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Blades Cut Newcomers down to Size

April 9th, 2007

No new release made much noise at the box office this weekend and, even with the holdovers holding on better than expected, the overall box office still slipped to $124 million. That's roughly 3% lower than last weekend, but still 8% higher than the same weekend last year. Hopefully the new releases going 0 for 4 this weekend is a momentary blip and not a sign of weakness in the marketplace.

Blades of Glory not only remained in first place this past weekend, it beat all expectations, falling barely more than 30% to $22.5 million. This gives the film a cumulative total of $67.9 million after just ten days and it is on pace to become the year's fourth $100 million movie.

Meet the Robinsons matched expectations perfectly with $16.7 million for a total of $51.9 million. The film should eventually overtake Bridge to Terabithia as the biggest kids movie of the year (at least so far), but this is still well behind expectations or Disney's previous track record.

The first of the new releases wasn't Grindhouse but Are We Done Yet?, as the film recovered from a slow start to take third with $14.3 million over the weekend and $18.5 million since Wednesday. This recovery is very surprising given the film's terrible critical reception. The up front costs were probably quite low for this film and even with almost no shot at a strong international box office, the film should still show a profit shortly after its debut on the home market.

Grindhouse, which many pegged to be the top grossing film of the weekend, could open in no better than fourth place with $11.6 million. To put this into perspective, that's the lowest opening for Robert Rodriguez film since From Dusk till Dawn while Quentin Tarantino hasn't had an opening this weak since Jackie Brown. Even with some of the best reviews for any wide release of the year, the Fanboy Effect will likely crush it this weekend and it will be knocked out of many theaters the weekend after that. But on the bright side, it should prove a strong seller on the home market.

On a side note, it appears to be happening again. Last year a lot of box office analysts were referring to 2006 as the Year of the Dumb since so many films that earned critical drubbings did so well at the box office while those that earned praised seemed to struggle. Well, so far this year eight films have earned better than 80% positive on Rotten Tomatoes while being reviewed by at least 100 critics. Of these, five have opened wide (or semi-wide in the case of The Lookout). And of these five films, only Bridge to Terabithia has performed well. On the other hand, there have been seven films to earn less than 20% positive while being reviewed 100 or more time (all seven of which opened wide). These include Wild Hogs, the second biggest hit of the year, and Norbit, which is currently in fourth. In addition, both Premonition and Because I Said So were in the top ten just one week ago. It would take some statistical analysis to confirm this, but it seems as if strong reviews actually hurt a film's box office chances. Hopefully this trend doesn't continue into the summer.

The Reaping opened on Thursday to just under $2 million and while it recovered somewhat over the weekend, its haul of $10.0 million was still below expectations. Terrible reviews and a genre that has not historically shown strong legs and this film isn't long for the theaters. On the other hand, early reports have the film doing well internationally and that could salvage its run and give it a shot at profitability.

The final wide release of the week was Firehouse Dog, which was D.O.A. The film opened in 10th place over the weekend with $3.8 million while it managed just $5.1 million since Wednesday. Its reviews were not as bad as two of the other wide releases, but bad enough that it won't be able to recover over the coming week.

The only film in the sophomore class to not reach the top five was The Lookout. This film fell nearly 50% to just $1.0 million over the weekend for a total of $3.8 million. It should perform significantly better on the home market.


Filed under: Blades of Glory, Meet the Robinsons, The Reaping, Grindhouse, Firehouse Dog, The Lookout, Are We Done Yet?