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Norbit is Bigger Than Expected

February 13th, 2007

It was a predictable weekend at the box office, with the top five finishing in the exact order predicted and even though a few films beat predictions, none were wildly outside expectations. Overall, box office receipts hit $112 million, which was 22% higher than last weekend. But that was 7% lower than the same weekend last year. However, while the dollars were flowing, the critics were complaining, again. Six weeks into the month and we've only had one wide film that has impressed the majority of critics. That should change by Friday with two new releases that look promising.

As expected, Norbit won the box office race with ease. In fact, its opening weekend box office of $34.2 million placed it in seventh place on the list of best February openings. Granted, February isn't known for big openings, but it is still an impressive result. On the other hand, its reviews suggest a quick exit from theaters. 9% positive isn't the worst Tomatometer reading of the year, or even of the month, but it is still a terrible, terrible score and there is a chance the film will make more during its opening week than it will during its entire run.

In second place was Hannibal Lecter with $13.1 million, which is within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction. This is a far cry from the franchise's previous two installments, which include a previous February record holder. In fact, this is less than Silence of the Lambs made back in 1991 and the business has changed a lot since then, not to mention the ticket price. Add in what ended up as easily the worst reviews of the franchise and you have a sad end to one of the best movie villains of all time.

Because I Said So wasn't hamstrung by bad reviews as it fell by less than 30% to $9.2 million. It's $25.8 million over 10 days is well within the acceptable range for films of that type coming out this time of year. Nothing overwhelming, but enough to push the film past original expectations before long.

The Messengers also beat expectations but at $7.2 million it was very, very close. Given the slight weakness in its main competition it isn't that surprising that the film was slightly stronger, but that will likely end this weekend. Five new films open in various degrees of wideness this week starting on Wednesday and Messengers is likely to lose a lot of theaters this week.

Rounding out the top five was Night at the Museum with $5.8 million, which was down just 10% from last weekend. The film's running tally is now at $232.2 million and is about to surpass X-Men: The Last Stand's total and take over third place among movies released in 2006.


Filed under: Night at the Museum, Norbit, Because I Said So, The Messengers, Hannibal Rising