Friday Box Office Analysis (10/15)
Team America poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published October 16, 2004
The rather underwhelming figure poses the question of whether or not the sneak previews drove out Trey Parker and Matt Stone?s more hardcore fans.
Team America experienced the same fate as Paramount?s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on Friday, only delivering a decent $4.7 million in ticket sales. Booked in 2,539 theaters, the foul comedy had the right marketing setup to debut like Jackass ($9.7 million - $3,873 per-screen), but instead came in line with Sky Captain?s $5.2 million ($1,633 per-screen) first-day gross.

The rather underwhelming figure poses the question of whether or not the sneak previews last week drove out Trey Parker and Matt Stone?s more hardcore fans, possibly leaving a limited quantity of them for its debut. A similar thing happened when Kevin Smith?s foul comedy, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, held a round of sneaks that went well and delivered just $4.5 million ($1,638 per-screen) on opening day, leading to a $11.0 million weekend.

With Team America, its cast is entirely made up of puppets, which is very unusual, and which might have drew cynical reactions beyond Parker and Stone?s fan base. In comparison, the South Park movie adaptation was also riding off the popularity of the hip show, which helped rake in a very strong $23.1 million (in only 2,128 theaters) six-day gross over 4th of July weekend. The sneaks for Team America might have gotten robust business (and reactions) and word of mouth (this weekend) seems strong, but given its more unique, unusual framework the flick might end up being more of a cult favorite rather than a real mainstream smash.

Sky Captain managed to draw in families, which aided in its 26% Saturday increase, when comic book oriented flicks usually drop off by the second day. The movie scored $15.6 million over the three days, averaging $4,916 per-screen. As much as some kids might be curious about Team America, chances are their parents will not be as willing to risk this one; and as a result, given the possible opening night rush factor Team America may drop.

Jay & Silent Bob slipped to $3.5 million ($1,267 per-screen) on its second day, proving that the comedy had more of a cult crowd that flocked out immediately. If Team America falls on Saturday, a figure around $4.0 million is likely, and if it increases it probably won?t get much more than $5.5 million. The production budget for this movie is between $25 and 30 million, which won?t be too harsh a figure to make up, but the weekend should look like roughly $12.0 million (and $13.0 if it's lucky), with very questionable legs by next week.

Quite possibly the biggest surprise on Friday was that Shall We Dance was the biggest per-screen average performer in the top ten. Grossing $3.8 million in just 1,773 theaters, the romantic comedy/drama averaged a solid $2,116 per-screen. The figure is in line with Richard Gere?s drama, Autumn in New York, which lured in $3.8 million and $1,694 per-screen in 2,255 theaters.

Despite shaky reviews, Shall We Dance managed to draw in the older demographics when typically the 30+ crowd pays attention to those opinions very closely. Its round of sneak previews also suggested that it might debut similarly to Win a Date with Tad Hamilton ($2.6 million - $972 per-screen), but given its offering of a light, cute story (with an attractive cast for adult moviegoers), that?s not always a hard pitch to moviegoers.

The movie faced the danger of performing like Laws of Attraction ($2.2 million - $915 per-screen), but likely had the advantage of an appealing cast and with there being not much else in the marketplace for those over 50. Saturday shouldn?t be much over $4.0 million ($2,350 - 2,450 per-screen), which should give Shall We Dance a weekend of $10.5 - 11.0 million.
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'Team America' Articles
  • Craig Younkin's Best and Worst of 2004
    January 26, 2005    Of all the films this year, one stood out as being the smartest, riskiest, funniest, and most original. -- Craig Younkin
  • Greg's Team America review B-
    October 21, 2004    Perhaps I was just expecting the comic genius that was the South Park film, and they just did not quite reach it. -- Greg Ward
  • Craig's Team America review A
    October 16, 2004    An outrageously funny film that uses all the Bruckheimerisms, over the top action sequences, elaborate musical scores, and combines them with mean spirited shots at Hollywood liberals. -- Craig Younkin
  • Crowd Report: "Team America"
    October 16, 2004    The crowd situation was in line with the opening night of Jackass ($9.7 million - $3,873 per-screen), and the attendance also ended up being on par with Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle ($14.6 million - $4,224 per-screen). -- Lee Tistaert
  • Crowd Report / B.O. Outlook: "Team America"
    October 11, 2004    After seeing it, I think it might land between Kill Bill Volume 1 ($22.1 million) and Volume 2 ($25.1 million), with even an outside shot at Dodgeball ($30.1 million). -- Lee Tistaert
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