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Sky's the Limit

September 17th, 2004

This weekend is a little busier than most with 4 movies opening wide and another film having a preview. Most of the films are also earning better than average reviews, especially for this time of year. This should give a little boost to the box office, but don't expect to see any major breakout hits or records broken along the way.

When I first heard about Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow I though to myself that there's no way that Hollywood's going to do this right. And when it moved from a posh opening in mid-summer to September, those impressions were all but confirmed. However, I got a shock when I saw the reviews, which currently sit at 76% positive, much higher than I had anticipated. But that's no guarantee that it will find an audience. Look for $24 million opening, and enough legs for it to surpass its $70 million production budget.

Good news for Mr. 3000, not only are there quite a few pennant / wildcard races still to be decided, but there's a couple of personal milestones / records that could be set. This will definitely help the film through cross promotion. Also helping the film's chances are the reviews, which while missing the overall positive level by the narrowest of margins, are still strong enough to suggest good word of mouth. Look for $15 million opening weekend, and better than average legs thanks to a competitive baseball season.

The last new movie opening this weekend is Wimbledon, which opens in just north of 2000 theatres. Given its pedigree, the filmmakers are probably aiming for a Love Actually like release, but I don't think it will get there. The cast isn't as well known, the reviews are a little bit weaker, but it is opening in many more theatres. It will open better with $10 million, but it won't have the same stamina.

It is inevitable that Resident Evil: Apocalypse will drop big at the box office, the real question is how big. A 60% drop-off would leave about $9 million this weekend. And chances are it will fall a little bit faster than that landing at closer to $8 million than $9 million.

Cellular should beat the odds when it comes to massive second week drop-offs. But while it will avoid having its box office cut in have, it will come close with just under $6 million.

Our final movie opening wide is National Lampoon's Gold Diggers. Of course calling 899 theatres wide is a bit of a stretch, and after looking at the reviews perhaps calling this a movie is also a bit of a stretch. It only needs to earn a per theatre average of $2000 to make it into the top ten, but I don't think it will manage to do it. I think National Lampoon's Gold Diggers will go down as this year's Marci X.

Two last notes:

Even with seeing the biggest week to week drop-off in its run so far, Napoleon Dynamite should hit the top ten again. This has as much to do with the weakness in the other movies as it does with the quality of this film.

None of the new movies interest you? Then perhaps you can check out the Shaun of the Dead preview tonight, which is happening in a little over 100 theatres.

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Filed under: Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Napoleon Dynamite, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Cellular, Mr. 3000, Wimbledon, Shaun of the Dead, National Lampoon's Gold Diggers