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Miami Finishes North of Caribbean

July 31st, 2006

First of all, I don't think there's enough geography humor in entertainment reporting, so I'm glad to help correct that with my headline. As for the box office, there were a few surprises this week, split evenly between the good and the bad. This did help push the overall box office down to $131 million over the weekend and that's down 13.2% from last weekend. But more importantly that was still 6.1% higher than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date 2006 has extended its lead to 5%, well above ticket price inflation meaning for the first time since 2002 we could see growth in that area.

Miami Vice has become Micheal Mann's biggest debuting film, taking in $25.7 million over the weekend and securing first place. While that was his biggest opening ever, the film earned the second weakest reviews in his career, which continues a strange trend. This year it seems like there's an inverse relationship between positive reviews and box office success. As for the film's long-term potential, it does have history on its side as Micheal Mann's films tend to have excellent legs, but the weaker reviews will likely mean it will fail to top $100 million leaving Collateral as his biggest hit of all time. Furthermore, with a production budget of $135 million, it's going to need a huge international and home market run to show a profit.

Slipping to second place is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with $20.6 million, which is nearly perfectly in line with expectations. Looking at the race to $400 million this film has increased its lead over Shrek 2 to $21 million at $358.5 million to $337.5 million, although the latter film was a Wednesday release, so that is messing with the daily comparisons a bit. The daily numbers have Shrek 2 ahead, taking into account the Wednesday opening, and that means the race should become closer as the weeks go on. This is great news as the only thing better than a record-breaking run is a close race that ends in a record-breaking finish.

John Tucker Must Die! had a surprise third place finish with $14.3 million. However, with a huge 25% drop-off from Friday to Saturday and a tiny 2.33 internal multiplier, odds are it won't have very long legs and the original expectations are out of reach. Part of this has to do with the bad reviews, but it's mostly to do with the nature of its target audience. In the end it will earn a profit, but it will likely have to wait until its initial push into the home market to do that.

It's official, digital animation is just another production method now and not a license to print money. This weekend Monster House fell nearly 50% to $11.7 million while The Ant Bully opened with a mere $8.4 million. At least with Monster House it has a shot to match its $75 million production budget. On the other hand, even with similar reviews, The Ant Bully will have shorter legs as theatres will dump it and its $2,764 average as soon as possible.

The last new opening of the weekend was Scoop, which matched expectations nearly perfectly with $3.0 million. Its reviews remained weak and it won't expand too much more than the 538 theatres it is playing in now, but with a budget of just $4 million, it should still earn enough to show a profit by the time it hits the home market.

Finally we get to the sophomore class. Of the films not making the top five, Lady in the Water was the best with $7.1 million but that was down more than 60% meaning it will end up being the biggest bomb in M. Night Shyamalan's career. My Super Ex-Girlfriend fell more than 50% to $4.0 million, barely earning a spot in the top ten while Clerks II and its $4.0 million finished one spot lower in 11th. For that latter film its 60% drop-off is disappointing, but understandable given the Fanboy Effect and it will have no trouble reaching the $20 million the studio set for a goal.

One last note, The Devil Wears Prada reached $100 million midweek and by the end of the weekend had pushed its domestic total to $106.6 million. That is a simply amazing figure for a counter-programming film with a $35 million budget.


Filed under: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, The Devil Wears Prada, Monster House, Miami Vice, Lady in the Water, John Tucker Must Die, Clerks II, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Scoop, The Ant Bully