Today’s Los Angeles Times story finally writes what I’ve been reporting for the past month about Universal’s Evan Almighty, even down to identical language. Theirs: “Saying prayers as Evan Almighty opens to $32 million”. Mine: “Moguls at the studio are resorting to just plain prayers.” But the LAT didn’t even bother to look at the tracking before the pic’s release, or the marketing problems, or the exit polling after, as I did, which all tell the story of why the movie opened so weakly. True, Fox’s much less expensive, better reviewed, and under the radar Night At The Museum opened to only $30 mil — but at the end of the Christmas movie season when there was virtually no upcoming competition left for the PG or PG-13 audience. Whereas this crowded summer, blockbuster-branded and critically panned Evan Almighty faces Disney / Pixar’s Ratatouille (PG) next week, and future rivalry from Warner’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (PG-13), New Line’s Hairspray (PG) and Fox’s The Simpsons (PG-13). As a result, Night At The Museum went on to make $250 mil domestic. Evan Almighty, I’m told, will have trouble making it much past $100 mil.
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