday we should see a sizeable increase at the box office.

Along Came Polly stars Ben Stiller so it's not surprise it's being compared to There's Something About Mary. Unfortunately, it is almost always in a negative way. Critically it can only manage 30% positive and even less from the cream of the crop. It should do much better at the box office, but that has more to do with the lack of quality competition. Look for a bigger opening than Ben's last movie's total box office; $15 million the three-day weekend, just under $20 million if you include Monday and a shot at $50 million total.
There will be quite a battle for second place between Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Big Fish with the two finishing just a few hundred thousand apart. Return of the King, which topped the original's total run in just 29 days, should have a slight advantage over Big Fish. It's $10 million 3-day and $13 million 4-day totals will also push it past Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone into tenth all-time with Forrest Gump falling sometime during the mid-week.

Big Fish expands into another 100+ theatres, and that should help it keep most of its audience this weekend. But it was shutout of yesterday's SAG nominations, so its long-term success is a little less bright today. But it should finish just a rounding error behind Return of the King with $10 million / $13 million.

It's too bad I wasn't doing box office predictions this time last year, or I could have simply cut and pasted the prediction for Biker Boyz and used it for Torque. Torque is opening in quite a few more theatres, but it is also getting much worse reviews and the genre has been overdone lately. Give it a little less than $9 million / $12 million for the weekend, and $25 million for its total run. On a side note, it was supposed to be released this time last year, but was pushed back due to Biker Boyz.

Cheaper by the Dozen will spend it's last weekend in the top five, but will do it in the top spot for theatre count. Having already earned $100 million at the box office, this weekend's $8 million 3-day, and just shy of $11 million 4-day totals will push it ever closer to being profitable domestically.

The last movie to open wide this week is Teacher's Pet, which is based on the TV show of the same name. This movie is easily getting the best reviews of the new releases, but doesn't have the name recognition / advertising push of the other two movies. And as we've seen time and time again, quality means little at the box office. Look for $6 million / $8 million at the box office.

Cat in the Hat, Last Samurai and Something's Gotta Give will all cross $100 million over the long weekend. That makes 29 films released in 2003 to do so.


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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Cheaper by the Dozen, Something's Gotta Give, The Last Samurai, The Cat in the Hat, Big Fish, Torque, Teacher's Pet: The Movie