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Isn't It Summertime?

May 9th, 2005

So much for Summer beginning during the first full weekend of May. To say Summer started slowly is an understatement of Epic proportions. The weekend box office was down by 3.8% on a week-to-week basis while last year saw a 7.2% increase over the same time period. And even worse, the weekend was down 21.7% from 2004; it was also the eleventh weekend in a row that the box office saw a yearly decline, tying the old record set in 2000. Total box office was just $87 million, the fifth weekend in a row that the box office was sub-$100 million, the longest such stretch since fall 2001. Year-to-date, 2005's box office has hit $2.582 billion, 7% behind the same 2004 and it might not get much better next weekend.

Summer got off to a disastrous start with Kingdom of Heaven bringing in just $19.6 million in 3,216 theaters, well below expectations. The film also joins Sahara as one of this years $100 million bombs. Those two films have a lot in common, similar production budgets ($110 million to $130 million), similar performance with the critics (41% positive to 40% positive), similar openings ($19.6 million to $18.1 million), and both should perform better internationally. Kingdom of Heaven does have a couple of advantages. Firstly, the holidays should help its legs; secondly, it should perform even better internationally and eventually show a profit.

House of Wax also missed expectations by nearly the same margin at just $12.0 million. It's tiny per theater average will likely see it shed theaters very fast making it yet another remake to flop. As for the reasons the film is struggling, it is partly to do with the weak reviews, but that can't explain all of it since reviews were expected to be bad. Could have something to do with the prolonged slump that remake are in. Heck, it could have something to do with Paris Hilton-overload. Whatever the reason, this film will have trouble earning back its $40 million production budget.

The Fanboy Effect hit Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy like a free-falling whale, as it dropped to third place with just $9.8 million. This was expected, so it should not affect the possibility of a sequel, which will depend heavily on the film's home market numbers.

Crash is the only film in the top five to beat expectations, and it only managed $9.1 million. As long as its reviews can translate into word-of-mouth, it should top initial expectations but don't expect the film to get any serious boost in its theater count.

The Interpreter fell faster than expected to fifth place with $7.8 million. It has earned $54.4 million during its run so far, which is a far cry from its $80 million production budget.

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