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January Dumping Grounds Begin

January 9th, 2004

January is usually the time when studios dump movies that looked like a good idea on paper, but didn't pan out. This year looks like no exception as the two new movies are getting destroyed by the critics. In fact, the only film that looks capable of challenging Lord of the Rings: Return of the King for the lead is the wide expansion of Big Fish.

As predicted, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King failed to reach $300 million on Thursday, but it will easily do so today. And that is just two days off the pace set by Spider-man, but that doesn't mean breaking $400 million is that realistic. This weekend the film should finish first, again, with $16 million. That's enough to push it past Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl into second for 2003 and just ahead of the original film's total run.

Big Fish expands into 2,400 theatres this weekend, and if it can maintain just a fraction of last weekend's per theatre average it should finish second for the weekend. The actual box office for Big Fish should be significantly higher that its total box office run to date. $13 million for the weekend, and the more awards / nominations it earns the better its legs will be.

After two weeks of playing second fiddle to Return of the King, Cheaper by the Dozen will drop a spot to third, although it will battle Big Fish for second. The $12 million it earns will also be enough to push it past $100 million, the 26th film from 2003 to do so. That is already a record and there are perhaps 4 more films that could join those ranks.

The first new film on this week's charts should be Chasing Liberty. This is the third staring vehicle for Mandy Moore and the critics hate this one more than the other two. However, at the box office it should finish somewhere in between the two, call it just shy of $10 million with a dubious future at the box office.

Something's Gotta Give and Cold Mountain will be in another battle for a box office position, this time for fifth place. Something's Gotta Give has the slight edge and should finish slightly above $8 million on its way to $100 million overall. Cold Mountain will make just under $8 million and its chances at $100 million depend entirely on the number of awards it can win.

The only other movie to open today has undergone one name change, several release date switches and finally it wasn't screened for critics. We all know what that means. My Baby's Daddy, a.k.a. My Baby's Mama, is the poster child for a January dump. Look for about $6 million at the box office and a quick exit from theatres.

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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Cheaper by the Dozen, Something's Gotta Give, Cold Mountain, Big Fish, My Baby's Daddy, Chasing Liberty