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Double the Fun for Shrek 2

May 28th, 2004

With the buzz around this week's new wide releases less than impressive, Shrek 2 should repeat as winner at the box office. And at least one, and possibly both, of the wide releases could be D.O.A.

Back in 2001 Shrek opened the weekend before the Memorial Day long weekend and it managed to grow the following weekend. Now no one is expecting Shrek 2 to do the same, but the holiday should help it minimize any lose. Still, with such a huge opening a drop of more than 30% is almost inevitable, but a 3-day take of $70 million and a four day take of $85 million easily be enough to take top spot and to pass $200 million at the box office. On a side note, if the inconceivable happens and Shrek 2 does improve this weekend, then Titanic's records could fall.

If The Day After Tomorrow hopes to unseat Shrek 2 at the box office this weekend, it will need better reviews to do so. Films like this have 3 factors that determine if it's worth seeing: Are the destruction scenes thrilling? Definitely. Are the characters and dialogue compelling? Not really. Is the science sound? Unfortunately, it is not. The real problem with the science is in scale and time. Global warming is a real problem, but it's not going to cause a new Ice Age overnight. It will cause Tornado season in the mid-west to last a little bit longer and be a little fiercer. Hurricanes in Florida will be more common and hit harder. Summers will be hotter and drier meaning more forest fires in the west and more severe droughts in the farm belt. The total effect of global warming is serious and it needs to be dealt with. But by making a mockery of the science behind it, not only will people be less likely to watch the film again, I fear this movie will make a mockery of the debate instead of encouraging it. But back to the box office predictions … with only one of the three key factors in place, this film will struggle to earn back its $175 million total budget. But at least it has the most important factor for a big opening. So look for $55 million over the first 3 days and $66 million including Monday.

Troy should become just the fifth film to make $100 million at the box office this year, (by this time last year we already have seven such films.) Granted, $13 million / $16 million during its third week of release isn't a strong result for a movie that cost $150 million to make, but stronger international demand means Warner Bros. won't lose money on this project.

So far in May every counter-programming movie has failed at the box office. And this week looks no different. This will lead to a four way battle for the final two spots on the top five between newcomers Raising Helen and Soul Plane and holdovers Van Helsing and Mean Girls.

Raising Helen opens in just over 2700 theatres, which is pretty good, but also opens with really bad reviews. Also, except for the surprise hit, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, star Kate Hudson has yet to have a breakout hit.

Soul Plane, on the other hand, barely opens wide with a theatre count of just 1566. And its reviews are only slightly better. With a similar target audience as Breakin' All the Rules and similar theatre count and reviews, it should earn a similar result.

The holdovers are also a bit of a contrast. Van Helsing has quite the lead over Mean Girls going into the weekend, but it lost more theatres than Mean Girls did. Also The Day After Tomorrow is more direct competition hurting its box office even more.

Out of the four films battling for fourth and fifth spot, Mean Girls should be helped out the most by the long weekend, at least percent wise. But it is starting far enough behind the others that it probably won't be enough to make it in the top five one last time.

Taking everything into consideration look for all four films to finish with between $7 million and $5 million for the three day portion of the weekend and $9 and $6 million overall.

4th place: Raising Helen with $7 million over 3 days and just over $8million overall.
5th place: Soul Plane with $6 million / $7 million.
6th place: Van Helsing also with $6 million / $7 million.
7th place: Mean Girls with $5 million / just over $6 million.

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Filed under: Shrek 2, The Day After Tomorrow, Troy, Van Helsing, Mean Girls, Raising Helen, Soul Plane, Breakin' All the Rules