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New Releases Come Together

September 11th, 2008

There are four wide releases this week, and the odds are that all four will place in the top four on the chart. However, there are some disagreements among analysts on which films have a shot at topping the chart, and which will struggle. But (almost) everyone agrees that the overall box office will grow from last weekend, and most agree it will grow from the same weekend last year.

The Family that Preys Together, Righteous Kill, Burn After Reading, and The Women all have supporters who think their film will finish in top spot, but for different reasons.

The Family that Preys Together is the latest from Tyler Perry and that means something. So far three of the four films he has starred in have opened in first place, and the one that didn't came relatively close. That said, there has been a steady decline in opening and overall box office numbers since peaking with Family Reunion. Additionally, the total lack of reviews is troubling, as I was anticipating better than average reviews for a September release. That said, I think it will still come out on top, but with a more muted $15 million opening.

Earlier in the week, Righteous Kill was earning better than expected reviews and it looked like it would cross the 50% positive level. That changed quickly. At the moment the film is earning 23% positive reviews, making it one of the worst films for both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. (Although both men have been struggling with the critics recently.) There's little to surprise moviegoers in this script, as all of the cop clich├ęs are brought out and the twists are all telegraphed way in advance. That said, the combination of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro could lift the film into first place with $15 million, or more. However, second place with $14 million is more likely.

Admittedly, Burn After Reading is a bit of a longshot to win the race to top the charts this weekend, but you can't discount the possibility. In fact, I think it will be extremely close. Buzz for the latest Coen Bothers film is not overwhelming, but it is there and should be aided by its reviews. Sure, its reviews are not as strong as the ones No Country for Old Men earned, but no one expected that to happen. And earning more than 75% positive, especially in September, is a major selling point. Look for $13 million over the weekend, but it will have better legs than the rest of the wide releases this weekend, and it has a real shot at ending its run with the biggest box office out of the four films.

The Women is a remake of a film from 1939, which in turn was based on a play from 1936. The original movie was amazing and most agree it is the best movie with an all-female cast, or even a predominately female cast. This version is not. In fact, it has yet to receive a single positive review over at Rotten Tomatoes. Granted, most critics are not particularly venomous in their reviews of the movie, but they are called it a pale, defanged version of the original with more in common with Sex and the City than the source material. But on the positive side, the film does have a great cast and it is going after an under-served demographic. There is an outside shot it could come out in first place over the weekend, but there is also an outside shot it could miss $10 million. I'm going with fourth place and $12 million over the weekend.

Coincidentally, while there are four new releases that have a shot at first place, there are four holdovers that will be battling for fifth place: Tropic Thunder, Bangkok Dangerous, The Dark Knight, and House Bunny.

Tropic Thunder has the best shot at reaching the top five, and it is probably the only one in the group that will reach $4 million over the weekend. That will also be more than enough for the movie to reach $100 million in total

On the one hand, Bangkok Dangerous earned awful reviews and disappointed at the box office during its opening last weekend. On the other hand, it's day-to-day numbers have not been terrible, and there's no real direct competition. This could limit its losses to 50% over the weekend giving the film just under $4 million over the weekend and just over $14 million in total. It could also lose more than 60%, which would drop its weekend haul to just over $3 million.

After more than 8 weeks of release, The Dark Knight will finally be pushed out of the top five, maybe. It is tracking for $3.5 million over the weekend, but that's close enough that it might be able to snag fifth place.

The final film with a shot at fifth place is House Bunny, but it is a longshot and will likely end just shy of The Dark Knight with just over $3 million. Quite frankly, I would be shocked if it remained in the top five; still, if it can make over $3 million this weekend, then it will surpass $40 million in total and this would be a result the studio should be happy with.


Filed under: The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, The House Bunny, Righteous Kill, The Family That Preys, The Women, Bangkok Dangerous, Chu Chu and the Philly Flash