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Elf is the Master at the Box Office

November 18th, 2003

Sorry for the delay, there was a power outage last night.

Both wide releases faltered at the box office, one more than the other did. And with the other quasi-wide release not a factor in the top 5, it was a hard weekend at the box office. The box office was down 14% from last weekend, and almost 25% from last year, when Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets opened.

While there were two other movies aimed at kids were playing this weekend, they were no competition for Elf. The Will Farrell Christmas comedy dropped a stellar 15% taking in $26.3 million. That raised its two-week total to just over $70 million and makes $100 million a forgone conclusion. With a production budget estimated at $30 - $35 million, and a P&A budget a little lower than that, Elf should make a healthy profit during its domestic run.

Master and Commander: Far Side of the World wasn't so lucking at the box office. It was only able to make $25.1 million (or roughly $697 thousand per letter in its title.) Even with fantastic reviews, it won't have the legs to match the $150 million production budget and unless it has stronger appeal international, the studio won't see a dime of profit till long after its hit the home market.

It's hard to put a positive spin of The Matrix Revolutions' performance thus far. It opening to the third best Wednesday opening ever then quickly dropped before having to settle for $48.5 million opening weekend. But that's miles above its second weekend performance of just $16.4 million. That's a drop of a little more than 66%, only The Hulk had a bigger drop after finishing first. Expectations for The Matrix Revolutions were at $350 million when the year began, but they've been dropping ever since. Now, most analysts predict it will end closer to $150 million, barely more than its budget. And the backlash is so strong that it will affect the sales of the DVD box set.

Brother Bear might be remembered as one of the last feature length 2D animated cartoons released, at least for a long, long time. Weekend grosses are dropping much to fast for a Disney film, down almost 35% this weekend to $12.1 million.

The bad news is, Looney Tunes: Back in Action opening with only $9.3 million at the box office. The good news is, it had an internal multiplier of 4.28, which suggests good legs. The bad news is, the total budget to produce and advertise was $120 million. Average reviews won't help, so it looks like the studio will be stuck paying for this one for a while.

Love Actually wasn't able to live up to expectations. It did finish sixth with the best week-to-week performance, but the actual box office was only $8.7 million. Even if it disappoints domestically, it should easily earn $100 million internationally.

Tupac: Resurrection's weekend was strange, to say the least. It earned an impressive $2.5 million on Friday but ended the weekend at just $4.6 million. That's an internal multiplier of just 1.86, which is ridiculously low. It will be interesting to see how the rest of its run goes. Excellent reviews and genre suggest excellent legs. But that internal multiplier is very puzzling.

One final note, both The Matrix Revolutions and Scary Movie 3 cracked the $100 mark. They were the 22nd and 23rd movies to do so this year. One more and 2003 will tie last year's record.

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Filed under: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Elf, The Matrix Revolutions, Hulk, Scary Movie 3, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Brother Bear, Love Actually, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Tupac Resurrection