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Theatre Owners want the Rings to Return

December 20th, 2004

This weekend was the first year anniversary of the last of the Lord of the Rings movies, and the box office really missed its impact. The weekend was almost exactly flat with last weekend, but down 24.6% from last year. However, if you discount the top movie for each, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events this year and Return of the King for last year, then 2004 is up by more than 11%. The year-to-date comparisons have 2004 up by a mere 1.4% at $8.66 billion.

It wasn't a disaster for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it certainly didn't make the fortune predicted. $30.1 million isn't a terrible start but with reviews that are good but not great, there's a good shot that the film will not show a profit domestically.

As expected, Ocean's Twelve dropped to just $18.1 million during its sophomore stint, a nearly 54% drop. Compare that to the original, which only dropped 42% and it's clear this film won't have the same legs. That was expected, but the speed of the descent is a little alarming.

Something was lost in translation with Spanglish as it could only manage $8.8 million at the box office, well short of expectations. With mixed reviews and a per theatre average that too low to maintain its theatre count, it won't even have the legs of the average December release.

The only film not to disappoint this week was The Polar Express, which only missed expectations by a rounding error at $8.4 million. The film will still finish short of its production budget and will not make a profit even after international receipts are taken into account. However, this time next year, when it has its home market debut, that will change. And if not then, it will be this time the year after when it hits network TV.

If Blade: Trinity was staked last weekend, this weekend it was staked, decapitated and buried on consecrated ground. It's 57.6% drop was the worst in the Top Ten and landed it at just $6.8 million for a $35.6 million running total.

Flight of the Phoenix crashed and burned this weekend with just $5.0 million, only good enough for 8th place. The reviews are partially to blame, but the studio really dropped the ball on this one by moving the film up 5 days with such short notice. While it never really had a shot at becoming a major hit, it has become one of many remakes to bomb at the box office this year.

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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