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Halloween Scares Studios

November 4th, 2003

Halloween is traditionally a bad night for the box office. Younger kids are out trick or treating, and most parents are either out there with their kids or handing out candies at home. So when Halloween comes on a Friday you know the box office is going to be hurt. This year, most of the releases were scaled back from the much wider released that were previously planned. This hurt the box office to the tune of 21.7% from last week and 14.4% from last year.

By Thursday, Scary Movie 3 had lost nearly 90% of its opening night box office. This could mean one of two things, its audience is skewed very young and they couldn't go to the movies on a school night, or it's a really bad movie. After only taking in $20.0 million for its second weekend, a drop of 58.4%, the latter seems more likely. It did beat Scary Movie 2's box office, but topping the first’s will be all but impossible.

Coming in a very close second was Brother Bear with $19.4 million. Not opening on Halloween seemed to be a good strategy, but the two-day box office will still be seen as a disappointment to Disney. It will need better legs than Finding Nemo just to hit $100 million, and is no where close to Disney's animated fair of the past. And that holds true on the critical side as well; with only 39% positive, reviews are well below expectations.

If one movie benefited from Halloween it was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Its target audience was too old to trick or treat and was too young to have kids that wanted to trick or treat. It took in another $10.8 million to raise its total box office to over $66 million. That's more than double the cost to make and advertise the movie.

Radio made more at the box office than predicted, $9.6 million. However, it wasn't able to hang onto third place like I thought.

Fifth place was just as tight as I thought it would be with Runaway Jury taking it $6.5 million to $6.2 million over Mystic River. The total box office for the two films are even closer with Mystic River holding a slight lead $33.5 million to $33.3 million.

In The Cut's performance was right in line with predictions. It managed only $2.1 million and just missed a spot in the top ten. With very poor reviews, look for this one to disappear from theatres quickly before having and unrated DVD released.

The Human Stain would have had the best per theatre average in the top 10, if it had made it in the top ten. However, it had to settle for $1.0 million and 15th place. Reviews are a little better than In the Cut, but not enough to suggest a much wider release is in the works.

The release of Alien: The Director’s Cut the biggest disappointment of the weekend. It was probably hurt by the multiple releases that are already on DVD, or the fact that a 9-DVD box set will be released in December. Whatever it was, while the critics are almost unanimous, the director's cut is excellent, the re-release was a bust earning only $1.0 million.

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Filed under: Scary Movie 3, Mystic River, Brother Bear, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Radio, Runaway Jury, The Human Stain, In the Cut