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Sunday, January 13, 2008

'The Bucket List' debuts with $19.5m as old guys beat Ice Cube, Jan 11-13

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson peaked plenty of interest for their sentimental end-of-life dramedy The Bucket List despite plenty of poor reviews, topping the box office with an estimated $19.5 million. Averaging an impressive $6,712 in 2,911 theaters, the PG-13 pic was one of four films Warner Bros. landed in the top ten.

It was the fourth highest opening of Nicholson's career, and seventh highest for Freeman. Budgeted at $45 million, the studio pushed the film's two Academy Award winners almost at the expense of the film itself, which was probably a good thing. Critics were largely unimpressed with the overly sentimental script, but without a prominent new release hogging the marquees this weekend, The Bucket List pulled in enough people not watching the NFL Playoffs to edge out a surprisingly strong debut from Ice Cube's First Sunday.

Debuting very strong in second with an estimated $19 million was Ice Cube's latest comedy First Sunday, which finished just $500,000 behind Bucket List despite playing in 698 fewer theaters. Averaging a top ten best $8,586, the critically-immune PG-13 pic about two criminals trying to rob a neighborhood church provided Ice Cube with the third biggest opening of his career, behind both Barbershop pics. Budgeted at just $20 million, the Sony Screen Gems release should net a very nice profit theatrically.

Fox Searchlight's indie sleeper hit Juno slipped just 12% to an estimated $14 million in third, thanks to solid word of mouth and an additional 523 theaters in its release slate. Averaging $5,719, the $10 million budgeted pic has now amassed $71.3 million, and seems a sure bet to break $100 million domestically. The film is already poised to surpass the $71.5 million gross of 2004's Sideways as the highest grossing film ever for the studio.

The late holiday season's juggernaut release National Treasure: Book of Secrets slipped to No. 4 this weekend with $11.5 million, bringing its cume to a massive $187.3 million. Budgeted at $130 million, the Buena Vista release is now the highest grossing film of Nicolas Cage's career, surpassing 2004's National Treasure with $173 million. Worldwide, the film has amassed $289.3 million.

Two more of the season's big hits finished just behind, with Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks pulling in $9.1 million bringing its cume to $187.7 million, while Will Smith's blockbuster I Am Legend took in $8.1 million bringing the Warner Bros. release to $240.2 million domestically.

Debuting outside of the top ten was the laughably bad Jason Statham adventure pic In the Name of the King, which opened to just $3.3 million. Adapted from a video game, the PG-13 release from Freestyle Releasing averaged just $2,002 in 1,631 theaters, and featured perhaps the worst trailer I've seen in years.

In limited release, Paramount Vantage/Miramax's There Will Be Blood took in an estimated $1.9 million in 129 theaters for a powerful $15,039 average. Directed by Paul T. Anderson and starring Golden Globe winner Daniel Day-Lewis, the dark drama will expand to roughly 400 theaters this Friday.

Thanks to two strong debuts the top ten films grossed $101.1 million, up a healthy 12% from last year's comparable frame when Stomp the Yard topped with $21.8 million.

Coming this week: How the potential cancellation of the Oscars in February could affect the box office


Anonymous said...

Great site update! Love the new look. I've been checking this site every Monday for most of the eight years it's been around and I don't think there is a better site available. Glad to have you back after the short intermission.

Joe in Colorado

Stephen Wong said...

Thanks for the comment Joe, I'm glad to be back! It's great that you've been such a long-time reader of the site, hopefully I can keep it up!

Xavier said...

Hi Stephen I love the new look as well and the new site is definitely more informative!

I have been following your coverage for the past two years and am excited at the changes you've made to this site.

Is it possible for you to add a column to let us readers know if there are any new blockbuster movies/sequels being confirmed by the studios and are in production? A very familiar experience is I only got to know certain movies when they're opening soon or trailers being released.

Thanks a lot!

Xavier Tee from Malaysia

Stephen Wong said...

Thanks Xavier, glad you like the new look as well! As for new movie info and rumors, unfortunately that's not really the focus of this column or section. But my colleague at EInsiders.com, Ken Miyamoto, has a great Inside Scoop column that would definitely be of interest to you. He posts daily about the latest news and gossip hitting Hollywood. Thanks!