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Cool as Ice

April 3rd, 2006

For the first time in a long, long time we have a bona fides hit topping the charts. Not only did Ice Age: The Meltdown beat almost all expectations, but it single-handedly brought the 2006 box office out of its slump. The overall box office was $142 million, nearly half of which came from that one movie. This represents a 29.7% increase from last weekend and a 34% increase from last year. Year-to-date, 2006 is still behind 2005, but the deficit was cut in half to just 1%.

Everyone knew Ice Age: The Meltdown was going to win the box office race, but I don't think there was any box office analyst that predicted it would be this huge. $68.0 million in just three days is phenomenal. It's the best March weekend ever, 21st biggest opening weekend, the best opening of the year by a more than 2 - 1 margin, and the fifth best box office of the year. At this pace, the film will be the biggest hit of 2006 after just one week of release. Even if the film plummets 60% next weekend, it will still probably pull in enough to repeat as box office champ, and with reviews better than most wide releases this year, it should have enough legs to hit $200 million quite easily. Interesting note, only three digitally animated movies have had sequels so far, (Ice Age, Shrek, and Toy Story), and all three have see significant growth from there predecessors.

Considering the competition, The Inside Man held up very well during its second weekend of release dropping 46.7% to $15.4 million. That gives the film $52.5 million after just 10 days of release and it is quickly climbing the yearly charts. It is already which Spike Lee's biggest hit, if you don't take inflation into account; it will need to earn about $75 million to become his undisputed number one film, which should be no problem.

There was a surprise on the charts as third place went to ATL with an impressive $11.6 million over the weekend. This was significantly better than expected and with better reviews than most films, and room to grow, it should have great legs. As for profitability, it should reach that goal early in its home market run; it would get there sooner, but it will likely have almost no appeal internationally.

Next up was Failure to Launch, which remained in fourth place with $6.5 million for a four-week total of $73.1 million. The film has completely covered in production budget already and will pay for its P&A budget during its international run, maybe. These kind of films sometimes have difficulty internationally.

V for Vendetta fell to fifth place with $6.3 million for a three-week total of $56.7 million. This film should show a profit by the home market, but even so it will still be seen as a financial disappointment.

With new release spread out evenly amongst the top ten, I might as well talk about all of them. In sixth place was Stay Alive, down a hefty 57% to $4.5 million. That puts its total box office at $17.3 million and is closing in on its production budget so it should eventually show a profit.

She's the Man has already surpassed it production budget with $26.6 million, including $4.4 million this weekend. While not a big hit by any stretch of the imagination, this film has been a solid performer and should help Amanda Bynes continue to get work, which is good since her TV series was recently cancelled after four seasons on the air.

We finally get to Slither, the best reviewed movie of the weekend and one of the best of the year. However, it's become clear that moviegoers are allergic to quality films as this one took in just $3.9 million during its first three days of release. I don't get it. Film's that earn terrible reviews both from critics and the moviegoers have made huge amounts of money this year while quality films like this one and Dave Chappelle's Block Party are completely ignored. Hopefully the DVD will be packed with features and it can find a new life on the home market. On a side note, I have a huge rant planned complaining about how there's no correlation between quality and box office revenue, how ticket sales continue to drop along with the quality of the films coming out, but I just don't have it in me. I feel defeated. The next movie with a potential for greatness is Silent Hill; if that one earns excellent reviews and bombs, I may be forced to hide under my bed and whimper.

Ninth place when to Shaggy Dog, another movie that earned terrible reviews but still succeeded at the box office. After adding $3.2 million over the weekend, the film has $53.6 million in total, which is just shy of its production budget. Even with an international run that will likely be less than overwhelming, it should still show a profit early in its home market run.

Lifting my spirits a little was the performance of Basic Instinct 2, but that had more to do with Schadenfreude than anything else. The film, which was the worst reviewed movie of the weekend also had the weakest turnout with just $3.2 million. Even if it has better legs than expected, it will still earn less during its entire run than the original made during its opening weekend, by a significant margin.

Moving onto the sophomore class, the only film to open wide the weekend before last not to repeat in the top ten was Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, which fell 54% to just $3.2 million for a two-week total of $11.5 million. I guess most people weren't willing to pay to watch the antics of a former Prep School student with a fake southern accent.


Filed under: Ice Age: The Meltdown, Failure to Launch, Inside Man, V for Vendetta, The Shaggy Dog, She's the Man, Stay Alive, ATL, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Basic Instinct 2