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Box Office Barely Alive

September 13th, 2004

There were very few surprises over the weekend, however, the box office as a whole was slightly depressed compared to expectations. This led to a 10.3% drop from last weekend, and more importantly a 9.4% drop from last year. After a summer that can best be described as mixed, Fall 2004 is getting off to a dubious start. Year to date 2004 has brought in $6.607 billion in ticket sales, up 4.8% from this time last year, inline with estimated ticket price increases.

As expected, Resident Evil: Apocalypse easily won the weekend with $23.0 million, below expectations but still the fifth biggest September opening of all time. However, there are signs of weakness like the poor reviews and the significant Friday to Saturday drop-off. Add in Sequelitis and this film will have short, short legs.

Cellular was able to beat expectations over the weekend, albeit by the tiniest of margins at $10.1 million. With mixed reviews and an intriguing hook, it might have better than average legs. But even if it manages to top $30 million, it still won't be a big success.

Without a Paddle just won't die. The film spent its fourth weekend in the top five with $4.5 million, and if one or more of next weekend's wide releases flop, it could spend another weekend on that short list.

Hero drop slightly faster and slightly farther than expected landing at $4.4 million and fourth place. The film was already a success before its debut Stateside, so its $40 million box office is pure gravy at this point.

Rounding out the top five is Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement with $2.9 million, which is less than expected. Its total box office is just shy of $90 million, which might be too small for Disney to give it that extra push to hit $100 million. However, taking into account how weak their year has been so far, they might try anyway because they need the win.

A couple of more notes with the weekend box office. First, Napoleon Dynamite managed its first finish in the top ten. However, it did lose more than 10% of it box office from the previous week, so it's probably the only weekend it will spend in the top 10. And second, Spider-Man 2 earned over $500 thousand over the weekend pushing its total to $370.7 million and into second place for the year and 8th place on the all time charts. I expect it to drop one more place before the year is done.

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Filed under: Spider-Man 2, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Without a Paddle, Jet Li's Hero, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Napoleon Dynamite, Cellular