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A Thankless Holiday

November 28th, 2003

This Thanksgiving is turning out to be rather disappointing. Early estimates are about on par with last year when all five wide releases failed to make a major impact at the box office. This year will be a little better, but only because of inflation.

After finishes third to The Cat in the Hat and Gothika, it looks like Elf will regain top spot this weekend with $25 million for the remainder of the weekend. This will be the second non-consecutive weekend that Elf has finished first. And it did it without opening in first place, very unusual. Also of note, it crossed $100 million on Wednesday and will have the legs for $150 million as well.

The Haunted Mansion didn't fare as well as expected on Wednesday, so I've lowered expectations for the rest of the weekend down to $24 million. Reviews have also dropped since Wednesday and are now down to just 15% positive. Fortunately for Disney, this is the last family film to open till Christmas day when Cheaper By the Dozen, (which has a sneak peak today) and Peter Pan open. So it should have enough legs to cross $100 million by then.

Bad reviews and competition are catching up to The Cat in the Hat. Although it finished first on Wednesday, it dropped to third by Thursday. It should finish the weekend with $22 million and finish its run north of $100 million.

Bad Santa and Gothika will be in a close fight for the last two spots in the top five. Bad Santa, which was the only new opener to exceed expectations, should have the slight edge. Bad Santa has the best reviews of any new release, much better than Gothika. Its box office, on the other hand, will only be slightly ahead $14 million to Gothika's $13 million.

Opening just out of the top five is The Missing with just over $10 million. Financially and an critically, this is well behind Ron Howard's usual performance. It will be interesting to see if he can bounce back with The Cinderella Man next year.

The last of the movie to open wide on Wednesday was Timeline. Not only did it suffer through the worst reviews this week; it will also open in just 8th or 9th place with $8 million. All for a cost of $75 million to make and $25 million to advertise.

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Filed under: Elf, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Cat in the Hat, The Haunted Mansion, Bad Santa, Gothika, Peter Pan, The Missing, Timeline