Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
October 23, 2004

Don't...make...eye contact...with Bill Paxton, er, Pullman.

It's that spooky time of year when movies with even the mildest of scares have a great chance of breaking out at the box office. Would Sarah Michelle Gellar be able to find such success in a remake of a Japanese horror film?

The Grudge

The Grudge, a film that was remade by its own director, Takashi Shimizu, was indeed able to find success during the Halloween season. The PG-13 rated scare-fest took in an impressive $15.2 million on Friday, well ahead of what the majority of box office analysts were predicting for the weekend. With a similar creepy tone and style to another Japanese remake of a couple of years ago, The Ring, we're likely to see very similar box office behavior. The Ring scored a 3.1 Friday-to-Sunday multiplier; however, I have to knock The Grudge down just a couple of notches due to the fact that its word-of-mouth is nowhere near as stellar as that of the Naomi Watts film. Additionally, the high Friday number is a pretty strong indication that the audience rushed to see it. Give The Grudge a 2.7 multiplier for the weekend and a three-day number of $41 million. Sony and Sam Raimi are going to be thrilled with this performance.

Surviving Christmas

All the way at the other end of the spectrum is the opening day of Surviving Christmas. The trailers and commercials for this film weren't fooling anyone. It's an awful-looking film, and since the shot of Tony Soprano hitting Ben Affleck over the head with a shovel is already featured, there's really no reason to attend this film. The proof is in the numbers; the film made $1.4 million yesterday. Since it started so low, it's probably going to hold up okay over the weekend, though of course that's probably not much consolation for DreamWorks. Surviving Christmas is looking at $4.3 million for the weekend and will almost certainly be held up as proof that Christmas-themed movies just don't work in October.

I Heart Huckabees

After some stellar weekends in limited release, Fox Searchlight put I Heart Huckabees into much wider release with 785 total venues. It performed decently with a $1 million take and should find itself a top ten spot by the time the weekend is through. Look for a three-day total of $3.2 million.

Notable Holdovers

As expected last weekend, Shall We Dance? is already leap-frogging Team America: World Police in the top ten. Shall We Dance? dropped a light 27% from its first Friday number as it found a total of $2.7 million yesterday. It's looking at a second weekend total of $8.8 million.

Team America: World Police had the expected precipitous drop. It fell 52% from last Friday and should settle in at around $6.1 million for the weekend.