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Beating the Odds

September 10th, 2004

Historically speaking, the weekend after the Labor Day long weekend tends to be the slowest weekend of the year. But this year looks to buck the odds, as we should see a slight bounce from last weekend. And this increase should be thanks entirely to one movie, while this week's other new release will have to settle for a distant second place. The rest of the top five, and indeed the top ten, will finish way back but within a couple million of each other.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is the sequel to the marginally successful video game movie from 2002. When determining whether a film deserves a sequel you have to take more than just the box office into account. If the film suffered from a steep drop and poor reviews, like Resident Evil did, then chances are the sequel won't be well received. You might get one big weekend out of it, but expect steep drops after that. Reviews for this film are about half as strong as the original's, but slightly better than I expected. And its theatre count is much, much higher at 3,284. So look for $25 million at the box office this weekend, but the film could earn more during the first three days than it will during the rest of its run.

Coming in a distant second should be the second new release of the weekend, Cellular. I was expecting the film's reviews to be abysmal, hovering around 20% positive, so to see them just shy of the overall positive threshold was a bit of a shock. So I've raised my expectations, not a lot, but I think $10 million opening should be the goal and it should have more reasonable legs.

The rest of the top ten, and possibly beyond, should finish within $2 million of third place.

Hero should see its box office cut in half, again. But adding another $4.5 million will push its total box office above $40 million so far.

Without a Paddle should continue to show the kind of legs that most movies would kill for. Look for just north of $4 million.

Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement's chances at $100 million pretty much ended on Labor Day, but the film should still have a solid shot at one more top five finish with $3.5 million.

Paparazzi, which was the biggest pleasant surprise last weekend, could show some serious legs this weekend, but I won't bet on it. Look for it to drop out of the top five and land at just over $3 million.

Collateral's chances at $100 million are still very strong since the film should at least come close enough for the studio to give the film an extra boast, especially after earning another $3 million this weekend.

Despite earning the best per theatre average in the top ten last weekend, there was no real expansion for Vanity Fair this weekend. Therefore, it will slump at the box office to just $3million.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid should see its box office slashed in half, again, leaving a little less than $3 million.

Rounding out the top ten will be Wicker Park with just $2.5 million, maybe. Limited releases, Napoleon Dynamite and Garden State both have a shot at the last spot, the latter more than the former.

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Filed under: Collateral, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Without a Paddle, Jet Li's Hero, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Napoleon Dynamite, Cellular, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Garden State, Vanity Fair, Paparazzi, Wicker Park