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Weekend Preview: Early Edition

July 2nd, 2003

Three movies open tonight to take advantage of the July 4th long weekend. And despite each of them having a distinct audience, they are entering a crowded market and at least one of them will be squeezed out.

The seemingly never-ending parade of high profile, high expectation blockbusters continue with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Since May almost every week another blockbuster hits the screen, and for the most part they’ve lived up to box office expectations, for at least at week. Judging how well this one will do it a bit tricky. While this has the sequel hype to help the first weekend, it also has to deal with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent slump. But after factoring in all the variables, including impressive reviews, I’m confident it will make $20 million today, and $61 million this weekend. A record for both July 4th and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Its long-term success is still up in the air, but it could beat its predecessor.

Another sequel opening today is Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. The original was a surprise hit for MGM studios in 2001, and they are hopefully it the sequel will build on that success. And for the sake of the studio, it better. So far in 2003, MGM/UA as only had one hit (Agent Cody Banks) in seven tries. By the end of the long weekend, Legally Blonde 2 could match Agent Cody Banks’ Box Office Total, but I think that’s a little optimistic. Reviews are very weak when compared to the original, but on par with Reese Witherspoon’s biggest hit, Sweet Home Alabama. $9 million today, and another $29 million on the weekend, with $100 million overall the target.

Traditional animation has been in quite a slump since Pixar hit the scene. Last year, only one cell-animated movie made more than $100 million at the box office, and the year before that, none did. And Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas doesn’t look like it will buck the trend. Not that the reviews are bad, but at just above 50% they certainly are not good. Combined with the over-crowded market and $6 million today and $14 million on the weekend could be too optimistic.

Predictions for holdovers will be posted on Friday.

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Filed under: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas