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Number One for Volume 1

October 13th, 2003

It was a crowded weekend for new releases with four movies opening wide. New releases generally performed above expectations, but not by a large margin. The overall box office was up by 19% from last week but a mere 1.8% from last year. The year to year box office increase was much smaller that the increase in average ticket prices.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 had by far the best opening for a Quentin Tarantino movie at $22.1 million. By the end of the weekend, reviews were at the same level as Jackie Brown, and if its legs are the same it will get close to $100 million. If so, expect a re-release when Volume 2's release date nears to push it over that milestone.

As expected, School of Rock's box office bounced back after weak weekday numbers. In fact, it bounced back so well that it took second place with $15.5 million. That represents just a 21.1% drop, much better than fellow surprise hit Freaky Friday. But without the strong summer weekdays, School of Rock won't have the same shot at $100 million.

When I first predicted Good Boy! would open with $8 million it was only expected to open in 2500 theatres when in fact it opened in over 3200. So it is no surprise that the film beat expectations with $13.1 million. On the other hand, reviews dropped over the weekend finishing with just 47% positive.

Going the opposite direction was Intolerable Cruelty which failed to match expectations with just $12.5 million for its opening weekend. The George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones darkly romantic comedy did see an impressive improvement in its reviews with a final result of 80% positive. Still, it was the best opening for a Coen Brothers' movie and if it has the legs to match that pedigree, then the film will be profitable before the final box office is done.

Out of Time almost matched predictions with $8.6 million, a drop of 47%. Good for its genre, especially given how most movies have faired during their second weekend of release. But it is not good enough to help this movie become profitable before the home market.

The House of the Dead managed slightly more than predictions with $5.7 million. But given its genre and the fact that out of 13 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes not one was positive, don't expect it to earn more than $5.7 million for the rest of its run.

Lost in Translation slipped slightly faster than expected, but managed to stay in the top ten for one more week. Its $2.8 million raised its total to $18.1 million, impressive compared to its very humble production budget of $4 million. Focus Features should be happy even if no Oscar nominations are in the future.

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Filed under: Freaky Friday, School of Rock, Kill Bill: Volume 1, Lost in Translation, Out of Time, Good Boy!, Intolerable Cruelty, The House of the Dead