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Coming off a monumentally disappointing weekend, featuring a slightly disappointing 30 Days of Night (Sony), a decently performing Gone Baby Gone, and a fleet of bombs including The Comebacks (Fox), Rendition (New Line), Things We Lost in the Fire (Dreamworks/Paramount), Sarah Landon & the Paranormal Hour (Freestyle Releasing) and The Ten Commandments (Rocky Mountain Pictures), Hollywood is hoping for a November box office boom.

As I reported Saturday, the estimated combined weekend gross of the top 12 movies this weekend (10/19-10/21) was only $78.44M. That’s the 4th-weakest October 3-day since 2002. The dismal overall performance comes on the heels of October 5-7, which was the worst October weekend since 1999. Year-over-year, the first 3 weekends of October 2007 are down 20% from the same period a year ago. If it weren’t for Hollywood outsider Tyler Perry, who lives in Atlanta, the month’s movie recession would be even more dramatic.

Box office prospects are looking much, much better starting November 2. That’s when Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) will roll out from coast-to-coast. I can compare the tracking, acquired from one of my sources, for Bee Movie to the tracking for June’s Ratatouille (Buena Vista). (I’m using tracking data from 2 weeks prior to release for both movies.)
As a benchmark, Ratatouille opened with $16.45M on its opening Friday and a $47M opening weekend. Good news for Dreamworks because Bee Movie has marginally better tracking than Ratatouille had at 2 weeks out.

Bee Movie has better Un-Aided Awareness 7%-2%. That’s a pretty good measure of buzz and anticipation. The Total Awareness is a wash with 77% of moviegoers aware of Bee Movie compared to 72% for Ratatouille. Moms seem to be know about this movie because with Females 25 Plus Bee Movie holds an 82%-69%.

The 2 movies have identical 32% Definite Interest scores, but the Seinfeld animated comedy is doing slightly better in the First Choice ratings.

FIRST CHOICE
BEE MOVIE – 6%
(Males Under 25 – 4%, Males 25 Plus – 7%
Females Under 25 – 4%, Females 25 Plus – 9%)
RATATOUILLE – 4%
(Males Under 25 – 2%, Males 25 Plus – 2%
Females Under 25 – 6%, Females 25 Plus – 4%)

It’s not summertime, so $16.5M on a Friday is impossible, but Bee Movie looks like it could do $11M-13M on its opening day (11/2) followed by $16M-$18M on Saturday (11/3) and $11M-$13M on Sunday (11/4). I say that Bee Movie will score an opening weekend in the $38M-$44M range. That’s shy of Ratatouille’s $47M opening, but on a par, or even slightly better than Happy Feet’s $41.5M opening weekend last November.

ead More at Fantasy Moguls.

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