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Underdog Hits the Top

June 21st, 2004

Bit of a mixed week: we had a surprise hit at number one, but the two bigger budget films both struggled. This led to the second really big drop-off in the weekend box office in a row, this time 14.7%. And it that in turn led to the first year-to-year drop in some weeks, and it was a pretty serious decline of 9.4%. With next week looking less than impressive as well, the industry will need Spider-Man 2 to really soar to avoid a prolonged slump.

Not only did Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story hit $20 million, it made $30.1 million in it opening weekend. For a movie to open with the same amount as its production budget is very impressive. After factoring in P&A and exhibitors' share, this film will need to make roughly $90 million to show a profit. And with better than expected reviews it should at least come close.

It looks like Tom Hanks will go two movies without hitting $100 million, something the Oscar winning actor hasn't done in nearly a decade. The Terminal's $19.1 million isn't a good start for a movie that cost more than $100 million to get into theatres. And with reviews that are below average for his career, it probably won't have the same legs either. On the other hand, the film could have better success internationally, so at least the studio can look forward to that.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban third weekend was exactly as predicted earning another $18.0 million. $200 million is assured at this point, but $250 million is probably out of reach making this film the lowest grossing movie of the franchise so far. Even so, it will still come very close to making a profit domestically, and it will easily be a huge financial boon for Warner Bros. when it is all said and done.

Even though Shrek 2 dropped a bit faster than expected to $13.9 million, it was easily able to jump ahead of The Passion of the Christ for number one for the year. That does mean, however, that it will take a couple more day to hit $400 million. It should still shave more than two weeks off the old record.

As expected, by me at least, Garfield finished in the top five for the second weekend in a row with $11.3 million, which raises its box office is almost up to its production budget of $50 million, (my original estimate was off.) A lot of people are confused on why this is happening, even mistaking it for a sign of the Apocalypse. But the reason is rather simple. Garfield has been around for more than 25 years, so kids who grew up on Garfield are now old enough to have kids of their own the same age they were when they enjoyed Garfield. So it's no surprise it is doing as well as it has been.

Around the World in 80 Days barely lived up to lowered expectations taking in just $10.5 million since Wednesday. That includes $7.6 million on the weekend, which is only good enough for 9th place on the charts. Poor reviews will shorten its stay in theatres even more, and even relatively better prospects internationally won't help save this film's fate. That's the fourth major misstep for Disney this year and when you add in the fact that they passed on Fahrenheit 9/11 Michael Eisner could be out of a job very soon.

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Filed under: Shrek 2, The Passion of the Christ, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Fahrenheit 9/11, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Terminal, Garfield: The Movie, Around the World in 80 Days