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Like many of you progressives who are on every progressive organization's email list, I just received an email from Michael Moore about SICKO, encouraging us all to go out and see it.  What he really means is, see it NOW. Today or tomorrow.

I agree with him.  It's vital to the film's survival that as many of you, your friends and family as humanly possible go see it this weekend.

This isn't about enriching Michael Moore...it's about keeping the film alive.

As Moore points out in his email, opening weekend is vital for a major theatrical realease film.  Distributors decide before a film is released how many theaters to open it in, and based on opening box office totals, decide whether to add theaters or pull back.  

Farenheit 911 blew everyone away with its opening weekend box office.  In 868 theaters, it brought in $23,920,637 (a little over 20% of its total gross.)  Sicko is only opening in 441 theaters, however, which puts it at a disadvantage:

Here are this Friday's (yesterday's) box office estimates, courtesy of ShowBIZ Data Daily wire. (I don't know how to make charts, so to read this one, the first number is the number of theaters the film is released in; the second is the box office take; the third is the average take per theater; and the fourth is the overall total.)

1 RATATOUILLE BVI 3,940 16.40 4,161 16.40
2 LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD 20TH CENTURY FOX 3,175 10.50 3,306 25.51
3 EVAN ALMIGHTY UNIVERSAL 3,602 5.02 1,395 50.54
4 1408 MGM 2,678 3.68 1,373 33.46
5 FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER 20TH CENTURY FOX 3,963 2.70 680 108.55
6 KNOCKED UP UNIVERSAL 2,972 2.25 756 117.23
7 OCEAN'S THIRTEEN  WARNER BROS. 3,450 1.89 547 97.94
8 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END BVI 2,802 1.45 518 292.25
9 SICKO LIONS GATE 441 1.37 3,102 1.37
10 EVENING FOCUS FEATURES 977 1.21 1,241 1.21

The film is doing really well compared to others when it comes to average box office take per theater, which means where it's playing, people are going. But in order for more people across America to see it, today and tomorrow had better ROCK in terms of audience attendance.

I'm in LA at the moment and it's playing across town, but I was shocked that it's in less popular venues in several places.  Fareheit 911 was in major venues across the board here, from its opening.

Whether it's the pirating of the movie as Moore seems to believe (I'm not really with him on that), some grand right wing conspiracy, or just the general "unsexiness" of the subject matter - health care, as compared to 911 and the sensational crimes of President Bush - it would be a real crime should this film fade away.  And when it comes to box office, it's all about the numbers.

So if you want to see SICKO stick around and move into more and better venues, go see it this weekend.  If you want all of America to be able to see it easily, go see it. See it again.  And tell your friends to see it.  

Thanks.

UPDATE:

Thanks to the ever-vigilant Bill in Portland Maine, Box Office Mojo has updated weekend estimates that show good news for SICKO.  It's still in the top ten (above Angelina Jolie!) and it's making a huge splash in profits per theater - better even than DIE HARD!

Originally posted to hopesprings on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 09:08 PM PDT.

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