Assessing The Weekend: Never Underestimate The Power Of Chihuahuas

So, who would’ve thought Beverly Hills Chihuahua had the legs to dominate a second weekend? I dismissed it as an opening weekend beast that would flame out rather quickly. But, wow, was I wrong. You know who did predict it? Disney. The didn’t release another movie that might cannibalize Chihuahua’s take. In fact, they aren’t releasing another movie this weekend either, so I suspect they expect another decent weekend for talking dogs. How decent? Well, I’m thinking about $10.5 million. I’ve noticed that most of the movies in the top ten on their opening weekend tend to earn about 40% less from weekend to weekend. 60% of this weekend’s $17,502,077 is about $10.5 million.

My predictions for both Body of Lies and The Express were way high, particularly The Express, only about $13 million off. Body of Lies was closer, but still off $7 million. The Express only made $1,625 per screen, that’s about 19 people per showing- 6% capacity of an average theater. That’s just terrible, and seeing as that was the widest new release of the weekend, it shows a gross miscalculation of the movie’s potential, although test screenings were supposedly quite positive. Maybe I could have had a somewhat more accurate prediction if I had taken into account the downward trend in opening weekend returns for football movies. The four I used in the formula were all primarily comedies, so I dismissed the trend at the time, but maybe a football movie is a football movie, regardless of if it’s funny or not.

It could be that everything just fell prey to having too much competition. There were 17 movies playing on 1000+ screens, nine on 2000+, and two on 3000+, which were both movies released in previous weeks (Chihuahua, Eagle Eye) that had expanded to their widest release yet. I’m sure Eagle Eye’s $10.9 million cut into Body of Lies’ box office and Chihuahua killed any chance for City of Ember, which only attracted about 18 people per showing.

I guess I’ll have to give a little more respect to competition and movies going into their second and third weeks and their ability to impact new releases, which my formula totally ignored.

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