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Underground has Sky High Debut

January 23rd, 2006

Nearly every film in the top five beat expectations over the weekend, which helped soften the post-holiday drop-off to just 3.9%, and push the overall box office to $121 million. The weekend was up a massive 23.2% over the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2006 has overtaken 2005 by 2%, which is even more impressive when you remember that 2005 got off to a strong start. However, as history shows us, it is far too soon to tell how well this year will go.

As expected, Underworld: Evolution easily took the weekend race, but it won with a larger margin of victory than predicted, after bringing in $26.9 million. That is a much better result than the original, but the news is not all good. First of all, the sequel cost more than twice as much: $45 million to $22 million. Also, the critical reception has weakened from 30% positive to just 21% positive. If the fewer positive reviews results in weaker legs, and it likely will, then the film won't be nearly as profitable and that may make greenlighting the next film in the franchise a tougher decision.

Hoodwinked added another $10.4 million to its box office this weekend, down just 16.1% from last weekend. That gives the film $28.6 million after just two weeks, and that puts it on pace to show a profit early in its international run.

Both Glory Road and Last Holiday beat expectations and came within a rounding error of each other when the final box office numbers were announced. Again, as expected, Glory Road won the race $8.8 million to $8.7 million, and leads Last Holiday by nearly $2 million at $27.7 million to $26.0 million in total. However, expect that latter film to perform much better at the international box office.

The only film to miss Friday's predictions was Brokeback Mountain, but even then it was close with $7.8 million. So far the multi-Golden Globe winner has brought in $42.1 million, which is more than enough to pay for its production budget. How much it needs to show a profit depends heavily on how much the studio is willing to shell out courting the Oscar voters. But I can't see that figure being so high that it won't show a profit by the end of its theatrical run and that is something that only roughly one in ten film's can boast.

Surprisingly, End of the Spear beat The New World at the box office $4.3 million to $4.0 million. It did this despite earning weaker reviews (44% positive to 53% positive), and a much lower production budget ($10 million to $30 million). On the other hand, Terrence Malick's name might just be enough for the film to perform better on the international scene, helping The New World reach profitability faster.

One final note. Both Fun with Dick and Jane and Walk the Line crossed the $100 million milestone over the weekend. For the latter film, that should be enough to secure a profit, but the former still has a lot of work to do.


Filed under: Walk the Line, Fun With Dick And Jane, Brokeback Mountain, Underworld: Evolution, Hoodwinked, Glory Road, Last Holiday, The New World