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Box Office Update 3/14-3/16: Horton Hears a Who Hears the Box Office Call

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The family film always has the opportunity rise to the top and when that family film is a computer animated tale there is an even better chance that it will succeed at the box office. Besides hitting a wide range of demographics, it is, as a family film, much more likely to bring out the family as a whole, opposed to picking it apart with an R or PG-13 rating. Yes, none of this is new, but it does all apply to this week's big winner, Horton Hears a Who, which is based on the Dr. Seuss tale. The Jim Carrey and Steve Carell starring animated film has risen to the top of the pile with a healthy $45 million haul. To top it all off, the film is well worth checking out, it is funny, smart, and truly entertaining for the whole family.

In addition to Horton's success, two other new releases made their presence felt in the top ten this week. First up, Never Back Down, finishing third with $8.6 million. Not a bad haul for a film with a narrow band of appeal (primarily adolescent males). The film could have been fun, even though it had no chance of being good, if only the fights were good (but they aren't). It is the equivalent of Step Up 2 from earlier this year, only with fighting instead of dancing. Both films used the same formula, but the earlier film succeeded by infusing infectious energy into the dances, while Never Back Down settled for lame fights that wanted to be like real MMA fights, but just couldn't make the grade.

Slipping down to seventh place you will find Neil Marshall's latest creation, Doomsday. I truly felt the film was going to do better than the nearly $5 million that it got. It is a big overblown action film that should have played well to the masses. I saw it and loved it, but in retrospect I recognize that its cult-like appeal masquerading as the mainstream combined with its R rating was not going to allow it to garner big box office. Well, that and the fact that it plays like a greatest hits reel from a number of other, better, films.

As for the returning films, 10,000 BC fell the expected 50+%, while the rest of the top ten films exhibited decent staying power. In particular, The Bank Job slipped less than 15%, pretty impressive for what a film with smaller aspirations than, say, Semi-Pro, which is just now reaching, in its third weekend, what it was predicted to make in its first.

Next week is Easter and will likely be a weak weekend at the box office. Still, there will be a few films arriving that will all be competing for your dollar. Those films include the latest Judd Apatow production, Drillbit Taylor, which stars Owen Wilson; the latest horror remake in Shutter; and Tyler Perry's newest, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: Jumper (11), Fool's Gold (13), and Step up 2: The Streets (14).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Horton Hears a Who $45,012,998 $45,012,998 1
2 1 10,000 B.C. $16,773,312 $61,577,423 2
3 N Never Back Down $8,603,195 $8,603,195 1
4 2 College Road Trip $7,810,400 $24,203,543 2
5 3 Vantage Point $5,462,747 $59,263,128 4
6 4 The Bank Job $5,054,961 $13,257,949 2
7 N Doomsday $4,926,565 $4,926,565 1
8 5 Semi-Pro $3,043,162 $29,809,714 3
9 7 The Other Boleyn Girl $2,882,846 $19,153,729 3
10 6 The Spiderwick Chronicles $2,335,238 $65,376,031 5

Box Office Predictions Recap
Well, my placements were all over the map, but my gross predictions were, more or less, in the right ballpark. My biggest dollar goofs were underestimating Horton by about $5 million and overestimating Doomsday by $3 million. The rest of my guesstimations all fell within $1.5 million, and I feel pretty good about that, at least for the moment. As for my placements, I figured that Doomsday was going to place a little better than it did, I guess its packaging as a cult film in training did not help its box office potential.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 Horton Hears a Who $45,012,998 $40 million
2 2 10,000 B.C. $16,773,312 $18 million
4 3 College Road Trip $7,810,400 $8 million
7 4 Doomsday $4,926,565 $7.5 million
3 5

Never Back Down

$8,603,195 $7 million
5 6 Vantage Point $5,462,747 $5 million
6 7 The Bank Job $5,054,961 $4 million
10 8 The Spiderwick Chronicles $2,335,238 $3.5 million
8 9 Semi-Pro $3,043,162 $3 million
9 10 The Other Boleyn Girl $2,882,846 $2.5 million
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