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Is it Time to Panic?

May 21st, 2004

Shrek 2 didn't get off to as solid a start as predicted and without any other wide releases this week we could be in trouble. But there may be mitigating circumstances that will help the box office this weekend.

First the good news, Shrek 2 is expanding into 400 more theatres today making it the widest distributed film of all time at 4,163 theatres. But for the bad news, it wasn't able to match previous expectations, in fact, it didn't come close. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the film will flop this weekend as there are a couple of mitigating circumstances. First of all the film's audience could be skewed even younger than I expected and they would be unlikely to see the movie on a school night. And exit polls seem to confirm this. Secondly, the film was bumped up to a Wednesday release only two weeks ago so many moviegoers might not have known about the date change. Even so, those factors can't explain away the entire drop so I'm lowering my estimate from $70 million over the weekend to $60 million. And after Thursday's numbers come in, I may adjust it further.

Hopefully Troy won't become the second pump and dump in as many weeks. If it does it could be disastrous for the summer box office season. If it drops down less than 40%, then we should see reasonable legs and eventually a profit for Warner Bros.. I predict a result in the middle of those two extremes. The film's box office should drop 45% to just $26 million, a solid, respectable figure but nothing epic.

After losing nearly 60% last weekend, Van Helsing's plummet should flatten out slightly. But it will still lose more than 50% dropping to just under $10 million for its third weekend. Simply put, this movie was too expensive for its return thus far.

It will be at least one more weekend in the top five for Mean Girls. This weekend it should take in a little more than $6 million putting it just a week from showing a profit domestically. And that's not a very common feat. Should the Lindsay Lohan laugher out perform expectations, Van Helsing drop even faster and one of next week's two counter programming films flop, then there's an outside chance at fifth spot next weekend.

Because of last week's weaker than expected performance by Breakin' All the Rules, Man on Fire should get one more weekend in the top five with a box office of just $3 million. However, for two April films to still be in the top five this late into May is just unacceptable.

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Filed under: Shrek 2, Troy, Van Helsing, Mean Girls, Man on Fire, Breakin' All the Rules