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Open Wide, Really Wide

September 29th, 2006

This week we have three films opening wide. Not only are they opening wide, but they are all opening at saturation levels (3000 or more theatres). Fortunately, the three films share little in the way of target demographics, but even so, at least one of them is going to be squeezed out by the competition.

There seems little doubt that Open Season will win the weekend race. The only question is how well will it compare to past digitally animated films. Just two weeks ago Everybody's Hero opened in third place with $6 million and after two weeks it has about $12 million in total. Open Season should earn more than twice that this weekend alone, and with a little luck could top that film on the yearly chart by the end of its first day or release. That might be a little overly optimistic, especially in light of reviews that are merely average, but a 3 day total of $25 million looks to be in the works and that should be more than enough to secure a first place finish.

Agree? Disagree? Put your prognosticating to the test and enter our 'Tis The Season for Prizes contest today.

Up next is the second Ashton Kutcher film to be released this weekend, The Guardian. This is another film that is earning reviews that are too weak to be a selling point, but not so bad that it will hurt its opening weekend numbers. Tracking has it in the low $20s, perhaps as high as $24 million. If it does earn that, that would make it the first Kevin Costner film to open with more than $20 million since Waterworld and only the third film in his career to do so. $24 million will probably be out of reach, but $20 million appears to be a safe bet.

Jackass: Number Two looks to avoid the massive drop-off that these types of films generally suffer through during their second weekend of release. On the one hand, both the reviews and the film's internal multiplier have been better than the original's. On the other hand, history shows that sequels tend to have shorter legs. A drop-off of just over 50% would leave the film with about $14 million over the next three days, which seems the most likely figure. That would give the film a running tally about just over $50 million, which could be enough to show a profit for the studio, depending on how much they spend on P&A and how much of the box office their share is.

The final wide release of the week is School for Scoundrels. The film has been repeatedly compared to Bad Santa and Hitch but I think the best film to compare it to is Bad News Bears. So far the film's reviews have been well below initial expectations, but sadly in line with the lowered expectations brought about by the trailer and clips. The film should open with a similar figure as Bad News Bears, roughly $12 million, but with the weaker reviews and the lack of summer holidays it won't have the same legs, ending its run with just over $30 million.

There should be a close battle for fifth place between Jet Li's Fearless and Gridiron Gang, both of which should pull in between $6 million and $5 million. Right now, Jet Li's Fearless seems to have the edge, even though Jet Li's films tend to have short legs. That film has held a lead over Gridiron Gang throughout the week and it is unlikely that Gridiron Gang will have as soft of a drop-off this weekend as it did last since it is losing a fairly substantial chunk of its theatre count.


Filed under: Open Season, Jackass: Number Two, The Guardian, Gridiron Gang, Huo Yuan Jia, School for Scoundrels