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Can Shark Stay on Top?

October 8th, 2004

A trio of new films open wide this week, but none look likely to de-thrown Shark Tale as the weekend champ. Overall there should be a small drop at the box office, whether the drop will be large enough to push the weekend box office below 2003 level is up in the air.

A lot of films have opened big this year with 11 film making $40 million or more during their opening weekend with two others just missing that feat. And of the 12 previous films the average second weekend drop has been nearly 52%. That's strike one against Shark Tale. Poor reviews are strike two. However, less than impressive competition should help the film avoid the dreaded 50% second weekend drop-off, but it will do so by the narrowest of margins. Look for $24 million this weekend and Shark Tale 2 coming to a theatre near you spring 2006.

Despite the popularity of Football, Football films are a surprisingly hard sell. If someone really doesn't like football, they're not going to see a football film regardless of how good it is. (The same is true for every sport film.) So even with amazing reviews it is doubtful that Friday Night Lights will have a break out performance. It should play well in the South and Mid-West where high school football has clearly moved beyond sport and into the realm of the cult. On the other hand, there's enough real football (and Baseball playoffs) that the competition could hurt the film's chances. The film should have a solid second place finish with $17 million and reasonable legs at the box office.

I was expecting good things from Taxi, the latest from Queen Latifah. However, if the reviews and Wednesday's results are any indication, this film is going to be roadkill. Granted, the film was pushed up two days just last week, late last week, so late last week that most people probably didn't know if was pushed up. But even if you treat that number as a midweek number and not a debut, adjust for the massive increase in theatre count tonight, I don't think the film can make much more than $13 million over the weekend. And if it failed to break $10 million I won't be entirely shocked.

It's a pretty safe bet that Ladder 49 will also see its weekend take cut almost in half. A second weekend take of $12 million isn't bad, but it isn't great either.

The latest Hilary Duff vehicle, Raise Your Voice is the final new release this week. Right now industry tracking is predicting the film will take in $8 million over the weekend, but these things are not always accurate and I think this is one of those occasions. If the prediction did come true, it would be a big drop from her previous film's debut without any real reason. The reviews for Raise Your Voice are better than those for A Cinderella Story. The competition for the Tween market is weaker. Her latest album debuted this week in second place on the Billboard 200, so she's still very popular with her target audience. So despite tracking numbers, I'm going with an $11 million opening, which is just shy of the film's production budget.

Two film have sneak peaks this week:

Team America: World Police joins forces with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow for a Saturday first look.

And Shall We Dance? is having yet another sneak peak this Sunday in nearly 1000 theatres. This is the third or fourth sneak peak for the film; quite frankly, I've lost count.

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Filed under: Shark Tale, Ladder 49, Friday Night Lights, Shall We Dance?, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Taxi, Team America: World Police, Raise Your Voice