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July 19th, 2004

The number one movie this week was right on target with moviegoers, beating almost all predictions, but it may have come at the expense of others films. This kept the box office relatively flat both from last week (up 3.13%) and last year (up 1.95%). Year-to-date still has 2004 up by 6% over 2003, $5.16 billion to $4.86 billion.

It wasn't the biggest July opening ever, but it was the biggest of Will Smith's career, barely, topping his previous best by just a touch more than $30,000. The $52.2 million earned by I, Robot was an unexpected boon to the market, as it easily beat almost every analyst's prediction. However, with reviews that were just able to stay above the 60% needed for an overall positive rating, the film should have reasonable legs, but nothing fantastic. $100 million is a given, $200 million is probably out of reach.

The better than expected performance from I, Robot helped push Spider-man 2 down a just little faster than expected to $24.8 million. The film just crossed $300 million on Sunday, one day longer than Shrek 2's record breaking performance. So to recap the speed records so far, Spider-man 2 missed fastest to $100 million by a day, broke fastest to $200 million also by a day and has now missed fastest to $300 million by the same margin. It still has a marginally shot at $400 million, but it's very unlikely that it will break that record.

Anchorman's sophomore slump was just a tad steeper than predicted, landing at $13.8 million. This makes $100 million unlikely; however, it could still make a profit before its domestic run is finished. And that's quite a rare feat these days.

Proving once again 'Tweens don't read reviews, A Cinderella Story opened strongly with $13.6 million, about 10% lower than predicted. That's a bit of a step back for Hilary Duff, but better than average for the genre. And without any direct competition until Princess Diaries 2 opens in a few weeks, the film should have enough legs to make the studio happy. However, the film will have to wait until the home market to show a profit.

Both Fahrenheit 9/11 and King Arthur hit their predictions nearly perfectly. And while both films earned $7.2 million, for the former it is a big success, but for the latter it is a massive disappointment. For Fahrenheit 9/11, it means the films is just one week from becoming the first documentary to hit $100 million. However, for King Arthur it was a serious second week drop-off, and since its total budget is roughly $150 million, Disney is going to suffer a big loss on this movie. And don't expect the studio to push the movie hard internationally to make up for the poor performance domestically because the risk is simple too great.

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Filed under: Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2, I, Robot, Fahrenheit 9/11, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, King Arthur, A Cinderella Story