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The Cat in the Hat takes Top Spot

November 24th, 2003

So far this month there have been no massive hits like there were last year. This week there was a token increase from last weekend, (2.5%) but without a Harry Potter or a James Bond at the box office we're seeing more and more drops from last year. This week it was a 13% drop and year to date 2003 is now more than 1% lower than last year. That might not seem like much, but it works out $100 million despite higher ticket prices.

The Cat in the Hat's opening weekend was a little better than predicted earning $38.3 million. However, the chances for long-term success for the picture are not very strong. First of all, the reviews were just terrible at only just 14% positive, and while kids don't read reviews the parents who take them to the movies do. Secondly, the international appeal is limited; The Grinch earned $260 million domestically but just $80 million internationally. And lastly, the cost is just too high. Factoring in both production and P&A, it cost the studio nearly $150 million to get The Cat in the Hat into theatres. Strong home market sales and overwhelming marketing alliances will be its only saving graces.

It's hard to say is Gothika was a success based on a $19.3 million opening. It was the best opening of the four Dark Castle Entertainment films released so far; it was also the most expensive. And even though it only received 13% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, only House on Haunted Hill did better with critics. If it follows the same pattern as the rest of the Dark Castle Entertainment movies, it should end with $50 million at the box office. Their best effort so far, but barely more than the production budget.

With $18.7 million at the box office, Elf fell a little bit faster at the box office this week and will have to wait till next weekend to break $100 million. This is still an excellent third weekend figure and should result in a pay-raise for Will Ferrell.

Despite excellent reviews and an older demographic, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World had only an average week-to-week drop. The film dropped almost 40% to $15.2 million, sinking the hopes of the studio for long legs and profitability. Only Oscar hype can save this film now.

Of the three movies I predicted would battle for fifth place, only one managed to meet expectations.

Love Actually dropped less than 1% at the box office this week earning another $8.6 million. So far it has only made $30 million domestically, but it should continue to do well into the holiday season. It should also be noted that Love Actually could have not opened domestically at all and it still would have been a huge hit for the studio as it will earn $200 million internationally.

After only two weeks, The Matrix Revolutions started shedding theatres, that is all you really need to know about its performance so far. In week three it dropped almost 60% to just $7.0 million. It won't make $150 million, and it might make less than half what The Matrix Reloaded made just a few months ago.

After two weeks of holding up well to ever increasing competition, the bubble finally burst on Brother Bear. It only managed $5.3 million this week and it should see its theatre count drop dramatically in the coming weeks.

Another kids' movie that couldn't handle the increased competition was Looney Tunes: Back in Action. After only make $9.4 million opening weekend; Warner Bros. was relying on strong legs for any chance at profits. However, during its second weekend it collapsed at the box office dropping to just $4.2 million. On the bright side, sales of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection were so strong that a second collection is now in the works and should be released some time next year. Hopefully the next one will include Hillbilly Hare.

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Filed under: Elf, The Matrix Revolutions, The Cat in the Hat, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Brother Bear, Gothika, Love Actually, Looney Tunes: Back in Action