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Arnie’s Best Can’t Beat Predictions

July 7th, 2003

July 4th Weekend saw the release of 3 new movies, none of which were able to match analysts’ predictions. In fact, early numbers show the total box office was down approximately 15% from last year. Granted, there is a definite correlation between where in the week July 4th lands and how the box office performs. The last time July 4th landed on the Friday was in 1997. And this year’s box office was up nearly 10% in comparison, but the average ticket price is up over 30%.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines easy won the weekend, and beat Arnold Schwarzenegger’s previous best opening (Batman & Robin.) But even still, its weekend box office of $44.0 million and 5-day total of $72.3 million is seen as a disappointment, especially when the estimated $200 million production budget is taken into account. But there is good news on the horizon, reviews are very strong and that could help it in the long run. Also, internationally this movie should perform much better than it will domestically.

With a budget less than one quarter of T3, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde earned a little more than half its box office, $22.2 million, to finish in second place. This sequel has already taken in $39.6 million in just 5 days, however, poor reviews and sharper than expected drop-offs will most likely stop it from reaching the original’s final box office.

Dropping faster than even the most cynical analyst had predicted, Charlie’s Angels 2 could only manage $14.0 million and third place. Its drop of 62.8% would have been a record earlier in the year, but both The Hulk and 2 Fast 2 Furious have done worse. Not only is the original’s total of $125 million out of the question, $100 million is now a long shot.

In fourth place is our first, and only, good news in the top five. Finding Nemo pulled in $11.1 million to top The Matrix Reloaded to become the highest grossing movie of 2003. However, from now on milestones will be a little harder to come by and won’t be the weekly occurrence they’ve been in the past.

The Hulk’s third week performance was neatly in-line with predictions. $8.2 million, or just a 56% drop. It will be interesting to see how well this movie plays overseas and at the home market. But for now it could be considered the biggest disappointment of the summer.

Combining traditional cell animation with computer coloring and some computer animation has not been very successful. Both Titan A.E. and Treasure Planet failed to live up to expectations. And now you can add Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas to that list. It could only scrape together $6.9 million for the weekend and more than $10 million for its 5-day release, all on a budget estimated at $60 - $80 million.

Also of note, 28 Days Later performed admirably with $6.0 million. Total domestic box office is just over $20 million and could be enough to make a profit for the studio, (depending on their exact share of the box office, which is not known at this time.) It is just another example of how some of the most successful movies released this year were also some of the less expensive.

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Filed under: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Hulk, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, 28 Days Later…, Treasure Planet, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas