By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
A Surprise, A Car Wreck & A Horse Of Two Stripes
For the second straight weekend, there is a pleasant surprise (at least for the distributor) at the top of the box office charts. This weekend, it’s Paramount’s Coach Carter, which looks to pass the $20 million mark, just as White Noise did last weekend. It may even challenge Save The Last Dance’s $24.4 million as the best January opening ever for Paramount. Funny how things get better when an administration seems to be headed out the door…
On the other hand, Elektra and Racing Stripes are both looking at under-$15 million starts… which is probably more of a problem for Elektra than for Racing Stripes, which could build a loyal pre-teen audience that returns to the film repeatedly over the next two months. Even with Disney/ABC spending insane amounts of money on TV spots and an outdoor campaign for Jennifer Garner and Alias that comes just short of a direct offer of kinky sex, Elektra hasn’t found an audience any bigger that the core of geeks that show up no matter what they read on Ain’t It Cool News. One wonders whether they would at least have stirred a greater interest in the public if the film was darker and R rated.
It’s hard to figure out what’s going on with The Aviator. The film feels like it’s playing out. 1867 screens is not a terribly wide release. But how much milk is there in the next 1000 screens? A $4 million weekend will take the film close to $50 million. But whether an Oscar nomination is going to be the kind of accelerant that Miramax needs to get the film to $100 million… I don’t know…
Spanglish is still drawing some folks and will pass $40 million sometime in the next week or so. Surprisingly, it has held up better than Closer, which has found its way into the low $30 millions and should top out under $40 million.
Sideways passed Finding Neverland in daily gross late in the week despite being on one-third of the screens. The strategy of continuing to hold and even reduce screen count for Sideways, even after three months in the marketplace, is going to prove itself to be genius or an oops in two more weeks. Million Dollar Baby added 15 whole screens this weekend. Again, an expansion in two weeks.