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Dark Times for the Dark Knight

June 17th, 2005

It looks like the near universal enthusiasm for this weekend's box office needs to be toned down a bit after Wednesday's disappointing opening by Batman Begins. Even so, the weekend should still be strong enough to break the slump the year-to-year comparisons are struggling with. Which means for the first time in nearly four months 2005 will gain ground on 2004.

As previously stated, Batman Begins started slower than expected with just $15.1 million. This doesn't necessarily mean it won't meat the expectations for the weekend. If the movie's box office is flat for Thursday, then it could still make $70 million over the weekend and have the same 5-day total as originally predicted. If it suffers just a small drop-off (to $14 million or so), then $60 million is the target. The most likely scenario has the film hitting $12.5 million on Thursday and $55 million over the weekend, making it the biggest opening for the franchise. On the other hand, $10 million would suggest a some weakness in its drawing power, while if it falls more than 50% for Thursday would most likely kill any chance for further sequels.

The film that could benefit the most from Batman Begins' problems is Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which outperformed expectations last weekend. Demographics showed there were more females than most action films get, and analysts are crediting the publicity surrounding Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 's relationship. If the film opened better than expected out of sheer curiosity, that could mean a faster than normal decline. Reviews are good enough to prevent a complete collapse, but a nearly 50% drop-off is still expected as the film should add $27 million over the weekend.

Madagascar continues its strong run this weekend and should easily take third place with $10 million. That while leave the film just shy of $150 million for its run, and $175 million should be the final tally.

There's a bit of bad news for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: for the first time during its run it failed to earn more than Attack of the Clones did during the same point it its run. Even so, Attack of the Clones managed over $40 million more during its run (not counting the box office from the IMAX version), and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith needs less than half that to reach the All-Time Top Ten. This weekend, it should add $8 million more, to top both Finding Nemo and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Rounding out the top five should be The Perfect Man, the latest Hilary Duff vehicle. If she wants to make the transition from child star to respectable actress she really needs to choose better projects than this one. There's little to recommend this film except to huge fans of Hilary Duff, but fortunately there's enough of them that this film should eventually show a profit, and start with $8 million over the weekend.

One last note, Herbie: Fully Loaded has a sneak peak in over 800 theatres on Sunday so if you're interested check your local listings.

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Filed under: Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith, Batman Begins, Madagascar, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Perfect Man