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Holidays are Upon Us

December 8th, 2006

It's one of the most confusing weekend for box office analysts with four movies coming out, three of which have serious question marks regarding their box office potential. All four also have a shot at winning the box office race, but the extreme competition will probably result in the winning film earning less than $20 million.

With a lot of uncertainty at the box office, it looks like a reliable romantic comedy will lead the way. The Holiday is behaving exactly as predicted earning 50% positive reviews, which is actually better than most romantic comedies, (they tend to be too predictable for critics). In addition, the film seems to have the most solid appeal with moviegoers and should have the best shot at taking the box office crown. On the other hand, with just $16 million, it will be a very close race.

Earlier this week descendants of the Maya people attacked Apocalypto for being racist and not representing their ancestors' culture. Which should come as a great relief to Mel Gibson who was probably concerned there was not enough controversy surrounding the movie. As for the critics reception of the film, it has been overall positive, but not overwhelmingly so. There appears to be a strong curiosity factor as well as target advertising to Hispanic groups, (which tend to be very underrepresented in movies and TV programs), but even so the film will likely fall short of first place with $15 million. On the other hand, the uncertainty is high and this film has the best shot at $20 million or it could barely cross $10 million. Practically no result will surprise analysts who went through The Passion of the Christ.

Just a couple weeks before its release, The Blood Diamond was moved up a week and now is coming out in just 1,910 theatres. Additionally, the reviews are weaker than expected, (but still more than 50% positive). While the film isn't the worst reviewed movie of the week, it is the one that will be the most hurt by its reviews as its more mature target audience is the demographic most likely to read and be swayed by reviews. Its opening weekend will be smaller than expected at about $13 million, but it will be hurt more in the legs department leaving it with $50 million.

The widest release of the week is Unaccompanied Minors. It is also the weakest reviewed at a mere 25% positive. This is, on the other hand, better than expected. Compared to Deck the Halls, the most recent Christmas-centric family film, this one is earning reviews that are three times as good, but still not strong enough to be a selling point. It is opening in 2,775 compared to 3,205. Neither film has much in the way of star power, although Deck the Halls would have an edge there. Deck the Halls also opened on a long-weekend, but did so on the Wednesday, which balances out somewhat. As for the competition, Unaccompanied Minors main competition is Happy Feet, which is in its fourth week of release while Deck the Halls had to go up against that film during its second. The factors seem to balance out giving Unaccompanied Minors fourth place with $12 million over the weekend, but that number may be a little optimistic.

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The final film should be Happy Feet, which is also tracking at roughly $12 million. The number of new releases, and a slight drop in theatre count, could push it below $10 million, but $11 million seems more likely.


Filed under: Happy Feet, The Holiday, Blood Diamond, Unaccompanied Minors, Apocalypto