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Another Box-Office Guessing Game: X (Files) Marks the Spot, but Which One?
July 23, 2008  | By David Bianculli

X-Files-movie-scully-mulder.jpgOkay, gang. I've held dinky little contests to see which TV WORTH WATCHING reader comes closest to the opening-weekend box-office totals for the TV-to-movie versions of Sex and the City and Get Smart. Now it's time for the third and final small-to-big-screen effort of the summer, and another guessing game -- this time with The X-Files.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe opens Friday, and once again, I'm offering some piece of TV-related junk from my office floor to the reader who, in true game-show fashion, comes closest to guessing the opening-weekend grosses without going over. I'll accept guesses until, say, noon ET Friday, so you have two days to place your (free) bets.

I've been really close on my own guesses for both Sex and the City and Get Smart, but X-Files: I Want to Believe poses a formidable challenge. First, I Want to Believe it's going to do well. I loved the original series (most of it, anyway), and Frank Spotnitz, who co-wrote the new movie with Chris Carter, is a friend, so I'm rooting for him.


On the minus side, the Fox series began in 1993, and ended in 2002. For many of today's teen moviegoers, The X-Files is such ancient TV history, it may as well be The Outer Limits. The first movie version was released in 1998, and earned just over $30 million on its opening weekend, on the way to an overall U.S. take of approximately $83.9 million. Not exactly blockbusters.

On the plus side, sequels often outpace the totals for the originals, and the mammoth opening-weekend totals for larger-than-life action films this summer suggest there may be a big appetite for anything in the fantasy realm, and advance interest in I Want to Believe suggests that it may qualify as a have-to-see-on-opening-weekend movie event.


So let's see. Sex and the City earned $56.8 million on opening weekend (I guessed $55 million), and Get Smart earned $38.7 million (I guessed $40 million). I'm going to place my bet for the new X-Files movie as significantly higher than the first film's take, but less than I guessed for Sex, because The Dark Knight is still out there. Put me down for $50 million, even.

But don't let me influence your own prediction. This is one that could fluctuate wildly either way without surprising me. Dark Knight momentum could carry over to another weekend action film (holy synergy, Batman!), and shoot the new X-Files film to stratospheric totals. Or not.

So place your bets. And, I recommend, place your order: The new two-disc X-Files: Revelations set is out, collecting eight terrific episodes that serve as a primer, and a reminder, of the X-Files core characters and issues -- without all the mythology thrown in to distract.

x-files-revelations-dvd-box.jpgYou get the 1993 pilot episode, the 1994 episode that introduced the ultra-creepy Flukeman, the 1995 episode featuring Peter Boyle in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," and lots more. There's even a coupon offering up to $8.50 off the price of a ticket to see I Want to Believe. All by itself, that may be more valuable than the prize I'm offering.

You can order X-Files: Revelations here... but don't forget to post, and explain, your box-office guesses.







Ken R. said:

My guess is $28 million. I agree that there used to be moderate+ interest in the series but it waned in the later years. If it turns out to be a good movie and there's good word of mouth it could do better after the initial weekend. Also lots of Dark Knight fans out there who didn't want to fight opening weekend crowds and they will most likely see that movie instead of the X-files movie if they decide go to the movies this weekend.

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 12:14 PM

That Neil Guy said:

I don't know. I keep seeing bad buzz about it, both in negative reviews and seemingly self-loathing star interviews. My wife and mother-in-law both were huge fans of the show, and neither of them can even be bothered to recall that there's a movie coming out let alone consider going to see it. I think Batman will beat it this weekend. I'm thinking low, disappointingly low, $28.4 million. And I'll be happy to see myself proved wrong.

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 1:40 PM

Joseph Iovelli said:

I think the audience for this film ran to Dark Knight opening weekend, so the numbers should be somewhat respectable. 39 Million

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 4:01 PM

That Neil Guy said:

Well, crud. I would have picked a different number if I'd seen Ken R.'s post before submitting my own...

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 5:16 PM

Jim said:

My guess is $40 million opening weekend, but I hope it's low. Enough time has passed since the series ended that I think a lot of fans who didn't bother to see the first movie will be intrigued to see how Scully and Mulder are holding up.

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 5:28 PM

Oded said:

I don't see the movie doing that well among young men, considering how many of them will be watching the Dark Knight. That said, X-Files couldn't possibly do any worse than Get Smart did in its opening, so put me down for $42.2 million.

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 6:04 PM

Kate Green said:

I will guess $42.5 million for the opening weekend. I do not think this movie appeals as widely as some others this summer (not my style, although my husband can't wait).

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 6:13 PM

SuzanCarter said:

I am a huge fan of the show and Fox Mulder.
The X-files will be forever in my heart, but, I don't think The x-files appeals as widely as SATC.
My guess is $28 million.

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 7:52 PM

Danny said:

i think it will do $36.3

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 9:17 PM

Sally W. said:

Ooh - Flukeman episode! If I see the rerun on cable of this episode, I still get chills (I also can't view sewers the same way ever since, not to mention thinking about toxic waste). I'll say $30 million; it can't be much worse than Mamma Mia, and that had some pretty mixed reviews. I do want to see X-Files, but that may be more out of nostalgia than whether it's good.

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 9:41 PM

Lucy said:

I think people were over it before the TV series ended. I predict a pitiful $25 million.

Comment posted on July 23, 2008 10:03 PM

Chris Collins said:

okay, I'm thinking 35.5 million dollars.

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 9:20 AM

Talbert said:

Have any idea how many flavors of the week have been on and off the cool menu board since "X Files" charmed the fickle chasers of the trendy?

Nor do I, but it's a lot.

$12 million tops, and lucky if it gets that high.

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 11:26 AM

The Other Neil said:

I suspect it'll be a disappointment. Also, that the casual fans of the show (who are a decade older than when this was a TV hit) might hold off until the second week, or just wait till it hits video. I'll guess $26.8 Million.

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 11:41 AM

Elisa said:

My guess is $19.5 million.
As a fan of the early seasons, I saw the first movie in the theater and was disappointed by the conspiracy focus. This series is perfect for TV, not so much the movies. Personally, the premise/trailer isn't compelling enough to NOT wait for DVD. I also predict a lot of solo viewers, not couples or groups.

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 11:43 AM

Fro said:

I think Step Brothers and Dark Knight will both do more biz than X Files this weekend. X Files will do only 20.2 million.

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 4:20 PM

Rebecca said:

Batman will stay number 1. X-Files will be in the top 5, with $21 million.

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 5:39 PM

Kathy said:

39 mill (How verbose -- David B.)

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 6:56 PM

anchorgirl said:

Since there's no ghoul factor involved (meaning the Dead Actor Draw) -- unless any of the single-episode standouts like Peter Boyle, Charles Nelson Reilly, or Vincent Schiavelli managed to shoot their parts before shuffling off this mortal coil -- I'm gonna go for a maximum take of $37 mill. (That's $27 mill in next month's dollars.)

Comment posted on July 24, 2008 11:54 PM

Avi said:

I was definitely one of the diehard fans that stuck with the show till the end. For me, the show held a different meaning. It was the only show that my whole family really enjoyed. We watched it every Sunday until my parents divorced. After that I was the only one who still watched it. I watched it every weekend after until it ended with my whole family in mind. My guess is 26 million.

Comment posted on July 25, 2008 5:43 AM

Japhy said:

I'm going to go with 31 Million.

Comment posted on July 25, 2008 9:22 AM

Marlark said:

When meeting in an empty cornfield, The Smoking Man told me to forecast a modestly disappointing $34 million due to mixed reviews and the fact that nobody "wanted to believe" in a second movie except for 20th Century Fox.

Comment posted on July 25, 2008 9:32 AM

Phillip R. Crabb said:

Rats! Missed the deadline...damn conference calls. Okay, so I'll play for f-u-n fun.

$19.1 million...no money left after Hancock and Dark Knight...

Comment posted on July 25, 2008 1:01 PM

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