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Corrected - Wallace and Gromit Capture Top Spot

October 10th, 2005

Note: Updated 10/15/2005 with more info on fire at Aardman.

It was a bad weekend at the box office. Granted, the box office hit $104 million over the weekend, up 17.6% from last weekend, but it was down 2.9% from last year, making this a weak start to October. The fall box office is still ahead of last years pace by 4.9% at $581.8 million, but year-to-date, 2005 is off by 6.5% at $6.608 billion.

As expected, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit took top spot on this week's chart, but its box office wasn't as strong as most people were expecting, with receipts of just $16.2 million. Its reviews are still the best for any wide release of the year and that should mean strong legs. On a side note, Aardman Animation's studios, where Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was made warehouse, used to store sets, awards and historical artefacts, burned to the ground over the weekend. Fortunately no one was in the building at the time but the "entire history" of the studio was destroyed. See Aardman's news piece for more information.

Flightplan held up even better than expected, losing 27.3% of last week's winning box office falling to land in second place with $10.8 million. The film now has made nearly $61 million during its run, just over its $55 million production budget, and early international results indicate that the film should show a profit sometime during its international run.

Despite good reviews, In Her Shoes missed expectations, finishing the weekend with just $10.0 million in 2,808 theatres. That per theatre average is low enough that even if the film shows pretty good legs it will lose a lot of its theatres by the end of the month.

On the other hand, 2 For the Money beat expectations with $8.7 million in 2,391 theatres for a nearly identical per theatre average. However, this film earned much weaker reviews and will likely see a 50% drop-off next weekend.

Rounding out the top five was The Gospel, which finished in between the film's tracking number of $4 million and the pie-in-the-sky prediction of $13 million. Its actual box office take was $7.5 million, which is a great start for a film playing in just 969 theatres. However, expansion and legs may be a problem since niche market films tend to be front-loaded.

The Corpse Bride beat expectations with $6.5 million and is well on its way to profitability.

The last new release for the weekend was Waiting..., which opened in seventh with $6.0 million - above expectations. Reviews and its per theatre average suggest it won't last long in theatres, but the good news is that the film was much less expensive to make than I thought, costing just $1 million. Even with a P&A budget ten times that much, the film should show a profit before it reaches the home market, and while there is should become a bit of a cult hit.

Next up is Serenity with $5.4 million, down just 47% from last weekend. Is that enough to make the studio happy? Probably not, but with strong international / home market numbers a profit isn't out of the question.

A History of Violence met expectations nearly perfectly with $5.1 million, but with stronger than expected competition, it fell a couple of places further down the charts.

Also holding up better than expected was Into the Blue with $4.8 million. The film had the second best week-to-week drop-off in the top ten - down just 31.6%.

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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