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Box Office Update 2/16-2/18: Ghost Rider Rides to the Top

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Ghost Rider took the cineplex by force over the weekend, opening to the estimated tune of $44.5 million for the three day weekend. All this despite the lack of decent reviews. Following at a distant second, with approximately half the take of the top film, was the fantasy film Bridge to Terabithia. As a whole, this weekend saw a large turnover in the top ten, with half of last week's entrants making a hasty exit in the face of a full slate of new offerings. Although, there is one film that is hanging on tenaciously to the top ten, Night at the Museum, now in its ninth weekend.

Mark Steven Johnson's take on the fiery skulled comic hero was not screened for critics, which is generally a sign that the film is of lackluster quality, a sentiment most critics agreed with and most filmgoers chose to ignore. This is a fine example of the disconnect between what critics like and what the moviegoers at large wish to lay out the cash for. Granted, I liked the movie, but reading the reviews, and seeing the big bucks it raked in may show that critical thoughts mean little when it comes to event-type movies which offer flash and bang, without that much depth.

On the other hand, this week's number two movie shows that the family movie can offer up a lot more, or a lot less, depending on your view, than what it is sold as. The commercials sell Bridge to Terabithia as something of a Narnia 2, while it is actually a wonderful look into the ways that children process and deal with the world around them, with little of the effects that it is advertised to have. It is a surprising movie that is a true gem in this young year, one that should prove to have decent legs in the weeks to come, and most likely will outlast Ghost Rider in the top ten.

Three other films made their voices heard this week. Two of them had gotten an early start, opening on Valentine's Day, they finished fourth and fifth, Music and Lyrics and Daddy's Little Girls, respectively. They are both films that have a good heart, and scream "date movie." The final new release finished sixth, and that is the new FBI thriller Breach. It is a film that did well despite the little advertising that I saw. It turned out to be a very effective and focused thriller about the capture of the traitorous Robert Hanssen.

Among the returning films, Night at the Museum fared the best at audience retention, as it hangs on to the top ten. This film has to be certified a huge success, I cannot imagine that it was expected to flirt with a quarter of a billion dollars at the domestic box office, it may not make it, but it is up there in rarefied air. Taking considerable audience hits were both Norbit and Hannibal Rising, neither of which fared well with critics and audiences alike.

Five films dropped from the list this week: Pan's Labyrinth (11), Smokin' Aces (12), The Queen (13), Dreamgirls (14), and Epic Movie (–).

Figures are weekend estimates, final figures were not available yet, due to President's Day.

 

This Week

Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Ghost Rider $44,500,000 $44,500,000 1
2 N

Bridge to Terabithia

$22,500,000 $22,500,000 1
3 1 Norbit $16,893,000 $58,975,000 2
4 N Music and Lyrics $13,700,000 $19,269,000 1
5 N Daddy's Little Girls $11,400,000 $17,093,000 1
6 N

Breach

$10,572,000 $10,572,000 1
7 2 Hannibal Rising $5,435,000 $22,097,000 2
8 3 Because I Said So $5,124,000 $33,382,000 3
9 4 The Messengers $3,800,000 $30,509,000 3
10 5 Night at the Museum $3,750,000 $237,383,000 9

Box Office Predictions Recap
This was a very strong weekend, it blew my Ghost Rider prediction right out of the water. Overall, though, I did pretty good at nailing positions. I got four positions right and was within 1 place for the rest. On the other hand, my gross predictions were either right in the ballpark, or out in left field, I had no idea the fiery skeleton would do so well.
Anyway, here is how I picked the field:

 

Actual

Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 Ghost Rider $44,500,000 $26 million
3 2 Norbit $16,893,000 $21 million
2 3 Bridge to Terabithia $22,500,000 $19 million
4 4 Music and Lyrics $13,700,000 $17 million
5 5

Daddy's Little Girls

$11,400,000

$13 million

6 6 Breach $10,572,000 $8 million
8 7 Because I Said So $5,124,000 $7 million
7 8 Hannibal $5,465,000 $3 million
10 9 Night at the Museum $3,750,000 $2.5 million
11 10 Pan's Labyrinth $2,189,000 $2 million

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