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Exorcist has a Scary Start

August 23rd, 2004

It was a very strange weekend; going in no movie was the obvious choice for number one and most analysts were predicting that most of new films would flop. I went one step further and predicted that all of them would flop. In the end, the new movies did better, on average, while the holdovers held up about as well as expected. This helped avoid a complete collapse at the box office, but it was still down 14.1% from last weekend. However, it was up 17.1% from last year, ending a mini-streak of year-to-year drops. That help 2004 from slipping any further in the year-to-date comparison, which 2004 currently leads 2003 $6.201 billion to $5.935 billion, or 4.48%.

While it may have performed better than expected, don't get too excited over Exorcist: The Beginning's prospects. $18.1 million is a good start, but with its reviews, Friday to Saturday drop-off and genre, it won't be able to last long.

Without a Paddle was the other wide release that beat expectations, although it didn't do it in such a dramatic fashion earning $13.5 million. Reviews are another matter as bad is probably the best way to describe them. Even so, it should have average legs for the summer.

While Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement more than matched expectations earning $13.1 million, it wasn't enough for it to stay in second spot, never mind moving up a spot. A second weekend drop-off of just 43% is a bit misleading since it was a Wednesday opening, but it's still a good performance compared with the average film this summer.

Alien Vs. Predator's collapse at the box office was not quite as extreme as expected, but a drop of 67.6% to $12.4 million still isn't good. It does mean Hulk's record for biggest second weekend drop-off for a number one film is safe, for now. And it was enough to push its total box office above its production budget.

Any chance Open Water had of matching The Blair Witch Project evaporated over the weekend. The film made $11.4 million in over 2700 theatres, which was just a little less than as expected. But it was well bellow the $29.2 million The Blair Witch made in its first weekend of wide release, and that film did it in just 1101 theatres.

A result that surprised almost nobody, Benji! Off the Leash missed the top ten as it could only manage $1.5 million at the box office. At this point, the less said the better.

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Filed under: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, AVP: Alien Vs. Predator, Without a Paddle, Exorcist: The Beginning, Open Water, Benji: Off the Leash!