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The Matrix Boogaloo

November 11th, 2003

Five of six predictions made on Friday were beaten at the box office, (albeit mostly by very slim margins) but the one movie that failed to live up to predictions did so by such a large margin that it wiped out the gains of all the other movies. Even with The Matrix Revolutions under-performing, we still saw a huge increase from last weekend (up nearly 50%) but a much smaller increase from last year (up just 6%, roughly the average increase in ticket prices.)

Even lowered expectations after Wednesday's and Thursday's weak performance were too high as The Matrix Revolutions failed to crack the $50 million milestone for its opening weekend. The $48.5 million was just above Scary Movie 3's opening two weeks ago. Its three day weekend was barely more than half what The Matrix Reloaded made during its three day opening weekend, and The Matrix Revolutions earned almost 40% less during its first five days than The Matrix Reloaded earned in the first 4 days. It is important to keep in mind that this is still a good opening weekend, it's just not the massive hit most people were assuming it would be. But why didn't The Matrix Revolutions live up to expectations? It was mostly do to great expectations, when the film didn't break any new ground it was attacked. This led to very poor reviews and bad word of mouth. How well will it do for the rest of its run? It's a little too early to know for sure, but it will still be one of the biggest movies of the year. It will just be closer to X-Men 2 than Finding Nemo. And The Matrix Trilogy will go down in history as one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.

Elf could be the real story of the weekend. Costing just a fraction of The Matrix Revolutions, Elf earned $31.1 million for its opening weekend. Thus ensuring Christmas movies will open earlier and earlier each year till we're surrounded by the holiday all year long. Moving on … Elf's family friendly nature and excellent reviews should bode well for this movie's legs and it should top last year's early Christmas entry, The Santa Clause 2.

Brother Bear earned slightly more than prediction with $18.5 million, off just 4% from last weekend. However, it did have an extra day to earn that $18.5 million as it opened wide last weekend on Saturday, not Friday. Comparing this Saturday and Sunday to last Saturday and Sunday and we see a roughly 25% drop. Still good, but not spectacular given its target audience.

After earning $48 million during its opening weekend, Scary Movie 3 has struggled to reach the $100 million milestone. If it fails, it will be the only movie to open with $40 million or more that has failed to reach that mark. Fortunately for all those involved, it held up better during its third weekend than it did the previous weekend. $10.8 million is still a 46% drop, but it does all but guarantee $100 million at the box office. If not by next weekend, then it will earn it by the weekend after next.

Radio continues to show strong legs with $7.2 million. However, even with strong legs its total box office of $36 million is just above its production budget. Add in P&A and the theatres' cut and Sony will have to wait for strong home market sales before they see a profit.

Love Actually has sleeper hit written all over it. After a successful preview, it opened this weekend with $6.9 million, a bit higher than Sunday's Studio estimates. All this was done in fewer than 600 theatres to give the film a per screen average of just shy of $12,000. Love Actually should climb into the top five next week when its theatre count doubles. And the overall positive reviews should help it maintain its box office as we head into the holiday season.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl earned just over $600 thousand to surpass Star Wars: Attack of the Clones on the All-Time domestic charts.

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Filed under: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Matrix Reloaded, Elf, The Matrix Revolutions, Scary Movie 3, Brother Bear, Love Actually, Radio