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Dog Days of Summer Opens with Four Duds

August 15th, 2003

There are four new movies opening wide this week, and with such a crowded market at least two will bomb. And considering the dubious quality of the release, they could all fail to make much of an impact. With so many new openings I'm going to profile them first and then deal with the rest of the top five after.

Freddy vs. Jason - Ten years too late. The Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises are some of the longest lasting with a combines 17 films between them. But despite this they have less than $450 million domestic box office. That's less than Austin Powers has made in just 3 movies. Predictions for this movie go as high as $30 million, but that's more 10 of the previous films earned in their entire run. And the people who grew up with the franchises have grown up themselves and are unlikely to see another slasher movie. Reviews are about what you would expect, 33% overall and about half that for the cream of the crop. Look for about $15 million this weekend and about $35 million overall.

Uptown Girls - MGM misses again. This is the eighth movie released by MGM/UA this year, and so far only one has beaten expectations (Agent Cody Banks) and one other will be profitable (Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde.) Normally I'd give this movie an extra boost given it's target audience, but this year there has been several movies aimed at similar audiences from What a Girl Wants to The Lizzie McGuire Movie to the more recent How to Deal and Freaky Friday. Unfortunately for MGM, reviews are closer to How to Deal than Freaky Friday. And so will the box office. $10 million this week, but with better legs it could top Freddy vs. Jason's $35 million.

Open Range - The Best reviewed wide release of the week. In fact, its score of 77% is higher than the other three movies combined. Too bad it is also the smallest release of the four opening in just over 2000 theatres. Recently Kevin Costner movies haven't performed well at the box office, and chances are good reviews won't save this one. $8 million opening weekend and good word of mouth will be its only hope.

Grind - Worse reviews that Gigli? As I'm writing this Grind is currently sitting at only 8% positive, which's the same score as Gigli. However, even Gigli had one cream of the crop reviewer give it a positive review, the same can't be said for Grind. The only thing going for this movie is it is relatively unknown, so at least there's no negative buzz surrounding it. $5 million opening weekend before dropping out of theatres by September.

If I lived in Cleveland I'd be checking out American Splendor this weekend. Since I don't I'll see if any of the local theatres are playing Passionada. If not, well, I've got a pretty good DVD collection I could dip into.

Now on to the holdovers. Repeating at top spot will be S.W.A.T., not due to its quality, just because there's so little competition this week. It will stop roughly 55%, but that still leaves $16 million, good enough for first place.

Freaky Friday will drop one spot to land in third. A weekend total of $14 million will raise its run to nearly $60 million. More than it cost to make and advertise.

Making one more appearance in the top 5 will be Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. It's just $100,000 from beating Bruce Almighty for third place this year. It is starting to slow down and the race for 2nd place is becoming more interesting. $9 million this weekend will leave it just short of the $250 million mark.

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Filed under: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Bruce Almighty, S.W.A.T., Freaky Friday, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Open Range, Agent Cody Banks, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Uptown Girls, What a Girl Wants, How to Deal, Grind