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Not an Unfortunate Weekend for Moviegoers

December 17th, 2004

The look for this weekend is much different than it was at the beginning of the month as a few films had their release dates shuffled. That won't change what film will take first place, but the rest of the top five might be affected.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events should go down as the biggest film of the month, but perhaps not as big as first predicted. The reason for this is simple, the reviews are much weaker than expected; I was expecting a rating between 80% and 90% positive, but it could only manage 64%. This probably won't affect its opening weekend too much, but it might hurt its legs. Look for a box office roughly $47 million and enough legs to get to $200 million thanks to the holiday season.

Dropping a spot to second place will be Ocean's Twelve, but how far will it fall. Weekday numbers have not been strong and that could cost the film this weekend with a greater than 50% drop not out of the question. However, it should avoid that fate, barely, landing at $20 million. Depending on how well it holds up during holidays and internationally, the film should easily make a profit for the studio, but making Ocean's Thirteen would be a mistake.

Next on the list is Spanglish, the latest from award winning director, James L. Brooks. This film is looking for a box office performance similar to Something's Gotta Give, but with reviews that are merely mixed that's unlikely to happen. It's opening will be weaker at just $12 million, and its legs won't be nearly as strong.

The late new wide release is Flight of the Phoenix, which I had as moderate hopes for at the beginning of the month. But that was before it got bounced up five days and went head to head against the biggest film of the month. Also hurting its changes are its reviews, which are only half as good as expectations. The former will hamper its opening leaving it with $10 million and the latter will shorten its legs leaving it with just $35 million at the box office.

There will be a virtual tie for the final spot in the top five between two very different movies: Balde: Trinity and The Polar Express. While Balde: Trinity opened poorly last weekend the Wednesday opening should mitigate its second weekend drop-off somewhat, but it will still drop nearly 50% to $9 million. The Polar Express, on the other hand, has seen its mid-week numbers grow during the past two weeks. This will result in a negligible drop at the box office this weekend and the film should also earn $9 million. Also worth noting, the film is really climbing the Non-Number 1 charts.

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Filed under: The Polar Express, Ocean's Twelve, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Blade: Trinity, Spanglish, Flight of the Phoenix