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The Prestige Conjures Up A Box Office Win

Weekend Wrap-Up for October 20-22, 2006

By John Hamann

October 22, 2006

Let's dance!

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The Grudge 2 got embarrassed this weekend. After opening last weekend with a disappointing $20.8 million open, The Grudge 2 fell on its face in its second weekend, pulling in only $7.7 million which equals a drop of 63%. Sure, it was shot on the cheap, costing Sony only $20 million to make, but this is now a franchise killer, with a current take of $31.4 million.

Seventh this weekend goes to Universal's Man of the Year, the political satire starring Robin Williams. As expected, the Barry Levinson helmed comedy got hammered against the adult competition this weekend, grossing $7.0 million and losing 43% of last weekend's audience. It still has a chance at $40 million, which put in the same area as Levinson's last politically-themed film, Wag the Dog, which earned $43 million.

Finishing eighth is Sony's Marie Antoinette, from esteemed director Sofia Coppola, and starring Kirsten Dunst. Released to only 859 venues, Marie Antoinette grossed an okay $5.3 million, giving it a healthy venue average of $6,170, which is better than Flags of our Fathers. This is Sofia Coppola's first film since 2003's Lost in Translation, which finished with about $45 million. Reviews were mixed for Antoinette, 63 of 118 fresh at RottenTomatoes. We will have to wait and see what Sony decides to do next weekend. Will they bottle it up and not spend any more money on it, or will they hope for word-of-mouth to kick in, spend some ad dollars and expand the venue count next weekend? You will have to wait and see.

After opening in second only three weekends ago, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning winds up in ninth this weekend with a gross of $3.9 million. After dropping 60% last weekend, it follows that up with a 48% plunge. Good riddance to bad garbage, this one now has bilked teenagers out of $36.0 million.



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Rounding out the top ten is the WWE film The Marine, which somehow manages to subvert expectations and live to see a second weekend on the charts. The Marine took in an additional $3.7 million this weekend, down 48% from its debut frame. This estimate seems somewhat dubious, and it's possible that it won't be a true top ten finisher when the actuals are released tomorrow. The John Cena joint has so far bilked his few fans out of $12.5 million.

A pleasant story comes with our number 12 movie. The Nightmare Before Christmas, this time in IMAX 3-D, grossed $3.3 million from only 168 venues. It had the best venue average in the top ten at $19,643. This is the third time Nightmare Before Christmas has been released. It originally came out over the same weekend in 1993, where it earned about $6 million. It then had its first re-release in 2000, which wasn't successful, earning the film a couple hundred thousand over about six weeks. Now the Nightmare is in 3-D, and the fanbase has sought it out over its opening frame. Nightmare Before Christmas has never lost its original fanbase, with my wife recently buying a handbag with its logo on it only last weekend. With Halloween approaching, expect another good weekend in the next frame.

Overall the news is good, good, good, at least compared to last year. In 2005, the box office was led by The Rock and Doom, which opened in top spot to $15.5 million. Top ten totals for that frame came in at a woeful $66 million, making it easy for this year to top last year. In 2004, things were better with the top ten earning $86 million. The 2006 top ten is much like 2004, as the top ten films earned $82.0 million. Next weekend overall business should still be brisk, as Saw III arrives in time for Halloween.


Top Ten for Weekend of October 20-22, 2006
Rank
Film
Number
of Sites
Percentage Drop from Last Week
Estimated
Gross ($)
Cumulative
Gross ($)
1 The Prestige 2,281 New 14.8 14.8
2 The Departed 3,005 28% 13.7 77.1
3 Flags of Our Fathers 1,876 New 10.2 10.2
4 Open Season 3,379 28% 8.0 69.6
5 Flicka 2,877 New 7.7 7.7
5 The Grudge 2 3,214 63% 7.7 31.4
7 Man of the Year 2,522 43% 7.0 22.5
8 Marie Antoinette 859 New 5.3 5.3
9 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning 2,569 New 3.9 36.0
10 The Marine 2,545 48% 3.7 12.5

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