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Grudge Hopes to Take it Out on the Competition

October 12th, 2006

There's little doubt which film will take top spot this weekend as there is almost no serious competition for The Grudge 2. However, analysts are divided on exactly how much it will earn on its way to the top.

When The Grudge opened in 2004 it beat almost all expectations, taking in nearly $40 million during its opening weekend and just over $110 million in total. Usually sequels start faster but fade quicker and this would give The Grudge 2 a start of more than $40 million but leave it short of $100 million overall. This seems unlikely this time around for two main reasons. Firstly, J-Horror remakes have become very stale recently. Secondly, the reviews will likely be much worse as the film needed extensive reshoots and even after the changes, the end result is not being screened for critics. There are a wide range of predictions for this movie with low 20s being the low end and mid 40s being the high end. The low end seems more likely with my best guess being $27 million.

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Last weekend The Departed delivered the biggest opening of Martin Scorsese's career. His previous best was Cape Fear, which started its run with just over $10 million before ending it with just under $80 million. It is very unlikely this film will have the same kind of multiplier, but should it manage to hold onto 60% or more of its opening (just over $16 million), it should be able to power its way to $100 million in total. Given its reviews and Martin Scorsese's historical average this is very possible, but it will be tough. $15 million seems a little more likely, but that's still a good amount for a sophomore stint.

The lack of direct competition will allow Open Season to remain in third place over the weekend. The film appears to be tracking at, or close to $10 million over the next three days, which would lift its running tally to nearly $60 million. That pace is about average for a digitally animated film for the year, and likely on par for the new baseline for the production method.

The second wide release of the week is Man of the Year. Political satire is difficult to market under the best of circumstances, and this is not the best of circumstances. Satire is best when it has point of view and runs with it, but the political environment just doesn't allow for that. Even worse, what barbs it does sling seem weak and lazy. Look for the film to open in fourth place with about $8 million, which is a lot lower than expectations were just a little while ago.

It's a Sequel. It's a horror movie. It's had terrible reviews. Everything about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning suggests a sharp drop-off this weekend. A decline of 50%, or very close to it, is all but guaranteed and that would reduce its take to just over $9 million. A 60% drop-off, on the other hand, is certainly possible and that would drop it to roughly $7.5 million. I think the lower end is more likely and $8 million is the most likely figure.

Next up is The Marine, a generic action movie starring wrestler, John Cena. The film has not be screened for critics, and the ad campaign has not be strong enough to compensate for the stigma that usually causes. It should pull in more than a few people this weekend, but not enough to make the top five. So look for $7 million over the weekend and roughly $20 million overall.

Finally we have One Night with the King. This is the latest film aimed at a Christian market - the third such film to be released in the past three weeks. This one has the widest opening at roughly 900 theatres, but it is also the one that is least likely to earn mainstream success since it is totally focused on the Christian market to the exclusion of all others. At least with Facing the Giants you could enjoy the football scenes. It should grab a spot in the top ten with between $2 million and $3 million, but with a small per theatre average, it won't last too long in theatres.

- C.S.Strowbridge

Filed under: The Departed, Open Season, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Grudge 2, Man of the Year, The Marine, One Night with the King