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Machine Madness

March 11th, 2005

There really no doubt about what film will take top spot this weekend, as Robots could triple the second place film. However, after number one there are some interesting stories at the weekend box office race.

Robots will easily take top spot, and the only real question is how big will it be? Will it top Hitch for biggest opening weekend of 2005? Will it make it in the Top 50 Biggest Opening Weekends? Will it break the record for biggest March Weekend? At the beginning of the month I was expecting the film to open with $40 million. However, it has earned a much wider opening that I expected and is the sixth widest opening weekend at 3,776 theaters. Also helping its chances is the hype surrounding Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, which is debuting its final trailer with Robots. That alone should add several million to is opening weekend. On the other hand, its reviews are merely average and should neither hurt nor help the film's chances. Overall it adds up to $53.5 million over the weekend and yes to all the above questions.

Direct competition from Robots will hurt The Pacifier's sophomore stint at the box office. But even with a drop-off north of 40%, the film should bring in $17 million this weekend and be very close to matching its production budget after just two weeks of release. With Easter weekend, international and home market this film will show a tidy profit before it's all said and done.

The sequel effect, very weak reviews and stiff competition are all conspiring against Be Cool's chances this weekend. So look for a drop-off of just shy of 50% landing at $12 million for the weekend and just over $40 million running tally.

Earlier in the month I was expecting Hostage to earn $20 million and take second place quite comfortably. However, several factors make that very unlikely. First of all, its theater count is tiny, at just 2,123 and I was expecting an opening of closer to 3,000. The smaller theater count is most likely the result of poor buzz and / or lack of hype and the weak reviews would tend to confirm this. So expectations have dropped to just $10 million over the weekend and $30 million overall.

Rounding out the top five should be Hitch with about $7 million. That should take it to $148 million after 5 weeks of release.

The last release that should have an impact on the top ten is The Passion Recut, a re-release of last year's surprise hit. Judging this version's chances is problematic at best. First of all, while the film was trimmed by 6 minutes it still earned a R Rating (it is being released as Unrated instead). Also, the DVD of the movie has been out since August, so most people who want to see the film can see it whenever they want. Still, the film should easily make it into the top ten and might even have a shot at the top five, but seventh place with $5 million seems to be the most likely scenario.

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Filed under: Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith, The Passion of the Christ, Hitch, Robots, The Pacifier, Be Cool