Assessing The Weekend: How Long Until High School Musical 4?

So, the weekend did prove to be a two horse race. Outside of High School Musical 3 and Saw V, the only movie that cracked $2,500 per screen was The Secret Life of Bees at $3,713. Before I get into the guts of the weekend, how sad is it that the third and fifth movies of a series are the two biggest movies at the box office? It’s not like there are a bunch of great alternatives right now, but I guess I can at least take solace in the fact that they aren’t remakes.

The total take for the weekend was $120,037,016, the biggest since August 1-3, when The Dark Night was still number one. This was also the biggest October weekend in history.

Although I arrived at the total in a bit of an arbitrary way, I nearly nailed it for HSM3, off by just $633,654. The per screen average was $11,601, meaning each showing was about 45% full. It was tough to gauge HSM3 because of all the theatrically inexperienced people and that the first two HSMs were made for TV. It was a obviously a highly anticipated movie, but hard to project. On the other hand, I missed the Saw V total by a little more than $5.8 million. Saw’s total of $30,053,954 was right up with the totals of Saw II – IV, $32, $34, and $32, respectively. I had thought the series would begin it’s decline with the fifth installment, but I was wrong. Since this was the directorial debut for David Hackl, I deducted $4 million from the calculated total since he had no movies in the formula. Because he was the production designer on the previous three Saw movies, I had considered not deducting the $4 million because his presence would presumably provide some continuity to the look and direction of the movie. If I had done that, I would have been off less than two million. I’m not sure adding in the mean deviation of the series’ totals was the proper thing to do, but, obviously, using the numbers of the previous movies can be a good indicator.

Pride & Glory, the other wide release, finished fifth, but at $6 million that’s nothing to write home about. That movie will barely crack $10 million before it’s ejected from the big screen. Fireproof continued it’s onslaught of the box office, with a five week total of $26,627,556- 47 times it’s production budget. This is a great example of how to successfully market a small movie to a specific audience with stellar results. Fox and Universal have to be hanging their heads at the dismal performances of City of Ember and The Express. Both movies failed to break $500,000 on their third weekend (The Express averaged about 9 people per showing) while fellow third-weekers Body of Lies and Quarantine were making $4 and $2.5 million.

Next week I’ll look at The Haunting of Molly Hartley, which I can’t imagine will do much since its a PG-13 horror movie no one’s heard about, and the movie which serves as evidence that human society is fully in decline, Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

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