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Running Over the Competition

September 26th, 2003

Another week, another three new movies are released. Two of the three movies are getting positive reviews, but it might be bit of a shock which movie is getting the best reviews.

Neither The Rock nor Seann William Scott has a reputation for staring in critically acclaimed movies. In fact, between them only the first American Pie has earned better than the 60% needed for an overall fresh rating needed at Rotten Tomatoes. So it comes as bit of a shock that The Rundown is getting the good reviews that it is. 74% is well above the other two releases for the weekend, and the best for either star. And its box office will be even farther ahead of the nearest rival with $25 million this weekend.

Underworld will drop just over 50% to $10 million, something that would have been seen as a disaster earlier in the year but is now seen as par for the course. There is already talk of a second, and possibly third film being made.

In third place will be the trailer for Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Anticipation for the last of the trilogy is so high that the trailer will pull in $9 million this weekend. Also showing is Secondhand Lions.

Despite opening in only 1,226 theatres, Under the Tuscan Sun will land $8 million for fourth place. Reviews are mixed, but on the positive side and a good performance this week should lead to an increased theatre count in the coming weeks.

The gospel comedy The Fighting Temptations will land in fifth place with will with just over $7 million. Probably not what Paramount was hoping for, and closes out a poor year in which the studio had only two hits in nine tries.

The latest dark comedy from director Danny Devito, Duplex, also opens this weekend. Danny Devito's directorial debut was Throw Mamma from the Train and he followed that up with War of the Roses. Both were dark comedies and both were hits. However, his last movie was the dark comedy Death to Smoochy, which failed to connect with an audience despite the almost Oscar worthy performance by Jon Stewart. Unfortunately, it looks like Duplex will resemble Death to Smoochy more than the other two. It is opening in nearly identical theatre counts (2,189 to 2,164) and nearly identical reviews (41% to 40%) and should get nearly identical opening weekends ($4.5 million to $4.3 million.)

Also of note, Lost in Translation is expected to stay in the top ten, perhaps even climb a spot.

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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Underworld, The Rundown, Lost in Translation, Under the Tuscan Sun, Secondhand Lions, The Fighting Temptations, Duplex