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Serving Notice

February 3rd, 2004

There was a surprise upset this weekend for top spot on the charts. But even with the number one film beating expectations by more than $12 million, the overall box office still couldn't meet expectations. Total box office was done 5.2% from last weekend, dropping below the $100 million mark. Year to date 2004 was already down 6% from last year and this weekend didn't help the cause; it dropped 18.4% from last year, but just 5.2% from last Superbowl weekend.

I don't think anyone predicted You Got Served would win the weekend, and certainly not with $16.1 million. And while reviews suggest very poor legs, the films tiny production budget has already been paid for.

While The Butterfly Effect dropped a little faster than expected to $9.6 million, a 44% drop is still better than the 2003 average. This may be because of better than average quality, but I think it also has to do with opening weekend burnout. 2003 saw so many over hyped movies that audiences are waiting a week to see how others liked a movie before they give it a chance.

Along Came Polly was the only other film that lived up to Friday's prediction with $9.3 million. In just three weeks, the film has covered its production budget and is working on paying for its P&A budget as well. With the studio getting a smaller and smaller share of the box office, it's unlikely that it will be able to cover all expenses, but by the time it hits the home market a nice profit will have been made.

Award season didn't help Lord of the Rings: Return of the King hold onto its box office, but its $5.3 million was enough for it to movie up one spot to fourth. And by the end of next weekend, the Trilogy will have crossed $1 billion domestically.

At just $4.9 million, The Perfect Score's debut was less than half of what was predicted. Like the other films opening wide this weekend, this one has terrible reviews . Even with a low budget, the studio won't see a profit on this one for a long, long time.

As I said on Friday, The Big Bounce looked good on paper. But something awful happened on the way to the theatre. Exact figures are not available, but it is estimated that this film had the highest production and P&A budget for any of the wide releases. But it only managed $3.3 million and a 13th place finish. And don't expect word-of-mouth to save this film either, not with reviews like that.

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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Butterfly Effect, You Got Served, The Perfect Score, The Big Bounce, Along Came Polly