I've been thinking about this one off and on for a while, but this weekend's release of "The Shaggy Dog", right on the heels of "Eight Below", got me wondering: What is Dick Cook and the rest of WDS thinking? It seems like the studio has a knack for strangling its own movies by releasing another movie right on top of that is aiming for the same audience.
During it's second and third weekends, "Eight Below" dropped a very modest 20% and 36%, respectively, each weekend finishing in the top 3. It's very clearly a sleeper hit, and had the potential to keep going. This weekend, it is projected to drop nearly 50% and finish at #6. Is there any question that "Eight Below" would have performed better if it didn't have to compete against "The Shaggy Dog" this weekend? It seems like Disney shot itself in the foot. They have a movie that is performing well, with great word-of-mouth, and they go and cannibalize its audience instead of giving it a couple of more weeks to breathe.
They have done this before, particularly with holiday releases. They released "Brother Bear" on November 1, 2003. They had clearly abandoned it at this point. Three weeks later they release "Haunted Mansion", which has a much more muscular marketing campaign. However, BB was exceeding expectations. It was holding up pretty well and got some decent reviews. But them HM comes along and kills it by sucking up the family audience. The irony: at the end of the day BB outgrossed HM -- $85 million vs. $75 million. Would BB have done better had HM not come along? We'll never know. Any thoughts?