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Box Office Suffers Labor Day Pains

September 2nd, 2005

For the third weekend in a row we have a contender for worst movie of the year contest. In fact, this weekend there are two such movies. (And next weekend it looks like we'll have another.) Even so, there should be enough moviegoers interested in the other two releases that the weekend could show significant growth, maybe not compared to last weekend, but certainly compared to last year.

The first new release of the week, and the only one to really have a wide release, is The Transporter 2. It's been nearly three years since the original debuted in theatres, which is a little longer than optimal for a sequel; however, with reviews that are slightly better than the original's, and darn close to the overall positive level, it should fare much better at the box office. (Note, since I wrote that it has fallen to the 50% level, which is still higher than expected.) Look for just under $15 million over the three-day weekend and just over $4 million on Monday for an $19 million total. But I fully admit I am a lot more Bullish on the film than many other analysts are and the actual result could be much lower.

Like last weekend, I'm predicting second place will go to The 40 Year-Old Virgin, but also like last weekend there's a chance it could score another first place finish. I expect the film will earned $12.5 million over the three-day weekend and $16 million overall, but all it needs to do is beat expectations by 10% while The Transporter 2 misses expectations by the same margin and its will have completed the threepeat - the only film this year to do so. And even if it doesn't, more than $70 million after three weeks is an excellent run for a film that cost just $26 million to make.

The long weekend won't help The Brothers Grimm enough because it cost too much to make and started off too slowly at the box office. Right now it's just trying to earn enough that the studio will be willing to support the film during its international run and so it won't be remembered as a bomb when it hits the home market. Hitting $10 million during the 3-day weekend would go a long way to helping its cause, but I think it will just miss that goal added $9 million from Friday to Sunday and $12 million including Monday.

Red Eye will hold up much better than the previous film and should finish in a close fourth place with just under $8 million over the next three day and just over $10 million over four. That will give the film roughly $46 million during its run and it should be original expectations shortly afterward.

Rounding the top five will be the second wide release of the week, The Constant Gardener, which just missed expectations on Wednesday earning $930,000. But that's close enough that I won't be reducing my predictions so look for $5.5 million / $7 million over the weekend.

Next we have Underclassman, which will be missing the top five, possibly even the top ten. It's opening in a similar number of theatres as Undiscovered and Supercross did, and is earning similar reviews. The best the film can reasonably hope for is just over $3 million over the first three days and $4 million including Monday, but bringing in half that is more likely. The only good news is that it is not the weakest release of the week.

That would be A Sound of Thunder, which is tracking even worse than expected, but surprisingly, it is earning better reviews at 8% positive. I was really expecting this film to finish with 0% positive. It's opening in just 816 theatres with absolutely no support from the studio (which is contractually obligated to make the movie). A sub-$1000 per theatre average is in the future and it might not make $1 million during its entire run.

Lastly, An Unfinished Life is having a sneak peak at roughly 750 theatres on both Saturday and Sunday. Check you local listings for more details.

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Filed under: The 40 Year-old Virgin, Red Eye, The Transporter 2, The Brothers Grimm, The Constant Gardener, An Unfinished Life, Underclassman, A Sound of Thunder