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Top Dog

March 29th, 2004

There were a few of surprises this week, some good and some bad. This bag of mixed blessings helped the box office to a flat week-to-week result, moving up of less than $10,000 or 0.007%. Continued weakness this time last year helped 2004 shoot up by 14% but the year-to-date figurers are still only 6% above 2003. Weak mid-week numbers have prevented 2004 from putting real distance between it and 2003.

Further proving you should never green-light on the basis of a strong opening weekend, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed opened with just $29.4 million. That represents of drop of more than 40% from the original and with a production budget estimated at North of $80 million, it’s not enough. Factor in sequelitis, reviews that were less than flattering, especially from the cream of the crop, and its total run may be less than half of the originals. Hopefully any talk of a third movie has ended by now.

Good news, The Ladykillers beat predictions earning $12.6 million. Bad news, it still wasn't enough to give Tom Hanks a reasonable shot at extending his $100 million streak. Mediocre reviews won't help the situation either, but if the film can expand next weekend it should easily become the highest grossing Coen Brothers' movie.

After a surprising start, The Passion of the Christ has become old reliable on the charts. It's $12.6 million this weekend was well within accepted margin of error for Friday's prediction.

Despite surprisingly good reviews, Dawn of the Dead plummeted at the box office earning only $10.7 million during is second weekend of release. While there have been plenty of movies to have larger second-weekend drop-offs, much fewer have done it after opening #1.

It's hard to tell if the opening of Jersey Girl is a success. The film could only manage $8.3 million and fifth place, inl ine with most predictions. But it only opened in approximately 1500 theatres, giving it a reasonable $5,500 per theatre average and room to grow. But with less than flattering reviews it is unlikely it will do that. It will need strong legs just to match its production budget, which at $35 million is the highest in Kevin Smith's career, but well below industry average.

Im a word, Never Die Alone died. It could barely take in $3.1 million and finished out of the top ten. It will be out of theatres within a month and considering its terrible reviews it won't be missed.

Three of next week's four new movies held sneak peaks this weekend. Hellboy sold out both shows and was by all accounts a smash success. While the results of the other two sneaks, (Walking Tall and The Prince and Me) were not available at press time.

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Filed under: The Passion of the Christ, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Hellboy, Dawn of the Dead, Walking Tall, The Ladykillers, The Prince & Me, Jersey Girl, Never Die Alone