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Incredibles Still Super

November 15th, 2004

A busy weekend resulted in four new films in the top five, but that didn't help the overall box office, which was only up 0.1% from last weekend. The comparison with last year is a lot better with a 8.7% improvement. This was the first serious improvement on the yearly comparison in over a month. Year-to-date 2004's box office now sits at $7.841 billion, just 2.2% ahead of 2003's box office at this point. Unless December shows a marked improvement, 2004 will be the second year in a row with drops in total admissions.

Not only was The Incredibles able to hold onto top spot, it beat expectations with an amazing $50.3 million. Its 28.7% second weekend drop-off was the best for any film topping $70 million for its opening weekend. Comparing the film to other Pixar films, the drop off was not quite as good as Monsters, Inc. but much better than Finding Nemo. Comparing the upcoming competition to what those films faced, and The Incredibles should finish with a box office closer to the latter's than the former's and should become the fifth film to break $200 million this year before finishing north of $300 million.

Warner Bros. must be worried about Polar Express. The film was budgeted at $150 million, with overruns it cost $165 million to $170 million and according to Variety the P&A budget was a mind boggling $125 million. The film will need to bring in $500 million in box office, home sales, etc. before it sees a profit. So for the film to open with merely $23.3 million over the weekend and $30.7 million since Wednesday has to bee seen as a disappointment. And with reviews that were equally disappointing, the film can't expect the legs needed to legs needed to save the picture from being a financial liability.

After the Sunset also failed to live up to expectations, albeit by a much smaller margin. The film managed just $11.1 million over the weekend, and with the worst reviews in the top ten and direct competition next weekend in the form of National Treasure it is unlikely to have much in the way of legs.

Seed of Chucky beat expectations by a mere rounding error at $8.8 million and finished a place higher in the top five. The rest of the outlook is not particularly rosy as poor reviews, sequelitis and the horror genre will lead to very short legs.

Rounding out the top five is Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason with $8.7 million in just 530 theatres. The release strategy for this film was simple, release it in several hundred theatres to build up word-of-mouth for next weekend's wide release. And there's going to be some serious word of mouth, but not the kind the studio wants. Reviews were bad and the internal multiplier was weak, two very bad signs for this film's future.

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Filed under: The Incredibles, The Polar Express, Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason, Seed of Chucky, After the Sunset