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Full House for new Releases

October 7th, 2005

Five new films are opening in varying degrees of wideness from 3,645 theatres for Wallace and Gromit to 969 for The Gospel. All while all five could have an impact at the box office, the real question is whether the overall market can rebound from last weekend's setback.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit looks like the favorite to win the weekend box office race; it has the highest theatre count, the best reviews of any wide release this year and strong tracking. The film should top the opening of Nick Park's previous film with about $19 million. However, the market has changed enough that it won't have the same legs and Stop Motion Animation will continue to be a niche market.

In Her Shoes is tracking about the same as Wallace & Gromit but probably doesn't have a shot at top spot since tracking tends to underestimate the younger demographics. That will leave the film with a second place opening and $15 million and the combination of good reviews and an under-served demographic should give the film strong legs.

Flightplan is losing a just over 100 theatres this weekend, but it should have a similar sub-40% drop off from last weekend. That leaves the film with $9 million over the weekend and just shy of $60 million during its run.

In fourth place should be the third new wide release of the weekend, 2 For the Money. The film was only able to find 2388 theatres willing to show the movie, and with the worst reviews of the weekend, it will have trouble filling them. So look for a $7 million opening weekend and mediocre legs.

There should be a battle for fourth place between The Corpse Bride and A History of Violence. Both films should earn between $6 million and $5 million with the former have a slight edge over the latter.

That leaves seventh place for the next newcomer, Waiting... Reviews are about what one would expect for a gross-out comedy but the theatre count is disappointing at just 1,652, which will hurt the film's box office more. But even with just $5 million over the next three days, the film's financial future is secure as it should become a major hit on the home market.

We've already discussed the seven films, so we might as well finish out the rest of the top ten. There are two competing forces at work with Serenity; it has earned some of the best reviews for any wide release this year but it also has to deal with the dreaded Fanboy Effect. In these cases the latter almost always wins, which will cut the film's box office to just south of $5 million. On the other hand, Fanboy Effect also usually means strong home market sales, which will be the film's saving grace.

Next up is The Gospel, which is the least predictable film on this week's list. With reviews that are sub-par and a theatre count that couldn't even reach 1000, all signs point to a weak opening and a quick exit from theatres. But the same could have been said about Diary of a Mad Black Woman and look how well that film did. Taking everything into account, $4 million seems to be the most likely, but the film could surprise and open in third place with a box office in the low teens.

Rounding out the top ten should be Jessica Alba in a Bikini, a.k.a. Into the Blue, which should earn about $3.5 million over the weekend and will finish with less than $20 million overall.

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Filed under: Flightplan, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Corpse Bride, In Her Shoes, A History of Violence, Serenity, Into the Blue, Waiting..., 2 For the Money