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Will There be a Surprise Twist at the Box Office?

July 30th, 2004

We have an absolutely overloaded weekend when in comes to new releases. Four of them are opening, and at least one, and probably more, will be squeezed out.

There's a lot of pressure on M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Can it live up to his other films critically? Will the expected surprise ending still surprise? Will it live up to the high box office expectations? The answer to the first two questions is no. Reviews are bad currently sitting at just 44% positive and easily the worst of his career since Wide Awake. I've seen predictions as high as $65 million, but given the bad word of mouth this film is likely to generate, I think $45 million is a more reasonable and it might struggle to hit $100 million. Even if it does earn just $100 million, then M. Night Shyamalan might develop a Star Trek like reputation with every other film struggling. On a side note, Disney hasn't had a $100 million movie since Freaky Friday, that's a streak of 19 films in a row. And if this film doesn't do it, then they might not have another one till The Incredibles opens in November. And even if that film breaks records, it will be a disappointing year for Disney.

After opening as strong as it did, a drop of 50% is expected for The Bourne Supremacy. Still that's $26 million, which will be enough for a second place finish and to push the film past $100 million.

The first victim of the overcrowded market place is The Manchurian Candidate, which is earning the best reviews of any wide release this week. The remake deserves to earn more, but it will mostly likely have to settle for $20 million and a third place finish. Fortunately, Denzel Washington films tend to have very long legs.

Very strong reviews won't be enough to save Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. The film is not opening in enough theatres to finish higher than fourth on the charts and by the time the film expands its target audience will have forgotten all about it. Look for $13 million at the box office this weekend and a second life at the home market.

Another weekend, another huge drop for I, Robot. This time it will land at 5th place with just below $10 million.

When I first heard they were making a live action adaptation of Thunderbirds I was skeptical. I figured it would be a big hit in Britain, and struggle over here both critically and at the box office. But then something unexpected happened, it bombed in the U.K. managing only $2.5 million, including sneak peaks. The domestic market is much bigger than the U.K., but I can't see it more than doubling its opening take. A $5 million opening for a $70 million movie is a disaster of epic proportions. And even if it doubles my prediction, it will still be a bomb.

One final note, Shrek 2 will have passed Star Wars: THe Phantom Menace to place fourth on the All-Time Charts by the time the weekend starts.

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Filed under: Shrek 2, The Bourne Supremacy, I, Robot, The Village, The Manchurian Candidate, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Thunderbirds