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The Drought is Over

September 12th, 2003

It's been four weeks since Open Range opened to positive reviews. At that was just one movie in an otherwise bad week. To find more than one movie opening wide to positive reviews you would have to go as far back as May 30th when Finding Nemo and The Italian Job were released. This week, all three wide releases are getting favorable reviews (and so are many limited releases, but more on that later.)

As for the actual box office predictions for the weekend, that's a little more confusing. During the past week four different movies finished first in the dailies.

The final installment in Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, has the widest opening this week and should finish first at the box office. The movie has a production budget more than four times the first two combined, but that's only $30 million (half what the average Hollywood movie costs.) Robert Rodriguez is a master of getting the most bang for his buck and a $20 million opening will be his reward. And with overall positive reviews it will easily have the legs to make a healthy profit for the studio.

From 1996 - 1997 Nicolas Cage had 3 $100 million dollar movies in a row, since then only one of his next 10 releases was able to cross that barrier. It's doubtful that Matchstick Men will be able to do that, but is should open to the tune of $13 million. And with it's reviews, which are overwhelmingly positive, should help him regain some his box office and critical clout lost in recent years.

The third wide release should open in third place. Cabin Fever, which opens in only a little more than 2000 theatres, should have similar box office results as 28 Days Later. Cabin Fever has a wider release, but weaker reviews and is opening at a weaker time of the year. An opening of $8 million and better legs than the genre usually allows will spell profit for the studio on this release.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl spent the mid-week in first or second place and looks to translate that into another top five finish this weekend. Another $4 million will take its domestic total past Home Alone and into 18th place on the all time chart.

In fifth place will be another Disney release with legs, Freaky Friday. With $3 million this weekend, it will be the 21st movie to make $100 million this year. However, unless Once Upon a Time in Mexico surprises it will be the last movie to do so till November when The Matrix Revolutions is released.

One movie you didn't see in the top five was Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. Despite finishing first last weekend, it had dropped to seventh by Tuesday and with three wide releases this week it's chances of sticking around the top five this week are minimal. And with even more movies opening next weekend, it should drop out of the top ten and that would tie a record.

There are also several limited releases opening this week: Lost in Translation, Dummy, Millennium Actress, Warrior of Light, So Close and all are getting positive reviews. Also, long time Per Theatre Average charter American Splendor expands into nearly 200 more theatres this weekend.
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Filed under: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Matrix Revolutions, Freaky Friday, The Italian Job, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, 28 Days Later…, Lost in Translation, Matchstick Men, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Cabin Fever, So Close