TROUBLE CITY

DELLAMORTE DOES BOX OFFICE - 5/18/07

Movie NewsDamon HouxComment

http://chud.com/nextraimages/puppy.jpg Hey, now we can say that the summer season is really kicking in. Wait, maybe I should say it like I'm David Caruso:

Well, now it's obvious.

Summer's kicking in.

Shit, that was way too Shatner. Or maybe I'm on to something…

THE MOST INTERESTING FILM OF THE WEEK

Well, since there's only one picture opening wide this week (Captivity bumped to June. I wonder if Lionsgate and Dreamworks brokered a deal. Not that they would have been competing for each other's business, but getting screens was very important. Then again, last week showed counter-programming only gets you so far), and Spidey should hit the high 20's, it's fair to say that the film of the week is Shrek the Third.

The first Shrek was something of a surprise hit, in that it wasn't a franchise, but did franchise business for 2001. This was due to a couple of factors: it was one of the first non-Pixar CGI films, the film itself was a lightweight piece of fluff that delivered a nice comic turn from Eddie Murphy, and it had enough jokes for the adults so they wouldn't get that restless (biggest points off: use of Smashmouth's "Rock Star", one of five filmic uses). But even more importantly it played with an audience. Such may explain why it outgrossed Pearl Harbor, opened to $42 million and cashed out with $267 million on the way to being an even bigger DVD seller.

Shrek 2 repeated the formula to lesser results, and – as is to be expected – opened to $108 million dollars on the way to a $441 million total. Though Dreamworks reported fourth quarter disappointments regarding the (still massive) DVD sales, meaning that this was a huge hit, but didn't get into as many homes as the first did. It's sad to say, but opening to $42 million and getting to $267 million is way more impressive than opening to $108 and getting to $441. The original had word of mouth, which means people liked it, and talked about it. The sequel, like most sequels these days, was a foregone conclusion.

As for its chances, at this juncture in my life it's fair to say I don't watch much Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network or all that much kid-friendly television programming (though I know way too much about Dora and that damned Swiper the fox). I can't say with any authority how effective the advertising on this picture is, though I assume that it is similar to that of Silver Shamrock's brainwashing of the wee ones. The big question is: Did parents tolerate Shrek 2 enough to pony up for a third dosage? With a director already signed for a fourth outing, Dreamworks is proud of their cards and laydown, and even sandwiched by Pirates and Spider-man, they still have the advantage of being the safest film for the ten and under set for parents who aren't assholes (my favorite example of parents who are assholes were the ones who brought a three year old to ruin my screening of Blade 2). This being the first real kids film of the summer, and with the brand name, I think it's a pretty sure thing as well - though, like Spidey, it's probably not going to have great legs. But with kids films, nobody knows anything. I want to say there will be a little taste of backlash against the last one. So I'm going to say $120 million, and know that if it hits only $90 million, or as high as $160 million (it's got the screens and the shorter running time, but on the negative what parents take their kids to a 9:30 showing of Shrek 3? Oh yeah, assholes…), then, well, I was wrong.

THE MOST INTERESTING LIMITED RELEASE OF THE WEEK

Once opened Wednesday on two screens and Devin reviewed it here, but not only is it out, Severance is hitting 35 screens, the Wilson brothers (Andrew, Luke and Owen) curio The Wendell Baker Story is will be on 17, while Hal Hartley's Fay Grim shows up in New York and Los Angeles. All are probably worth the effort, though the latter two may play better for fans.

THE PREDICTATOR-TOTOR-SHIP

Well, it's Shrek's weekend, so what are you gonna do? I can't tell you who to sock it to. Spidey's going to have to give up a lot of its multiple prints (thirds, fourths and beyond outside of competitive markets), and it's going to lose a healthy chunk of its screening times (next week will be even more brutal), so dropping 70% isn't out of the question. But there's also likely to be something of a leveling off, so I'd guess closer to a 50% hit, taking to the tops of its bow to $28 or so (which it may get to in estimates and then get rounded down in actuals), mostly because there's so little else out there, and it should do about the same amount of business for the three day come next weekend's Memorial Day blowout.

Because it's virtually the only R rated film out there, 28 Weeks Later probably won't take the standard 60% hit of a horror film, it'll probably get to $5 or $6 mil. And Georgia Rule may only fall to $4 mil, though that film is already written off as a stinker. Disturbia will also be in the top five, and to be pugnacious I'm guessing it has slightly better legs than Lindsey Lohan.

And it goes a little something like this:

1. Shrek the Third – $110 Million
2. Spider-Man 3 – $28 Million
3. 28 Weeks Later – $5.7 Million
4. Disturbia - $4 Million
5. Georgia Rule - $3.9 Million

And then on Sunday, I'll teach you how to make a brisket from scratch.