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September-Like Numbers at the Box Office

October 8th, 2007

September was predictable almost to the point of boredom. However, October got off to a rather shocking, near record-breaking start. Granted, these weren't records that studios want to break, with the overall box office fell 7% from last weekend to just $84 million. Worse yet, that was 24% lower than the same weekend last year.

The Game Plan beat all expectations, falling less than 30% to $16.61 million over the weekend. It's 10-day total of $43.16 million puts it on pace to become easily the biggest hit from September and should pass 3:10 to Yuma shortly. It has also already earned more than Dwayne Johnson's previous two films and by this time next weekend, it will be his biggest hit since The Scorpion King. I suspect a substantial budget and limited international appeal will hurt the film's bottom line, but even so it should still show a profit shortly after its initial push into the home market.

The Ben Stiller and the Farrelly Brothers reunion couldn't reproduce the magic of There's Something About Mary. In fact, even after a decade worth of inflation, 1,000 more theaters, and the previous film opening on a Wednesday, The Heartbreak Kid barely managed more during its Friday-Sunday weekend with $14.02 million. Add in terrible reviews and there's little hope for the film's long term chances either. It's been a while since the brothers had a serious hit and their batting average is getting pretty low. This could affect their chances of getting future projects off the ground. (But considering their next project is a Three Stooges movie, and not a biopic, this would be a good thing.)

The Kingdom performed exactly as predicted, making it the only film in the top five to do so, as it added $9.72 million over the weekend to take its total to $31.75 million. That total is less than half of what it cost to make, and unless it beats expectations internationally, it will have a tough time showing a profit any time soon.

Resident Evil: Extinction was a surprise entrant in the top five, but this was more due to weaker competition than any real strength. The film dropped roughly 44% to $4.52 million over the weekend for a total of $43.70 million after 17 days. The weekend number was only about 10% - 20% more than expected, but its total is well over expectations and it won't take long for the film to become the biggest hit in the franchise.

It was nearly a record-breaking opening for Seeker: The Dark is Rising as Fox's novel approach of opening a movie in more than 3,000 theaters without airing any commercials didn't pay off. During its first three days of release, the film earned only $3.75 million in 3,141 theaters for an average of $1,192 per theater. The only film to open in more than 3,000 theaters and do worse during its opening weekend was Hoot. And with reviews that are even weaker than those earned by Hoot, it will be interesting to see if it will fall faster and break the record for worst total box office for a film that opened in more than 3,000 theaters.

Finally, we get to Feel the Noise, which was within a rounding error of expectations with $3.19 million. This is less than El Cantante opened with in August, and that film opened in roughly half as many theaters. Add in awful reviews and I can't see this film sticking around very long. By November it will be just a memory.

Moving onto the sophomore class, the only other member was Feast of Love. The film collapsed, falling 56% to $750,000 over the weekend for a 10-day total of just $3.02 million. It will be all but gone by Friday.


Filed under: The Game Plan, Resident Evil: Extinction, The Kingdom, The Heartbreak Kid, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Feel the Noise, Feast of Love