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A Hero's Welcome

August 30th, 2004

We had a surprise number one at the box office this weekend, and add to that a few holdovers that held up better than expected and the weekend wasn't as bad as it could have been. It was still down by 12.1% from last weekend, but was nearly flat with last year up just 1.24%. Granted, this time last year it was the Labor Day Long Weekend, which even as the slowest long weekend of the year will throw off the comparison by a little bit. Year to date 2004 continues to see its lead shrink and it now sits at just over 4%, barely more than ticket price inflation.

On Friday I was worried the late push Miramax was giving Hero would hurt its chances. But those fears were unfounded as the film pilled in an impressive $18.0 million over the weekend, although the internal multiplier is a little lower than I would have expected. Outstanding reviews should help the film earn long legs, and could be an indication that it will be a major player when it comes to the award season.

Despite opening in nearly 50% more theatres than Hero, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid had to settle for second place with $12.8 million. Three factors, Sequelitis, poor reviews and a market trends, will combine to give this film very short legs. In the end it will probably earn less than half what the original took in back in 1997.

There were a few surprises with the clump of films finishing third through fifth. Without a Paddle and Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement finished in the opposite order than what I expected earning $8.6 million and $8.1 million respectively. Both films are showing some serious legs, a rarity this year. Exorcist: The Beginning, however, dropped from first to fifth with $7.1 million, which was to be expected.

Suspect Zero couldn't even live up to lowered expectations as it could only muster $3.4 million. Very poor reviews and a short stint in the theatres will mean this film will be completely forgotten by October.

Unlike our next movie, Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2, which will long be remembered as one of the worst movies ever. Reviews are still sitting at 0% positive but the film earned a surprising $3.3 million at the box office and almost managed a spot in the top 10. The fact that the film came that close to entering the Top Ten is a testament to how low moviegoers' expectations have fallen.

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Filed under: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Without a Paddle, Jet Li's Hero, Exorcist: The Beginning, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Suspect Zero