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The State of the 2007 Box Office
by Christopher Stone

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Heder's BLADES is GLORIOUS, but no MELTDOWN

Heder's BLADES is GLORIOUS, but no MELTDOWN
Some Match-Flickers were amazed to awaken on Monday, April 2, to learn that Will Ferrell's BLADES OF GLORY had skated away with 33 million box office dollars during its opening weekend, making the comedy the number one attraction in America. Most forecasters were betting that Disney's 3-D animated MEET THE ROBINSONS would take the weekend's Number 1 spot.

I wasn't among the surprised when BLADES won the hearts and bucks of movie-goers with an icy efficiency. The combination of Ferrell, John Heder, and unrepentant silliness was a sure-fire recipe for multiplex success.

Yes, BLADES OF GLORY won the box office for the March 30-April 1 weekend, but it didn't hold a candle, or even a cutting blade, to the $68 million spring 2006 opening of ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN. The only 2007 place to look for those kinds of numbers is the late winter opening weekend of 300. Warner Brothers' R-rated Spartan saga has generated anything but sparse box office returns. The Gerard Butler starrer is on the fast track to a $200 million domestic gross. Worldwide, 300 has already passed the $260 million marker. Can the announcement of a sequel be far behind? We think not.

So far, it's been a pretty good, though not
Allen's WILD HOGS in elite $100 Million Club

Allen's WILD HOGS in elite $100 Million Club
landmark, box office year.

Beyond 300, two other 2007 releases have already joined the elite $100 million plus box office club. Harley Davidson, we haven't got a problem: The John Travolta-Tim Allen road romp, WILD HOGS has already left more than $135 million worth of box office dust in its path. Nick Cage's GHOST RIDER has ridden off with more than a $115 million in box office ectoplasm.

Quickly approaching the $100 million mark is Eddie Murphy's romantic comedy NORBIT, already a $95 million winner. If BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA continues to show box office legs, it could push its take from the current $80 plus million to the rare $100 million. And spring is less than one month old.

All things considered, exhibitors and Match-Flickers alike have no reason to sing The Box Office Blues.

On the other screen, not everyone in Tinsletown has cause to click his/her heels about the First Quarter box office. Jake Gyllenhaal's excellent thriller ZODIAC stalled at about $35 million. It deserved membership in the $100 Million Club. HUSTLE & FLOW Oscar nominee Terence Howard can't be thrilled that his PRIDE debuted to a shameful $3.5 million. The terrible numbers for REIGN OVER ME, Adam Sandler's
Fran Kranz is destined for stardom

Fran Kranz is destined for stardom
dramatic turn about a husband and father who loses his family to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, has probably convinced the former SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE funny man to play it strictly for laughs at the box office.

If you must be the first in your 'hood to see SPIDERMAN 3, then you'd better be leaving on a jet plane. Sony Pictures is opening the third installment of its SPIDERMAN series in China on Thursday, May 3, one full day before Spidey spins his box office web in North America. The early opening in China, according to a Sony spokesman, "is designed to secure a strong opening at the box office before pirated copies have had a chance to flood the market."

This past Monday, April 9, Match-Flickers again awakened to the news that BLADES OF GLORY had all of the right moves, taking the box office crown for the second week by adding another $23 million to its box office booty.

Right now, I'm looking forward to plunking down my box office bucks at a theater that's screeningTHE TV SET. This David Duchovny-Sigourney Weaver starrer features Fran Kranz. I've been following Fran's career since his '90s stage appearances at Harvard Westlake High School. He's a pro now, and Kranz has stardom written all over him.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.


Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns


Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.


Contact
If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.


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