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Will Last be First?

December 5th, 2003

Guessing what movie will finish first this weekend is a no-brainer. Guessing where the second new release of the weekend will land is a little trickier. Leftovers... I mean holdovers will suffer the post holiday blues this weekend, especially family friendly films.

Tom Cruise's star status isn't shining as much as it was when he set the record for most $100 million movies in a row, (a record Tom Hank has since broken.) But The Last Samurai should put the shine back in his star, right? Well, not so fast. The amount of advanced buzz for latest film doesn't compared to his earlier work. And neither does the reviews; 69% positive is good, but not the critical success he's used too. Still, look for a little less than $30 million and an easy first place finish.

Last weekend there was a close, three-way race for first spot between three, family friendly films, (with the top two with less than 1% of each other.) This week, look for the three films to lose an average of almost 60% at the box office.

Proving it has the longest legs will be Elf. Look for it to drop less than 50% to just over $11 million. That's 11 million and a second place finish in its 5th weekend of release. It will also be just one more weekend away from $150 million.

The Cat in the Hat and for The Haunted Mansion finished in a dead heat last weekend, and expect them to do the same this weekend. Both will earn $10 million with The Haunted Mansion having the slight edge.

Bad Santa's been number one at the box office since Monday. And should be able to carry enough of that momentum to take 5th place this weekend with slightly more than $7 million.

And that brings us to the real wildcard of the weekend, Honey. After being bounced around a bit, it is finally opening in less than 2000 theatres and to awful reviews. (Interestingly, Metacritic has Honey at 42%, which basically means while most reviews are not recommending it, they don't hate it either.) That could mean Honey could earn a box office of only $4 million and miss the top ten. Although similar movies have surprised at the box office and Honey could make as much as $15 - 17 million finishing second. But I think Honey will be much closer to the low end of that range. I'm predicting $6 million and out of the top five.

One last note, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition is being released in theatres this weekend. Previously, it was only available on DVD. However, it is only playing in 126 theatres so don't expect it to make the top 10. It could make waves on the per theatre average chart.

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Filed under: Elf, The Last Samurai, The Cat in the Hat, The Haunted Mansion, Bad Santa, Honey