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Will the Box Office Continue to Rise?

January 23rd, 2009

2009 looks to continue its winning streak with two wide releases and a lot of high-powered holdovers. It is unlikely that any of them will live up to last week's number one film, but the overall effort should live up to last year's overall box office and maintain 2009's winning streak.

Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans is the third film in the Underworld franchise. The first two films earned very weak reviews and became mid-level hits, at best. This installment has earned four positive reviews so far, out of five reviews in total. However, I think that will change once more reviews come in, and I will be impressed if the film earns 50% positive reviews. As for its chances at the box office, at the high end it could become the biggest hit in the franchise with over $30 million, or it could be the weakest at under $20 million. Expectations are all over the place here. Look for $25 million, more or less, but short legs thanks to Sequelitis, giving it $60 million in total.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop made nearly $40 million during its opening long weekend. I still can't quite believe that. This weekend, it will make just under half of that, or about $18 million to $19 million, which would give it just over $60 million in total. That puts it right on the level needed to be on track to become the first $100 million hit of the year, but it could be close.

Not including Thursday's numbers, which we don't have yet, Gran Torino is about $20 million away from $100 million. There is almost no chance the film will get there this weekend, but with $16 million over the next three days, it will get there sooner rather than later.

The second wide release of the week is Inkheart, the fantasy adventure film starring Brendan Fraser. I've seen the film compared to The Spiderwick Chronicles and Bridge to Terabithia, but both of those films were released in February and they both earned excellent reviews. This movie, on the other hand, is a January release, and its reviews have gone from good, if not great, to mixed, and are now at just 38% positive. Earlier this month I looked at its run in Germany and the U.K. and concluded that the film could earn $50 million based on the former and $20 million based on the latter. I still think the film will land on the high end of that range, but it will be closer to the middle with just under $13 million this weekend and close to $40 million in total.

There are three films, Notorious, My Bloody Valentine, and Hotel for Dogs, which will be battling for fifth place. All three should earn $10 million, more or less, with Notorious having the best shot at fifth place while Hotel for Dogs will likely have to settle for seventh place.

There are several award-nominated films that are expanding this weekend, including Slumdog Millionaire, Revolutionary Road, and Frost/Nixon. All three have a chance at finishing in the top ten (Slumdog Millionaire even has a small shot at a place in the top five), but Frost/Nixon will likely missed out. Also expanding this weekend is The Dark Knight, but instead of expanding wide, it is only going to be playing in 350 theaters. Perhaps if it does well over the weekend, it will grow; however, with less than $3 million to go before it hits $1 billion worldwide, there's little reason for the studio to push it further.


Filed under: The Dark Knight, Gran Torino, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Slumdog Millionaire, Hotel for Dogs, My Bloody Valentine, Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans, Notorious, Revolutionary Road, Frost/Nixon, Inkheart