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Successful Launch fails to Lift Box Office

March 13th, 2006

This week the weekend wrap-up has a slightly different format. At the end of the report, I will be taking a look at last weekend's new releases and how they held up during their second weekend in release.

Only one of the four new films beat expectations over the weekend, and that left the box office hurting. Overall, the total for the weekend was $110 million, which was 6.8% higher than last weekend, but since last weekend was Oscar weekend, this is hardly an impressive result. More importantly, it was 4.7% lower than the same weekend last year.

The box office has struggled so far this year and a lot of analysts have pointed to all of the bad movies as a reason for that. However, I don't think you can blame the studios for this. Of the three films that truly opened wide this weekend, the one with the worst reviews earned the most money. Conversely, the film with the best reviews earned the least.

The reason Hollywood keeps making bad movies, is that we keep watching them.

Over the weekend Failure to Launch pulled in a surprising $24.4 million, which was well above expectations. Awful reviews will likely hurt the film's legs, while Romantic Comedies generally don't resonate with international audiences. This means the film will have to wait until the home market before it sees a profit, but it is very likely to do just that.

Even more surprisingly, Disney's marketing department wasn't able to sell The Shaggy Dog to moviegoers, and it had to settle for second place with just $16.3 million. Granted, with terrible reviews it wasn't going to be an easy task, but they've been able to do it in the past. This is another film that will hvae weak legs domestically and limited appeal internationally. But with a much younger target audience, it should sell a lot of DVDs in three to four months time.

The final wide release of the week was The Hills Have Eyes, which was the best reviewed wide release, scoring a Tomatometer Rating of 51% positive. The film did miss box office expectations with $15.7 million, but that was more than it cost to make. This means two things: a. this film will surely make a profit and b. more low-budget horror remakes will be getting the greenlight shortly.

In a piece of good news, 16 Blocks held on better than expected, dropping less than 38% to $7.4 million. After ten days the film has made $22.8 million, which is below expectations and well below the level needed to show a profit in the near future.

Madea's Family Reunion fell from first to fifth with $5.7 million, but that was still better than most expected. With a running tally of $55.7 million, the film has easily covered its production and P&A budgets, meaning it's all profit from now on.

The Libertine release was less than a resounding success as it missed the top ten with just $2.2 million in 815 theatres. Its per theatre average was lower than any film in the top five, including both of the holdovers.

Lastly, let's take a look at the sophomore class. As I already mentioned, 16 Blocks held on very well, down just 37.5% to $7.4 million, which was easily the best of the group. Aquamarine fell 48.4% to $3.9 million, which is better than most films with its target audience manage. The same can't be said for Ultraviolet down 59.4% to $3.7 million and Dave Chappelle's Block Party, which was down a stunning 67.6% to just $2.0 million.


Filed under: Failure to Launch, Madea's Family Reunion, The Shaggy Dog, The Hills Have Eyes, Ultraviolet, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, The Libertine, 16 Blocks, Aquamarine