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A Hard Time Identifying This Week's Winner

April 25th, 2003

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The last weekend before the unofficial start of the summer season sees four movies opening wide, or at least sort of wide-ish.

Identity, which has been described as a mixture of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians and The Usual Suspects, is opening the widest at over 2,700 theaters. This comes as a bit of a surprise as early estimates put the theatre count at only 2,300. And the push for more theaters seems to be justified by the good reviews. So far Identity has been able to maintain the 60% needed for an overall fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. This could give it the edge in this week's race and allow it to open in first place.

The second widest opening is for The Real Cancun, with 2,261 theatres. The reviews are surprisingly good, but that doesn't mean they are actually good. 32% positive is still really bad, but it is much better than expected. However, with a small theater count and a advertising push that was sub-par outside MTV, don’t expect The Real Cancun to do that much business. Top five this week, out of the top ten two weeks later, and three months after that the DVD release will advertise, "Includes all the stuff too hot for the theatre."

Confidence is the next on the list of largest openings this week at less than 1,900 theatres. Originally scheduled to open in December for an Oscar bid, the movie was pushed all the way back until now. This is usually a bad sign, but the reviews have been excellent> Its nearly 80% Rotten Tomatoes score is head and shoulders above the rest of the wide releases. Without the theaters, it won't compete for first place, but a place in the top five and some strong legs could be in store.

The last movie to open wide, if you call it wide, is It Runs in the Family. It opens in only 1,207 theaters, which is two less than Chicago in its 18th week. This movie has been bounced around a few times, and unlike Confidence, the reviews confirm this is a bad sign. Its 28% is even lower than The Real Cancun, although it did receive significantly better reviews from the Cream of the Crop reviewers. Still, it might have trouble making the top ten.

Two notable holdovers, Anger Management and Holes, will battle Identity for first place. For Anger Management, expect another drop of 40% or more at the box office, on its way to a $100 million total this weekend. A smaller than expected drop will mean a third straight first place finish, a greater than expected drop could leave it in third place. Holes has held up surprisingly well mid-week, especially for a movie aimed at kids. Usually kids movies suffer mid-week then bounce back for a very low week-to-week drop. The strong mid-week performance could lead to Holes maintaining most of its first week box-office and stealing first place.

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Filed under: Chicago, Anger Management, Holes, Identity, Confidence, It Runs in the Family, The Real Cancun