Friday Box Office Analysis

By Reagen Sulewski

August 26, 2006

Is that guy sniffing Mark Wahlberg's butt?

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The final weekend of August showed its typical unremarkable box office, but one film managed to stand out above the crowd.


The Mark Wahlberg football drama opened up to a first day total of $5.4 million, putting it solidly in first place with more than double the take of its nearest competitor. A solid tie-in with the upcoming NFL football season plus a strong cross-over audience of both males and females propelled this to the top spot. This is below average for some of Mark Wahlberg's recent outings, but not significantly so. A weekend multiplier of about 2.95 should give it a weekend total of about $16 million.


After the disappointing flop of Club Dread, the Broken Lizard boys return to form with Beerfest, which had an opening day of $2.6 million. Although this isn't a figure that will set the world on fire, their films tend to be cheap, and this is approximately double the first day of Club Dread and about 40% higher than the first day of Super Troopers. As well, the possible second place finish on the weekend is a huge improvement for one of their films, which have never placed higher than ninth in the weekend rankings. Weekend figures should be in the low $7 millions.


The long delayed Idlewild, featuring the hip-hop superstars Outkast in a prohibition-era musical, opened to fifth place Friday with $2.1 million and the highest per-screen average of the top ten. Though Universal had a tough time selling this film, it was obviously able to strike a chord with viewers who enjoy stylish productions. These films continue to be a good bet with low budgets and in limited release, as long as studios don't overdo a good thing and glut the marketplace. Look for a weekend figure of about $6.1 million.


How To Eat Fried Worms

The fourth new opener of the weekend, Walden Media's latest children's production, failed to place in the top ten. This looks to have a similar performance to this May's Hoot, also from that production company, which earned under $4 million for the weekend, though in this case, the scaled back distribution of about 1,800 venues will hurt less than Hoot's 3,000.

Notable Holdovers

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby maintains its solid late-summer dominance with a $2.6 million Friday. It will battle with Beerfest for second spot at the box office, with a triumph giving it a fourth straight weekend in the top two. The Will Ferrell comedy should come in with around $8 million for the weekend.

Little Miss Sunshine's second straight expansion weekend was successful, with a doubling of its venue counts resulting in about a 30% increase in box office, with $2.02 million. This indie/Sundance sensation is continuing to gain steam, and should remain a box office force through the fall. With strong internal weekend numbers, it should turn this number into about a $7 million total for this frame.

Accepted fell a modest 43%, relatively impressive for a college comedy, to $2.1 million. The Justin Long helmed comedy is probably headed for a lifetime of strong DVD sales to campus dorms. For this weekend, it should add another $6 million or so to its total box office.

Finally, Snakes on a Plane proved to be a one-weekend wonder, to the surprise of seven. The Internet-buzz film and catch-phrase spawning grounds dropped an impressive 72% from its first Friday, earning just $1.8 million. Word-of-mouth from those that did go out and venture to it was not enough to help it, and it should start shedding screens like so much discarded snake skin starting next weekend. Its second weekend should come in with about $5.5 million.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 Invicible 16.1
2 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby 8.2
3 Beerfest 7.4
4 Little Miss Sunshine 7.4
5 Accepted 6.3
6 Idlewild 6.1
7 Step Up 6.0
8 World Trade Center 5.5
9 Snakes on a Plane 5.5
10 Barnyard 4.5



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