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Eyeing Top Place

July 16th, 2004

Just two wide releases this week, but together they make almost the perfect duo, the potential blockbuster and the counter-programming smaller film. Hopefully, this will result in both films maximizing their box office. However, with neither film likely to win many awards their maximized profits are unlikely to be particularly impressive.

The potential blockbuster this week is I, Robot, the oh so very lose adaptation of an Isaac Asimov idea of something related to the general field of robotics. What I don't understand is why a movie studio would take such a beloved Science Fiction series and turn it into, as most of the critics are calling it, a generic Sci-Fi / Action movie. Granted, it is the perfect time of year to release such a movie; and combine that with the praise Alan Tudyk is earning for his portrayal of Sonny, (a.k.a. the Robot), and this could be a $50 million opening. However, I think $42 million is a little more likely with a final tally just north of $100 million.

After two weeks on top Spider-man 2 will drop a spot to second with a very respectable $26 million. That's enough to cross $300 million, but not fast enough to break the record doing it. Still, with strong weekday numbers and reasonable legs this film should still peak at number 2 for the year. Where it will finish at the end of the year depends on how well The Incredibles do when it is released in November.

A Cinderella Story is the counter programming movie this week. Like last week's counter programming movie, Sleepover, reviews are poor, even for the genre. But unlike last week's counter programming film, this one has much more star power, including the 'Tween Queen herself, Hilary Duff. That should be good enough for $15 million over the weekend.

Whether or not Anchorman can make it to $100 million depends a lot on how well it holds up during its second weekend of release. Its serious Friday to Saturday drop-off last weekend is troubling, and its weekday numbers didn't help matters. Look for $14 million this weekend, which is not enough to settle the question either way, but does make $100 million much less likely.

The film became the undisputed documentary champ of all time, surpassing To Fly! during the mid-week. And now Fahrenheit 9/11 continues its inevitable march to $100 million. This weekend, it should cut the gap in half earning just over $7 million and finishing in a dead heat with King Arthur for fifth place on the charts.

Also worth noting, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story crossed $100 million on Wednesday, 27 days into its run. It is just the 10th film to do so this year, which is two behind last year's record setting pace.

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Filed under: Spider-Man 2, I, Robot, Fahrenheit 9/11, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, King Arthur, A Cinderella Story