It’s a ‘Chihuahua’ Box-Office Weekend with a ‘Religulous’ Surprise

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Photo: Lionsgate / Walt Disney Pictures

Bill Maher’s Religulous
got off to a strong start in New York when it was released in two theaters on Wednesday and made $6,619 per location. It has continued its momentum as it added 500 more screens on Friday and held relatively the same per/theater average with an estimated $1.1 million on Friday on its way to an anticipated $3.3 million for the weekend and a potential top ten placement. Of course, this isn’t going to be the weekend #1, but it is certainly the top story in my estimation, but is it a miracle? Eh Maher, is it?

Then again, if I consider that the top story the performance of Ed Harris’s Appaloosa, which expanded to 1,045 screens this weekend is rather impressive as well. It is on its way to a potential fifth place finish for the weekend after earning an estimated $1.7 million on Friday with an estimated $5.2 million anticipated for the three-day. Do audiences want more westerns? My guess is if they are as good as Appaloosa the answer is YES.

The top spot belongs to one of the worst movies, which always seems to be the case, as it appears Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua is going to hold to its tracking numbers as it pulled in an estimated $8.5 million on Friday and is expected to hit approximately $29 million for the weekend and a first place finish. Chihuahua will best Shia LaBeouf’s Eagle Eye, which pulled in $5.5 million more on Friday and is expected to finish at #2 with $17 million for the weekend bringing its two week tally to $53+ million, not bad for a film that received a moajority of negative reviews.

Steve Mason at Fantasy Moguls called the $4 million Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist earned on Friday a disappointment. It looks like the film will still retain a third place finish but it won’t hit the $15.3 million it was expected to make and will more likely finish around $10.8 million.
The film has received a 71% rating at RottenTomatoes, but how it did that is beyond me since it offers nothing more than what was seen in the trailers and was truly a disappointment for me.

The right wing spoof film An American Carol is doing rather well with $1.4 million on its opening day on its way to an expected $4.2 million for the weekend. The first 10 minutes of the flick can be seen online over at Moviefone if you are so inclined. The film wasn’t screened for critics in Seattle and currently has a 43% rating at RottenTomatoes. A review at The Hollywood Reporter said the film “proves once and for all that Democrats are simply funnier.”
The review is negative, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the reviewer wasn’t exactly the targeted audience for the feature.

Other new releases include the worthless Flash of Genius which will finish with an estimated $2.6 million from 1,098 theaters. The downright depressing on all levels Blindness will hit an estimated $2.1 million for the weekend from 1,690 theaters and even worse will be the $1.2 million earned by MGM’s How to Lose Friends and Alienate People which is showing on 1,750 screens. For anyone that saw all the negative reviews I recently posted for all three of these films as well as Beverly Hills Chihuahua it appears the majority of audience members heeded my word as none of these final three will crack the top ten.

The complete list of earlier Friday estimates is listed below courtesy of Fantasy Moguls. Laremy will be here on Sunday with a complete weekend recap.

  1. Beverly Hills Chihauhau (Disney) – $8.5 million
  2. Eagle Eye (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $5.5 million
  3. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Sony) – $4 million
  4. Nights in Rodanthe (Warner Bros) – $2.45 million
  5. Appaloosa (Warner Bros) – $1.7 million
  6. An American Carol (Vivendi) – $1.4 million
  7. Fireproof (IDP Films/Samuel Goldwyn) – $1.3 million
  8. Lakeview Terrace (Sony) – $1.2 million
  9. Burn After Reading (Focus) – $1.15 million
  10. Religulous (Lionsgate) – $1.1 million