Box Office Analysis, Nov. 2: A Weak Halloween Weekend

It was a pretty scary weekend at the box-office with revenues down a whopping 36 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago when American Gangster and Bee Movie posted massive debuts.

No studio executive on the planet would ever wish for Halloween to fall on a Friday — but that’s exactly what they got and were thus left with some pretty empty theatres on Friday night.

With last year’s holiday landing on a Wednesday, there was no discernable negative effect on the 2007 Halloween box-office frame. Not to mention that the second weekend of High School Musical 3: Senior Year and the debut of Zack and Miri Make a Porno never had a chance to match the drawing power of Denzel Washington as a notorious gangster and Jerry Seinfeld as an animated bee.

On a positive note, Disney has had four out of the past five weekends with a film at No. 1 and High School Musical 3  makes it two in a row with a $61.8 million domestic total and counting.

Kevin Smith, whose highest grossing films have landed in the $30 million range for their domestic totals, secured his second best debut with Zack and Miri; the Weinstein company release starring Seth Rogen will hopefully build strong word-of-mouth in the coming weeks.

Lionsgate’s Saw V, as is typical for the horror genre, dropped a precipitous 66 percent but still managed to land in third and cross the $45 million mark as it continues its profitable trajectory.

The best news in the top five comes from Universal’s Changeling, which has been generating Oscar buzz since its release and in its first major expansion proves that it is one to watch in the coming weeks.

Rounding out the top five is The Haunting of Molly Hartley from Freestyle Releasing, which managed a strong debut despite the simultaneous pull of Saw V and Halloween festivities, which kept many out of movie theatres this weekend.

Unfortunately, this was the first “down” weekend in a six week period, but there is hope that we will get back on track next weekend when Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa hits theaters.

STUDIO ESTIMATES (source: Media by Numbers)

1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Disney) – $15M; 3626 theaters; $4,146 PTA; -64%; $61.7M cume

2. NEW! Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Weinstein Co.) – $10.6M; 2735 theaters; $3,906 PTA

3. Saw V (Lionsgate) – $10.1M; 3084 theaters; $3,278 PTA; -66%; $45.8M cume

4. Changeling (Universal) – $9.4M; 1850 theaters; $5,085 PTA; +1824%; $10M

5. NEW! Haunting of Molly Hartley (The Freestyle Releasing) – $6M; 2652 theaters; $2,266 PTA

6. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (Disney) – $4.7M; 3004 theaters; $1,580 PTA; -31%; $84M cume

7. The Secret Life of Bees (Fox Searchlight) – $4M; 1611 theaters; $2,483 PTA; -34%; $25.2M

8. Max Payne (Fox) – $3.7M; 2564 theaters; $1,443 PTA; -53%; $35.5M cume

9. Eagle Eye (D’works/Paramount) – $3.4M; 2007 theaters; $1,694 PTA; -33%; $92.5M

10. Pride & Glory (Warner Bros.) – $3.2M; 2585 theaters; $1,261 PTA; -48%; $11.6M