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It's Summertime!

May 6th, 2005

After a long, slow Spring we're finally in the prime summer box office season. There's two conflicting forces at work this weekend, both of which are fueled by the slump the box office is in. There's a palatable sense of ennui the moviegoers have; they aren't excited about movies since there's been very little to be excited about. This will keep some of them away this weekend because they stopped paying attention to the movies and don't know what's playing. This will also mean there's a pent-up desire to see a big summertime movie and some will flock to the cinemas regardless of their interest in the particular movie. Which force wins out will have a large effect this weekend, and will impact the rest of the summer.

Kingdom of Heaven is the first tentpole release of the year and therefore there's a lot of pressure on the film to succeed. Anything less than $150 million will be looked at as a disappointment. Anything less than $100 million and the film will be considered a bomb. And unfortunately, it looks like the latter may come true. Reviews for the film are well below expectations and have slipped below 50%. Even many of the positive reviews are tepid in their praise. This will likely result in the film missing initial expectations with $35 million opening weekend and $100 million overall, after a small push from the studio that is.

Conversely, House of Wax is earning marginally better reviews than expected at 30% positive. This probably won't affect the opening weekend as the target audience care little with what the critics say, but it might help the film's word-of-mouth slightly. Compared to the other recent horror remake starring a Canadian, this film has a better opening weekend, but will be the second choice among many moviegoers. So it comes down to which Canuck is cuter, which gives Elisha Cuthbert and House of Wax the slight edge with a $27.5 million opening weekend and $72.5 million total.

Oh the Fanboy Effect will hurt Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy badly; if the film drops just 50% it will be seen as a major accomplishment. This is not an attack on the quality of the film but a testament to the rabid loyalty of its fans. On the low end the film should just miss $10 million, which when combined with international and home market numbers will still allow the film to earn a reasonable profit and a sequel should be in the works.

The Interpreter is holding onto its box office and theater count quite well, which will help it take advantage of the increased business in the summer season. This weekend it should earn another sub-40% drop-off, bringing in $8.5 million, but it has a long way to go before it earned back its $80 million production budget.

The last wide release of the weekend is a bit of a enigma. Crash is opening in more theaters than expected, but even with the best reviews of the weekend it is not garnering enough advanced buzz to make a major impact at the box office. If it can earn more than $6,000 per theater, the film should be able to see some growth in its theater count over the coming weeks. If the film earns less than $4,000 then it will knocked out of theaters by the end of the month. Opening with $8 million will put the film in the middle of those two figures, but closer to the latter than the studio would like.

Also happening this weekend is a sneak peak for Monster-In-Law on Sunday in roughly 900 theaters.

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Filed under: Monster-in-Law, The Interpreter, Crash, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Kingdom of Heaven, House of Wax