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Ricky Bobby Zooms Past Competition

August 14th, 2006

The box office continued the slow decline that is common in August this weekend, dropping 8.5% to $128 million. However, this was still $6.3 million more than the same weekend last year, and helped 2006 maintain its 6% lead over 2005.

Despite having to settle for second place on Friday, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby recovered over the weekend and again claimed the checkered flag. Its weekend box office of $22.1 million was within a rounding error of expectations and puts its running tally at an impressive $90.3 million after just 10 days. The film has already earned the second best box office for a Will Ferrell starring role, beating out Anchorman; but with a greater than 50% drop-off this weekend and direct competition next weekend, there is zero chance that the film will catch up to Elf. On the other hand, it is two-thirds of the way to catching Click for the summer comedy box office crown.

The weekend proved two things. One, MySpace is an excellent marketing tool to attract teenage girls. And two, teenage girls will go see absolutely anything regardless of the quality. Step Up surprised almost every analyst, scoring a second place, $20.7 million opening over the weekend on an estimated production budget of just $12 million. Even with the terrible legs that its 2.45 internal multiplier would indicate, this film should have no trouble showing a profit by its initial push into the home market. But I wouldn't be surprised if it loses 60% of its opening next weekend.

After a weak Friday, World Trade Center recovered as the weekend went on, earning $18.7 million over the weekend and $26.5 million overall. This is the biggest opening ever for Oliver Stone and has already earned more money than Nicolas Cage's last three movies. However, even with the strong legs, the target demographic and strong reviews, the film will need help to pay for its production budget, which is reported at between $60 and $65 million.

With Zoom bombing at the box office, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals was able to beat expectations with $9.7 million over the weekend finishing in fourth place. The film has already nearly met lowered expectations and could come close to the $65 million originally predicted.

Fifth place went to Pulse. We won't know until the unrated DVD comes out, but it seems likely that the decision to go for a PG-13 rating hurt the film as it made just $8.2 million over the weekend while scoring a Tomatometer reading of 9% positive. On the positive side, its budget has been estimated at a mere $7.5 million, so assuming it finds some traction internationally and the unrated DVD becomes a reality, it will easily make a profit for Weinstein Co.

The same can't be said for the final new release of the week as Zoom bombed hard, bringing in a mere $4.5 million and finishing in ninth place along the way. The film wasn't screened for critics and therefore it had zero positive reviews before the weekend started, and it still has zero positive reviews. At this point, there's almost nothing positive about the film's performance.

Moving on to the sophomore class, The Descent held up better than most horror films, down just 48% to $4.6 million. On the other hand, The Night Listener lost 58%, falling to $1.5 million over the weekend and will all but disappear from theatres on Friday.

Finally we have Pirates Watch: 2006. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest fell out of the top five for the first time during its run with $7.2 million over the weekend and $393.4 million in total. After 38 days, Shrek 2 had $389.8 million, meaning Pirates' lead has shrunk to less than four million and it has officially slipped off of its record breaking pace. While it won't reach $400 million by Friday and tie the record, it still has had an amazing run up to this point.