Friday Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower & Kim Hollis
April 10, 2004

Cartman's prayers are answered this weekend.

Good Friday turned out to be an ironic term at the box office yesterday, as all the newly released films (and most of the old ones) failed to make any kind of impact. Five movies entered the marketplace but astonishingly, none of them appears likely to break the $10 million barrier over the Easter weekend. The only person smiling in Hollywood at the moment is Mel Gibson. Again.

The Alamo

We should probably create some sort of wordplay here about how people forgot the Alamo, but this movie isn’t even a $10 million opener. Why put forth the effort? Disney’s rough streak continues, as the near-$100 million production opened to an atrocious $3.4 million. As if that number isn’t disappointing enough on its own, yesterday was a holiday for some people, making The Alamo’s Friday numbers inflated artificially. Like the rest of the top ten (with one notable exception), the John Lee Hancock siege epic will see a significantly lower-than-normal Friday-to-Sunday multiplier. The result will probably be a studio estimate that falls around $9 million.

Johnson Family Vacation

The failures of other more high-profile releases allowed Cedric the Entertainer’s Johnson Family Vacation to overcome a disappointing Wednesday debut of $1.2 million. Even so, the film’s box office is nothing to write home about. Its $3.2 million total on Friday indicates a likely estimate of $8 million when the Easter totals come in.

Ella Enchanted

Arguably the closest thing to box office success on Friday is Ella Enchanted’s $2.8 million on only 1,931 screens. Anne Hathaway’s follow up to The Princess Diaries looks to be sitting at $6.5 million after its first weekend.

The Whole Ten Yards

The least desired sequel since Tomb Raider 2 was reviled by critics to a degree normally reserved for Madonna flicks, and movie audiences largely agreed. The $2.7 million Friday total indicates a weekend performance of approximately $6.5 million, which would be a drop of 55% from the original film’s $14.3 million opening three-day take. Remember back when sequels seemed like guaranteed box office revenue? Doesn’t that seem like forever ago?

The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door failed to lure viewers out of their own homes. Its box office take of $2.7 million should point to a weekend performance of $5.8 million, a quick fade from theater screens and eventual cult classic status.

Notable Holdovers
As previously referenced, the real winner this weekend is Mel Gibson, whose The Passion of the Christ shoots up 240% from its previous Friday take. There had been considerable debate regarding whether the religious holiday would significantly impact the film’s box office. We wryly note that it might have done just that. The Passion’s weekend box office is the trickiest to extrapolate. There will obviously be noteworthy box office on Easter Sunday, as the film seems likely to see a major uptick from Friday and Saturday receipts. Predicting how much of a boost it will have is nothing short of a wild guess, so we’ll estimate a $21 million weekend with the caveat that any number you pull out of a hat has as much likelihood of being correct.

Check back tomorrow as John Hamann looks at the weekend estimates.