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Yikes. Just yikes.

January 30th, 2004

It's been a while since the prospects for catching a good movie at the theatres was this bad. And it's not like there's lack of wide releases this week. There are three of them. Three wide releases with combined reviews of only 17% positive. In fact, the box office race for top spot should prove more interesting that any of the movies trying to get there.

With the new releases' box office prospects only slightly better than their critical prospects, it looks like The Butterfly Effect will repeat at the top of the box office charts this weekend. But it could end up perilously close to missing $10 million. And that would be the first time a first place film didn't make at least $10 million since Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. I think it will avoid that fact making $11 million.

The new releases with the best shot at unseating The Butterfly Effect is The Perfect Score. This film is far from perfect, generating reviews that are just 18% positive. Since it's target audience may have just taken their SATs last weekend, the film has good timing on its side … and that's it. Look for $10 million this weekend.

On paper, The Big Bounce looks great. Based on a book by Elmore Leonard, with a great cast. But obviously something must have gone wrong since it's being dumped in January and the reviews concur. It should finish in 3rd place with just under $10 million this weekend before fading away.

The final movie with a shot at first place is Along Came Polly. Now in it's third weekend of release, it should earn a little more than $9 million, putting its total box office close to its total budget. A string international run will mean profit for the studio before this film hits the home market.

With 4 Golden Globes and 11 Oscar nominations, it's been a great week for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. And how well that translates into this weekend's box office will have a large effect on its final box office. Already the number one film of the year, (beating Finding Nemo yesterday) it should have no trouble overtaking Jurassic Park. If its box office remains flat, or even increases from last weekend, it should be able to pass Spider-Man and hit the top 5 all time. But a slight drop to just under $6 million this weekend is more likely.

The last film to open wide this weekend, You Got Served, has the best reviews, but at only 19% positive, that's not saying much. In fact, statistically speaking, the margin of error is almost as great as its score. Poor reviews, theatre count less than 2000, and a target audience that hasn't existed since Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo all adds up to a dismal performance. Look for just $4 million at the box office this weekend, and in two weeks it should lose the majority of those theatres.

If you're looking for a quality film, may I suggest checking out the Miracle sneak preview on Saturday. Or one of several Oscar nominated films that are expanding this weekend, like Master and Commander or Lost in Translation. Or you could check out any of the limited releases that I'll talk about in my next story.


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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Miracle, The Butterfly Effect, Lost in Translation, You Got Served, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, The Perfect Score, The Big Bounce, Along Came Polly