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Box Office has Been Through the Desert

April 11th, 2005

It was another weak weekend at the box office as no film was able to break $20 million for the first time since the first weekend in February and Sahara had the worst box office for a number one film for the entire year. This pushed the box office down an incredible 17.8% from last week and an even more troubling 25.0% from last year. (This time last year was Easter, so that mitigates the situation somewhat.) Year-to-date, 2005's box office now sits at $2.134 billion, down 4% from 2004. Considering how poor box office receipts were at this time last year, 2005 is in serious trouble if things don't turn around soon.

Given its production budget, it's safe to say Sahara needed to hit $100 million domestically to have a shot at showing a profit before the DVD hit the bargain bins. But with just $18.1 million in 3,154 theatres there's little chance that will happen now. In fact, with reviews that are solidly mediocre, the film might not have the legs to reach half that goal. It's another expensive miss for a studio that's been struggling lately. Quite frankly, now that Sony's takeover of MGM/UA is complete I wouldn't be surprised if Paramount is the next to be fall.

When the Fanboy Effect goes head-to-head with excellent reviews, it usually wins. That was certainly the case with Sin City, which lost more than half its opening box office landing at $14.2 million, enough to push its total to $50 million after just ten days. This is also enough to ensure a sequel will be made.

People are going to start wondering if the Farrelly Brothers have lost their touch. After monster hits with Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary, three of their last four films have struggled at the box office. Fever Pitch was the latest film to suffer, bringing in just $12.4 million despite playing in 3,267 theatres for a sub $4,000 per theater average. Add in reviews that are decidedly middle of the road and you have a final box office that will top out at around $40 million.

Beauty Shop and Guess Who were even closer than expected with weekend estimates showing the films tied at $7.1 million. However, when Monday's exact figures were in Guess Who won the race $7.0 million to $6.8 million. Overall Guess Who has become a solid midlevel hit while Beauty Shop will have to rely on the home market to show a profit.

One last note, The Pacifier made it to $100 million late in the weekend, making it just the third film of 2005 to reach that milestone.

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Filed under: The Pacifier, Sin City, Guess Who, Sahara, Fever Pitch, Beauty Shop