Two weekends of powerhouse opening weekend give way to more pedestrian expectations, with a single romantic comedy adding to the slate of wide release films.
Weekend Forecast for June 2-4, 2006
By Reagen Sulewski
June 2, 2006
In a scenario so unlikely it seems like it was drawn up by a publicist, Jennifer Aniston, protagonist of one of last year's most public Hollywood breakups, has an answer film for last year's Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the film that was ultimately responsible for ending her marriage. Appropriately enough, it's called The Break-Up, and co-stars Vince Vaughn, who, in a parallel we're meant to find in no way suspicious, she started a relationship with while on the set.
The movie covers a couple, played by Aniston and Vaughn, who are forced to cohabitate after a particularly nasty break-up, just like some convoluted Jack Lemmon or Shirley MacLaine comedy in the 1960s. The premise is ripe for a little updating, and with Vince Vaughn (who coincidentally (?) was in Mr. & Mrs. Smith) back in his role as The Guy's Guy, it's a good bet to be a romantic comedy with cross-gender appeal.
In fact, a lot is riding on the Everyguy and Everygirl appeal of the two, with a clever set of ads covering the petty bickering and jealousy between the couple (one can't help but wonder if a campaign asking people to choose a side might not have been a dynamite angle to take). Beyond this, however, a Gigli-esque overexposure might be developing. Reviews are threatening to make that happen, bashing the film for being pointless and not as funny as promised. It really might be asking a lot of people to have them spend an hour and a half watching awkward emotional fighting. That probably won't kick in until it's time to consider the legs of the film, and a decent ad campaign should give it at least a fighting chance. Watch for it to earn about $26 million this weekend.
With that the only new film of the weekend, that leaves the door open for X-Men: The Last Stand to retain top spot on the weekend. Among the achievements in its debut were the fourth highest three-day weekend total in history, the second biggest day in history, and the highest ever Memorial Day Weekend total. It's a ridiculous success by any measure, though this third installment of the super-hero series has, uh, storm clouds on the horizon in regards to its future prospects. Reaction to the film's plot and quality was decidedly worse than to the first two X-Men films, which both featured over 50% drops in their second weekends despite their favorable reception. Factoring in the inflated first day and weekend traffic, this weekend's drop could be momentous. A drop to around $45 million seems in order, though this will still bring it very close to the $200 million mark.
Even as one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer, The Da Vinci Code was not immune to blockbuster-itis, falling over 50% from its opening weekend total in a comparable period. It's especially galling considering the holiday crowds, and the star power of Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard. This can't-miss adaptation will now have a fight on its hands to break the $200 million mark, though that's a battle most studios would take. It should bring in another $16 million this weekend.
One film did manage to buck the trend and show some legs, namely DreamWorks' Over the Hedge. It dropped a mere 30% (a virtual Titanic performance these days) and nearly passed The Da Vinci Code in the standings, despite being doubled in the previous weekend by it. The strongest family offering, Over The Hedge has one more weekend to establish itself before Pixar's Cars comes along. In this year of diminishing returns for animated films, the $90 million it's earned to date stands as a minor victory. Look for it to earn another $18 million this weekend, holding on to third place in the overall standings.
Things start to get ugly after this. Mission: Impossible III will take fifth spot with a meager $4 million, a figure that's been good for as low as ninth in recent months. Poseidon and RV will duke it out for sixth spot at around $3 million on the weekend. Two films made the top ten (for three days) with under $1 million, with at least one more almost guaranteed for this frame. The summer movie season has been incredibly top heavy to date, with little end to this trend in sight.