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Weekend Forecast

Sex and the Weekend Box Office

By David Mumpower

May 30, 2008

Apparently, women like girls nights out. Who knew?

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Also, the primary difference between this title and tentpole releases is that it by definition does not appeal to all four quadrants of the movie customer base. Then again, the same was true of 300, a film primarily for dudes, and it still opened to $70.9 million. Of course, for my money, an even better comparison is The Passion of the Christ, a film that is diametrically opposed from Sex and the City philosophically. In terms of audience demographics, however, the one thing the titles have in common is that they are reaching out to customers who would otherwise not be going to see a movie this year. Since 2004, movie execs have been going nuts trying to duplicate the Mel Gibson title's feat of luring in consumers who otherwise eschew the Cineplex. Due to the massive group peer pressure being exhibited by hoards of women nationwide, Sex and the City is accomplishing just this feat.

A month ago, I would have been considered one of the biggest proponents of Sex and the City. In point of fact, I tried to trick a couple of folks into betting me whether it would open to $40+ million. At the time, a lot of people felt I was crazy-high on the film. In the interim, much has changed. I have now moved to the low end of expectations for the title, believing that at least some of its hype has been spun out of control. Exhibited in 3,285 venues and showing ultra-wide with as many as four prints in larger Cineplexes, Sex and the City is poised to earn a spectacular $52.3 million this weekend. A larger total would by no means surprise me; a lesser opening would, though. Also, and perhaps even more impressively, Sex and the City appears likely to make the fourth Indiana Jones title a one-and-done box office champion.




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There is also a horror film released this weekend. It is called The Strangers. Given the generic title, the generic nature of these exchangeable horror releases, and the lack of anyone more famous than Liv Tyler in the production, it barely merits discussion. I project this to make an $8 million opening weekend and for it to become a good bar trivia question years from now when people what the studio gods sacrificed in tribute to Sex and the City on the weekend of its release.

In terms of returning titles, the only one up for discussion is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Currently standing at an impressive $165.6 million, Harrison Ford's last box office hurrah has been closely following in the footsteps of last year's big Memorial Day Release, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. That title had $167.2 million at the same point in time on its way to a second weekend decline of 61.5% to $44.2 million. I am of the opinion that Indy holds up a bit better since it has better word-of-mouth and is more likely to draw in people who would otherwise be unlikely to head out to the theater. I expect a total of $47.5 million for Indy, which is a great second weekend but it won't be enough to edge out Sex and the City.


Forecast: Weekend of May 30 - June 1, 2008
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Sex and the City 3,285 New 52.3
2 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 4,264 +4 47.5
3 Iron Man 3,650 -265 10.8
4 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian 3,801 -128 10.3
5 The Strangers 2,467 New 8.0
6 What Happens in Vegas 3,086 -101 5.6
7 Made of Honor 1,905 -488 1.8
8 Speed Racer 2,070 -1,402 1.7
9 Baby Mama 1,772 -380 1.6
10 Forgetting Sarah Marshall 760 -312 0.9

Continued:       1       2

     


 
 

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