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August Ends with a Whimper

August 27th, 2004

While it may look like a busy weekend at first glance as there are four wide releases, their average theatre count is under 2000. Also, three of the four are receiving some of the harshest responses from the critics seen this summer. Because of that, there should be a real drop at the overall box office this weekend, a downturn that won't end till mid-October, give or take a week.

The biggest thing going for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid is the lack of competition as it is the only film to truly open wide a theatre count of 2905. Its reviews are better than I thought they would be, and are on par with the original's reviews. That should give it a similar opening, let's say $14 million, but much, much weaker legs.

The only film not getting brutalized by the critics is Hero. This film is in fact, getting some of the best reviews of the summer. Unfortunately, Miramax may have bungled the release first with a planned limited release, the deciding to open the film in just 1200 theatres, then pushing that total to just over 2000 at the last minute. A Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-like opening would have been better suited as that would have allowed word of mouth to carry the film. And even with a per theatre average that should easily be the best in the top 10, it won't be enough to push the film into first place. $12 million will, hopefully, be enough to allow the film to expand in the coming weeks and have its strong word of mouth translate into strong legs. One last note, even if the film bombs domestically, it is already a success having earned $104 million worldwide.

The rest of the top five should be a dog race with three films all finishing with roughly $7 million. Leading the pack will be Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement with just over $7 million to push its box office total to nearly $75 million. Next is Without a Paddle at $7 million, a drop of a little less than 50%, which is a good result compared to most films this year. And rounding out the top five will be Exorcist: The Beginning with just under $7 million, a drop of more than 60%.

Suspect Zero won't make the top five, in fact, it could struggle to make the top 10. This is a film that sat on the studio shelves for two years, which is usually not a good sign. And if the critics are correct, it should have stayed there. Look for a $4 million opening and a quick exit from the theatres. That's too bad because it has an interesting premise and a good cast, unlike the next film to open wide, which has neither of those.

And that brings us to the last movie, Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2, which makes Gigli look like Citizen Kane. This is a film that, simply put, should have never been made. The talking baby gimmick stop being cute with the Looks Who's Talking franchise and the Kid Spy genre is a minefield. The only films in that genre that have done well are the Spy Kids franchise and the first Agent Cody Banks. (And I'd credit much of that film's success to the fact that it was Hilary Duff's first starring role in a theatrical release.) And at least with those films will be of interest to kids the same age as the kid spies in them, but that's not the case with Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2. So far the film has earned an impressive 0% positive from Rotten Tomatoes, matching the original in terms of critical scorn. This film should finish out of the top ten and make less than $2 million in the process.

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Filed under: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Without a Paddle, Jet Li's Hero, Exorcist: The Beginning, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Suspect Zero