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Three-peat In the Works

March 12th, 2004

2004 is starting to slow down again, as this week's group of new movies is quite weak. The only wide release with overall positive reviews really stretches the definition of wide release. And the other two releases have reviews that range from mediocre to really bad.

The Passion of the Christ was again the only film in the top ten to see day to day drop-offs every day this week. And again it will finish first. Although its week-to-week drop off will start to accelerate. This week it should lose a little more than 40% finishing with just over $30 million.

There's good news and bad news for Secret Window. Good news, Johnny Depp's star is hot. Bad news, Stephen King's is not. Using the reviews as a tie breaker won't work because they are just average. Taking it all into account, plus the time of year, and you get a prediction of $20 million and that's the best Stephen King opening ever. But it will have to settle for fourth or fifth place for final box office.

The sophomore stint for Starsky & Hutch will determine if it can make it to $100 million at the box office. A drop-off of less than 40% and it could have a shot. But its mid-week numbers were weak, so that's doubtful. Look for $15 million this weekend.

Hidalgo earned a bit more than predicted last weekend, and should have the best week-to-week drop-off in the top five earning another $11 million. But with a total budget well over $100 million, this film will need an amazing international run and an impressive home market to see a profit.

The second new release, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London opens in less theatres than the original and to much weaker reviews. All that adds up to just under $11 million at the box office, and with the sequel effect it could earn just more than half the total box office of the original.

The last movie to open wide, if you call 832 theatres wide, is Spartan. The amount of theatres is a real problem. Too few to justify the expense of a national campaign, too many for local, targeted advertising. And while the reviews are better than the other two wide releases, they are not strong enough to create the necessary word-of-mouth. And then you have to consider Val Kilmer has been box office poison for the past few years. With all that in mind, Spartan may not make the Top Ten, and if it earns less than the $2 million predicted, it won't.

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Filed under: The Passion of the Christ, Starsky & Hutch, Hidalgo, Secret Window, Spartan, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London