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Studios Eagerly Await Start of Summer

May 4th, 2006

This weekend is the unofficial start of the summer box office season with what should be the biggest movie of the year, at least so far. There's little doubt that Mission: Impossible 3 will be the biggest movie of the weekend, the only question is how well will it compare with other blockbusters, both this year and years past.

Mission: Impossible 3 opens tomorrow in more than 4,000 theatres and looks to become the biggest hit in the franchise. It certainly has the potential, but there are some question marks. For instance, six years is a long time between sequels, perhaps it is too long? Also, is the movie going public suffering from Tom Cruise overload? Will the film's Tomatometer rating of 76% positive cause the crowds to stay away? Okay, that last question was a little sarcastic, but the other two are valid. Even so, the worst case scenario has the film earning more from Friday to Sunday than Kingdom of Heaven made during its entire run. On the other end, it has on outside shot at becoming one of the 10 biggest openings of all time. Most likely scenario, $67 million over the weekend and $200 million in total, or at least close enough that the studio will give it a little boost to try and get it over that level.

Whether you agree or disagree, don't forget to enter our Mission: Impredictable contest for a shot to win one of two DVDs.

There is a huge gap between first and second place in terms of both box office potential and critical reaction. Hoot is opening in about 1,000 less theatres, to reviews that are only a fraction as strong, and with much less buzz. On the other hand, it cost only one tenth as much to make, so it could be more financially successful even if it barely breaks $10 million this weekend. And that's a good thing because all indicators show that's all the film is going to make. The film will struggle even more on the international scene, but should do brisk business on the home market.

The rest of the top five is dominated by holdovers starting with R.V. The film missed expectations by a significant margin last week and with terrible reviews and family friendly competition, it will likely suffer a large to largish decline this weekend. Look for about $9 million over the weekend and nearly $30 million after 10 days of release. That's not a great start, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

On the other hand, United 93 should have a better hold on its box office thanks to its amazing reviews and a more mature target audience. It should lose just 30% falling to $8 million in the process, which is more than enough to be considered a success given the film's low production budget.

The final film in the top five should be Stick It, which beat expectations last weekend by a significant degree. However, its target audience is notoriously fickle and these types of films rarely last long in theatres. Given that, this film should fall to just under $7 million over the weekend, but that will give the film nearly $20 million, which is inline with its production budget.

Lastly there is An American Haunting. The film is opening in just 1,667 theatres to very poor reviews and its ad campaign has been all too invisible to make a difference. This will leave the film opening outside the top five with a mere $6 million. Even with a very low production budget, this won't be enough for the film to earn a profit anytime soon.


Filed under: Mission: Impossible III, R.V., United 93, Stick It, Hoot, An American Haunting