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Summer Should Start to Simmer

May 14th, 2004

This week looks reasonably stronger than last week, but nothing like this time last year when The Matrix Reloaded opened. Still, as long as we can see significant growth each weekend in May, then 2003 should maintain its lead on 2004.

It's another easy choice for top spot at the box office this week as Troy has no real competition. And like last week's winner, Troy's performance should be compared to previous years to see if it is a success or not; the obvious choice for comparison is Gladiator. Critically, there's not much competition has Troy's overall rating is well below that of Gladiator. Troy's reviews are not bad, per say, but let's just say no one is predicting Oscar glory either. At the box office it's another story as Troy will easily trump the $34.8 million opening Gladiator managed back in 2000; some are even predicting it will double that figure. I think that's a little optimistic, but $60 million is a solid goal. However, without the impressive word of mouth, (even positive reviews admit the movie has little emotional resonance) it simple won't have the same legs leaving its final box office somewhere between its production budget, ($175 million) and Gladiator's final box office, ($188 million.)

Van Helsing should become the first pump and dump of the year, (a pump and dump is a movie that opens with more than $30 million but drops 50% the following weekend.) This is partly due to poor reviews, partly due to strong competition, but mostly because this is just the way the movie industry works these days. Update: I previously wrote that this film's was going to drop big, but I forgot to say what my actual prediction was. It's $21 million for the weekend and $100 million by next weekend.

Mean Girls should drop just the single place and earn an impressive $9 million at the box office. Had it opened with $9 million two weeks ago it would have been considered a modest success. Its run so far is already above what most people thought it would earn in total and it has at least one more weekend in the top five.

At first glance, it looks like Breakin' All the Rules might have been better served as a direct to video release. Really bad reviews, very small release and an almost no existent ad campaign. And first impressions will probably turn out to be correct. $7 million is the most likely result this weekend, but there's a lot of wiggle room here. It could open with as much as $10 million or it could completely bomb and finish with less than $10 million total.

This should be Man on Fire's last weekend in the top five, or not depending on how well Breakin' All the Rules does. Look for $5 million this weekend, which will push its box office above its production budget.

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Filed under: The Matrix Reloaded, Troy, Van Helsing, Mean Girls, Man on Fire, Breakin' All the Rules