Weekend Forecast for January 18-20, 2002

By Walid Habboub

Records will surely be broken this weekend when Snow Dogs is unleashed upon the public. This sure fire Disney hit will...excuse my moment of madness. Records will indeed fall this weekend but it will be at the hands of Sony's Black Hawk Down, a gritty, realistic war film based on true-life events. Directed by Ridley Scott and woven by blockbuster producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Black Hawk Down touches down into 3,101 theatres on Friday following an incredibly successful limited run.

Hawk's box office total to date is roughly $2 million with a maximum number of theatres at a paltry 16 venues. Last weekend alone, as the film expanded from four to 16 theatres, Hawk grossed an outstanding $748,000 for a mammoth $46,779 per screen average. Building on the momentum of tremendous critical acclaim as well as great word of mouth, Hawk will look to touch a part of America that has been left wounded by the tragic events of 2001. This story, which is based on true-life events, will bring people in by the hordes.

It is safe to say that this film will open over $30 million and that it would do so even without the aid of having its first weekend be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. The fact that it does open when it does will only add to its potential. MLK weekends have been lucrative to say the least as they serve as a final hoorah before the doldrums of the approaching winter film season. Films have performed increasingly well over the past few years.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE movie like '%Save the Last dance%' OR movie like '%Varsity Blues%' OR movie like '%NExt Friday%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Thin Red Line%' OR movie like '%Double Take%' OR movie like '%Finding Forrester%' OR movie like '%Thirteen Days%'" sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Hurricane, The%' OR movie like '%Girl, Interrupted%' OR movie like '%Crouching Tiger%'" sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%At First Sight%' OR movie like '%Supernova%' OR movie like '%Virus%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Anti-Trust%' OR movie like 'In Dreams' OR movie like '%State and Main%' ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Films from the past three Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekends" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

The real question I'm pondering is whether it can open to over $40 million. That number is certainly attainable over four days. Past performances have proven that the MLK weekend has tremendous potential and this is the first true blockbuster-type film to ever be released on this weekend. All the ingredients are there for a three-day total in excess of $35 million and a four-day take of over $40 million..

Disney is indeed releasing Snow Dogs and the film should live up to the second half of its name. What looks to be the silliest movie to come around since Bubble Boy, coincedentally another Disney film, slides into 2,302 theatres (with apologies to a certain SNL regular October release from this past year in overlooking it for the silliness grade, but this writer has vowed to never ever mention those two words in type again no matter how much his editor twists his arm; otherwise, it would have been at the top of said list). Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in what looks like a mess that even kids are having a hard time buying.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE movie like '%Bubble Boy%' OR movie like '%Tigger Movie%' OR movie like '%Recess%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Max Keeble%' ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Comparison Films for Snow Dogs" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

Sunbathing Huskies and a screaming Cuba Gooding combined for television ads that quite possibly lowered the IQ of viewers and yet, the film should see moderate business at the box office. Going back to the potential of the weekend, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this film grabs four-day box office north of $7 million. However, there is plenty of family entertainment out there to keep Snow Dogs from looking too interesting to parents and kids alike. Disney won't mind, as it has had its shares of low earners recently and the possible failure of this film surely will not break the studio's heart.

So this weekend most probably will be a historical one as Black Hawk Down will break, and probably hold for quite a while, the January record for biggest weekend opener. Ridley Scott will have another impressive hit on his hands and consequently, he should make a decision on his next film shortly after the giant numbers for Hawk are reported. Check in over the weekend as BOP tracks the numbers as they are released.



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