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Repeating on Top is Easy for Rider

February 26th, 2007

Practically every new release missed expectations this weekend, some by small margins while others were significantly off the mark. On the other hand, holdovers held as well as expected, which helped the box office total reach $117 million. This was a 25% drop-off from last weekend; however, that can be explained by the holiday last weekend and the Oscars this weekend. Year-to-year the drop-off was a much more reasonable 3%.

Once again the weekend race was won by Ghost Rider. This time the Marvel movie managed $20.1 million, which was barely above the range given on Thursday. Certainly close enough to call it a victory. After just 10 days, the film has made $79.0 million and has taken the lead on the 2007 box office race (not counting holdovers from 2006), and is a lock to make $100 million, perhaps by this time next week. Last year 19 films to topped that milestone, and the earliest was Ice Age: The Meltdown, which opened on March 31st and reached $100 million just over a week later. Ghost Rider will give 2007 its first $100 million movie a month earlier than that and that bodes well for the box office overall.

There's talk that Number 23 is the movie that made Jim Carrey fire his agents. I'm not sure if that's true, but given the film's $14.6 million start it wouldn't surprise me. To make matters worse, the film was massacred by the critics and there's little hope it will have any legs. This won't be the biggest disappointment in Jim Carrey's career, but it will be close.

Bridge to Terabithia was within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction, but thankfully it was on the high side. Its haul of $14.2 million over the weekend gives the film a 10-day total of $46.8 million and puts it on track to become a solid mid-level hit. The chances are it will be an even bigger hit on the home market.

Reno 911: Miami's was a little softer than expected at $10.3 million, but given the TV show's cult nature, this is more than enough to keep the studio happy. As for the film's future, the Fanboy Effect and weak reviews will likely mean short legs. On the other hand, a low production budget and a boost to DVD sales for the show will likely mean it shows an overall profit.

In a bit of a surprise, Norbit grabbed fifth place with $9.8 million. This is equal parts strong hold for this film and weak openings for its competition.

Speaking of competition, The Astronaut Farmer failed to draw in many people, finishing ninth with just $4.5 million, despite earning the best reviews of any truly wide release of the week. I mentioned on Thursday that the ad campaign wasn't aggressive enough and that's likely the main reason the movie failed. However, one cannot dismiss Billy Bob Thornton's tarnished image as well.

The next new release was Amazing Grace, which surprised analysts by hitting 10th place with $4.1 million in just 791 theaters. This is what happens when you make Christian-friendly movies aimed at mainstream audiences instead of making movies targeting the much more narrow market of churchgoers. Not only was the film a bigger financial success that its contemporaries, it also earned some of the best reviews in the top ten.

On the other hand, The Abandoned was just that. Released in 1,000 theaters with nearly no marketing to back it up the film crashed with an estimated $782,000, and placed 19th. While the reviews sank during the weekend, it still should have done much better than this.

Finally we get to the sophomore class, which has three members this week, and which finished in sixth, seventh, and eighth places. Music and Lyrics and Breach held well, down roughly 43% to $7.7 million and $6.0 million respectively. On the other hand, Daddy's Little Girls was down closer to 60%, earning just $4.8 million. However, given Tyler Perry's track record, no one should be surprised by that.


Filed under: Ghost Rider, Norbit, Bridge to Terabithia, Music and Lyrics, The Number 23, Breach, Daddy's Little Girls, Reno 911!: Miami, The Astronaut Farmer, The Abandoned, Amazing Grace