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Sunday, June 29, 2008

'Wall-e' and 'Wanted' dominate box office with $113m combined, June 27-29, 2008

Pixar-Disney's Wall-e opened strong but slightly under expectations while Universal's R-rated actioner Wanted blew past industry targets as the two films pushed the box office to its highest total of 2008 with a combined $113 million. It was the first time in history that two films have opened with more than $50 million over the same weekend, a sign that the box office has heated up heading into the all important July 4th weekend.

Buoyed by a heavy marketing blitz and a tidal wave of stellar reviews flooding in late in the week (critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com made Wall-e the highest rated film of 2008 with a 97% "fresh" score), the Andrew Stanton directed animated feature bowed with $63.1 million (official number) giving Pixar its third highest debut ever. Only 2004's The Incredibles ($70.5m), 2003's Finding Nemo ($70.3m) have opened larger, while the updated total surpassed 2001's Monsters, Inc. with $62.6m.

Launching in 3,992 theaters for a strong $15,656 average, Wall-e became the ninth straight No. 1 debut for the computer-animation powerhouse Pixar, also giving parent company Disney its biggest opening of 2008. Reviews for the G-rated sci-fi adventure were so strong in fact that there is already some talk of Wall-e being considered for Best Picture at next year's Oscars. Its strong performance at the box office is more of a mixed bag when you delve into the numbers.

Handily surpassing the debut of last year's acclaimed Oscar-winner Ratatouille ($47m) and edging past Cars' $60.1m in 2006, Wall-e actually posted the biggest opening day total of any film in the Pixar stable, earning $23.1 million on Friday alone. But while most animated features normally see an uptick in sales on Saturday when more families can go to the cineplex, the $180 million budgeted Wall-e slipped 5% to $22 million, falling another 21% on Sunday to $17.4 million. Time will tell whether word of mouth is weaker than expected or if Saturday's drop had more to do with Friday being such a big day (Disney reported that a sizeable percentage of couples attended showings on Friday). By comparison, DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda took in $20.3 million on its first day, seing an 11% uptick to $22.6 million on Saturday and $60.2 million over its debut weekend.

Though not the record take Disney was perhaps hoping for, Wall-e still managed to surpass expectations set earlier in the year when the notion of an animated film featuring virtually no dialogue in its first act making a big splash at the box office seemed like a tough sell. Set in a post-apocalyptic future Earth, the sci-fi themes and sensational reviews seemed to pique the interest of adult audiences as well, with 41% of moviegoers aged 25 or older. Carrying a CinemaScore rating of an A and reviews for Will Smith's Hancock (opening July 4th) seemingly shaky, Disney is hoping for more box office gold over the July 4th Holiday weekend.

Here's a look the performance of every Pixar film since 1999's Toy Story 2:




Toy Story 23236$17734$57,387,224$245,852,179


Monsters, Inc3237$19331$62,577,067$255,873,250


Finding Nemo3374$20821$70,251,710$339,714,978









It's not very often that a film finishing second plays spoiler to the No. 1 film, but that's exactly what happened this weekend with Angelina Jolie's R-rated actioner Wanted. Debuting with a remarkable $51.1 million over the weekend, the film posted the seventh biggest R-rated opening of all-time, taking away some sales that most likely would have gone Wall-e's way. Receiving mostly positive reviews from critics, the Timur Bekmambetov-directed pic averaged a top ten best $16,100 in 3,175 theaters, beating Wall-e's average by nearly $500 per theater.

The debut for Wanted marked personal bests for stars Jolie and James McAvoy. For Jolie, the R-rated pic surpassed both 2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith with $50.3m and 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with $47.7m. Following up his stylish Russian vampire sagas Night Watch and Day Watch, Bekmambetov's $75 million foray into American cinema played strongly in the Under 30 demographic, and should continue to play well through the July 4th weekend.

Falling 48% to third was last week's champ Get Smart, which took in $20 million over the weekend. In ten days, the $80 million budgeted comedy has grossed $77.3 million, and should finish up with $125 million for Warner Bros.

Feeling some pressure from the Wall-e debut was DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda, which slipped 47% (its largest drop to date) to $11.7 million in its fourth week of release. In four weeks the Paramount release has grossed an incredible $179.3 million, and should finish with $220-225 million domestic.

Much like its predecessor, Universal's The Incredible Hulk is seeing steep declines since its opening, falling another 58% to $9.2 million in fifth place. In three weeks of release the Ed Norton starrer has taken in $115.5 million, falling behind even the lackluster pace of the original Hulk which took in $117 million over the same period in 2003. Look for the $150m budgeted film to bow out with $125-130 million domestic.

In other notables, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull took in $5 million this weekend to push its cume to $299.9 million. The Steven Spielberg directed sequel should cross $300 million by Monday, making it the director's third film to surpass the triple century mark.

Thanks to a massive $113 million combined boost from Wall-e and Wanted, the top ten films grossed an estimated $175.9 million this weekend, up 24% from last year's comparable frame when Ratatouille topped with a $47 million bow. It was up 26% from 2006 when Superman Returns opened with $52.5 million.

The numbers, June 27-29, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 WALL-E $62,500,000 3,992 $15,656 $62,500,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
2 Wanted $51,118,000 3,175 $16,100 $51,118,000 -- 1 Universal
3 Get Smart $20,000,000 3,915 $5,109 $77,266,000 -48.3 2 Warner Bros.
4 Kung Fu Panda $11,746,000 3,670 $3,201 $179,330,000 -46.5 4 Paramount
5 The Incredible Hulk $9,226,000 3,349 $2,755 $115,508,000 -58.3 3 Universal
6 The Love Guru $5,440,000 3,012 $1,806 $25,322,000 -60.9 2 Paramount
7 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $5,030,000 2,556 $1,968 $299,936,000 -41.1 6 Paramount
8 The Happening $3,850,000 2,483 $1,551 $59,063,000 -63.3 3 Fox
9 Sex and the City $3,770,000 1,755 $2,148 $140,132,000 -42.3 5 New Line
10 You Don't Mess With the Zohan $3,200,000 2,147 $1,490 $91,215,000 -57.1 4 Sony

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Could Pixar's 'Wall-e' be headed for a record opening weekend?

While the box office trend for Pixar releases since 2004's hit The Incredibles has been a downward one (Incredibles took in $261.4 million, 2006's Cars grossed $244 million and last summer's Ratatouille earned $206.4 million domestic), Disney/Pixar seems poised to reverse the tide in a few days when their latest creation Wall-e finally hits theaters.

Buoyed by a massive marketing blitz, excellent early buzz (despite the fact that Disney has embargoed all reviews until the day of release) and a release date that's basically been cleared out for it (only the R-rated Wanted shares the weekend), Wall-e could very well open bigger than any Pixar film to date.

However, good reviews don't necessarily mean big openings. Just take a look at last year's critically-acclaimed Ratatouille. Though the Brad Bird-directed pic received the best reviews of the entire summer, a tough release date (sharing a weekend with Die Hard 4, followed by Transformers and The Bourne Ultimatum) and sub-par marketing campaign doomed the film a rather ordinary $47 million opening and $206 million total in North America, both the lowest totals for a Pixar release since 1998's A Bug's Life.

Based on recent history Disney will likely release Wall-e in roughly 4,000 theaters nationwide -- official numbers will be announced Thursday. And given the high per theater averages Pixar films usually command that could put Wall-e in the $75-85 million opening weekend range, which would be a Pixar record. The biggest debut in Pixar history is still 2004's The Incredibles with $70.4 million, followed closely by Pixar's all-time leading grosser Finding Nemo with $70.2 million (Nemo went on to rake in $339.7m domestic and $864.6m worldwide).

Looking at what some of our readers have submitted in our latest poll, it looks like predictions are all over the map. Feel like taking an educated guess yourself? Chime in in the comment section, or enter your guess in our poll. But here are some interesting numbers to chew on:

Averages for Pixar releases since 1999's Toy Story 2 (numbers not adjusted for inflation)
Films included in average: Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille

Theater Count: 3,618
Average: $17,137
Opening weekend: $61,305,088
Domestic Gross: $258,901,689
International Gross: $339,406,529
Worldwide Gross: $598,308,218

Sunday, June 22, 2008

'Get Smart' unseats 'Hulk' for top spot with $39.1m, June 20-22, 2008

Warner Bros.'s big-screen update of the classic 1960s spy tv series Get Smart debuted with an estimated $39.2 million this weekend, knocking off last week's champ The Incredible Hulk while averaging an impressive $10,012 in an ultrawide 3,911 theaters.

Starring Steve Carrell as bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart, the PG-13 film gave the actor his best opening ever in a lead role (despite decidedly lukewarm reviews), surpassing last summer's Evan Almighty with $31.1 million. It was also the biggest debut ever for co-star Anne Hathaway, whose 2006 break-out pic The Devil Wears Prada opened with $27.5 million. Budgeted at $80 million, the film will need solid word of mouth to become profitable in North America.

Falling just 35% in its third week of release was DreamWorks Animation's hit comedy Kung Fu Panda, which took in $21.7 million pushing its 17-day haul to $155.6 million. The film will need as much ammo as it can get leading in to next weekend's release of the highly-anticipated Pixar-Disney film Wall-e which opens Friday. At its current pace Panda looks headed for a $230 million domestic gross.

Falling a dreadful 61% in its sophomore frame was last week's champ The Incredible Hulk which took in $21.6 million in third. In ten days the angry green giant has grossed $96.5 million. Budgeted at $150 million, the film's hefty drop was still able to beat out 2003's Hulk, which fell a frightening 70% in its sophomore frame for a $100.6 million 10-day cume. That Ang Lee directed pic finished with $132.2 million. Look for Marvel Studios's reboot to pull in $145 million domestic.

Debuting in a distant fourth was Mike Myers' latest comedy offering The Love Guru, which took in $14 million in 3,012 theaters for a $4,648 average. Slaughtered by critics in a manner that could challenge The Happening as the worst reviewed film all year, the PG-13 release became the lowest grossing opener for Myers since 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. That film gained a huge cult following that spawned two highly profitable sequels, something highly unlikely to occur with the $62m budgeted Guru.

Speaking of The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan's latest thriller fell 67% in its sophomore frame to $10 million, bringing its 10-day take to $50.3 million. Budgeted at $60 million, Night's first foray into R-rated territory should still net Fox a solid $70 million domestic. The director's lowest grossing film still remains 2006's fairytale flop Lady in the Water with $42.3 million.

Perhaps the biggest news of the weekend should be that Marvel Studios' Iron Man has surpassed $300 million, $304.8 million to be exact. Budgeted at $140 million, the Robert Downey Jr. starrer has been one of the biggest surprises in a relatively uneventful summer season. Worldwide the film has now amassed $554.3 million, a huge number for a new franchise pic.

The top ten films continued their success streak, grossing $134.4 million over the weekend to finish up 10% from last year's comparable frame when Evan Almighty topped with $31.2 million.

The numbers, June 20-22, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Get Smart $39,155,000 3,911 $10,012 $39,155,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
2 Kung Fu Panda $21,700,000 4,053 $5,354 $155,596,000 -35.4 3 Paramount
3 The Incredible Hulk $21,557,000 3,508 $6,145 $96,476,000 -61.1 2 Universal
4 The Love Guru $14,000,000 3,012 $4,648 $14,000,000 -- 1 Paramount
5 The Happening $10,000,000 2,986 $3,349 $50,267,000 -67.2 2 Fox
6 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $8,414,000 3,171 $2,653 $290,835,000 -42.9 5 Paramount
7 You Don't Mess With the Zohan $7,200,000 3,278 $2,196 $84,055,000 -56.0 3 Sony
8 Sex and the City $6,465,000 2,442 $2,647 $132,385,000 -34.0 4 New Line
9 Iron Man $4,002,000 1,912 $2,093 $304,788,000 -28.8 8 Paramount
10 The Strangers $1,949,000 1,578 $1,235 $49,586,000 -51.6 4 Universal

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

'The Dark Knight' tracking extremely well

***Update*** "The Dark Knight" posts biggest weekend in box office history!

*Update* MovieTickets.com is reporting that, 16 days prior to its release, over 100 "Dark Knight" performances are already sold out for opening weekend.

As if you needed much evidence for whether Warner Bros.' next Batman offering The Dark Knight will be a certified mega-blockbuster, MovieTickets.com just released an internal poll showing that Christopher Nolan's latest offering could be the biggest debut of the summer, if not the entire year. According to the poll, 81% of male moviegoers and 66 percent of female moviegoers polled June 10-15 intend to see "The Dark Knight" opening weekend. 100% of ticket buyers polled were aware of The Dark Knight's release this summer, compared with 49% of ticket buyers three weeks before "The Incredible Hulk" and 36% of buyers three weeks before "Iron Man."

The Incredible Hulk muscled its way to a $54.5 million opening, while Iron Man bowed with $98.6 million. The biggest opening of all-time was last May's Spider-Man 3 with $151.1 million, a number I expect The Dark Knight to possibly challenge on July 18th.

Nolan's Batman Begins breathed new life to the once-downtrodden Warner franchise when it launched on June 15th, 2005 to stellar reviews. Debuting with $48.7 million, the film went on to gross $205 million domestic and $371.8 million worldwide.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

'The Incredible Hulk' smashes box office with $54.5m, June 13-15, 2008

The top three films combined to pull in $120 million this weekend, led by two newcomers The Incredible Hulk and The Happening, and a strong sophomore frame from DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda. All that added up to another strong weekend from the top ten films, up 26% from last year's comparable frame when Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer topped in its debut with $58.1 million.

For the fifth consecutive weekend the box office gave rise to a $50+ million debut, this time going to Marvel Studios reboot The Incredible Hulk, which topped with an estimated $54.5 million. Averaging a strong $15,561 in 3,505 theaters, the PG-13 pic fell short of its 2003 predecessor The Hulk, which took in $62.1 million in its debut. Directed by Ang Lee, that film starring Eric Bana took in $132.1 million domestically.

Budgeted at $150 million (financed by Marvel Studios and distributed by Universal), the Louis Leterrier-directed superhero pic fell short of the bar set by May's Iron Man (also produced by Marvel, distributed by Paramount), which took in an incredible $98.6 million in its opening weekend. Starring Ed Norton as Bruce Banner, and co-starring Liv Tyler and Tim Roth, The Incredible Hulk received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, with 66% of those polled by Rottentomatoes.com giving the film a "fresh" recommendation.

Analysts projected the film to earn somewhere between $55-70 million over the weekend. Universal reported a $21.7 million Friday haul, followed by a not-so-encouraging 15% drop in ticket sales to $18.4 million on Saturday. The studio is estimating a 22% dip to $14.4 million on Sunday.

Unlike the marketing for Iron Man, which focused heavily promoting Robert Downey Jr. as a legitimate leading man, Marvel decided to focus on the dazzling visual effects and action in their advertising campaign for Hulk, almost playing down the role of Edward Norton. Though not necessarily a full reboot of the original film The Incredible Hulk did share some overlap in the origin story from Ang Lee's version, and the similarities in this non-sequel sequel might have kept audiences away who were already underwhelmed with Lee's Hulk.

Given the film's significant 15% drop in sales from Friday to Saturday, word of mouth appears lukewarm at best. Look for heavy losses in the coming weeks and don't expect the film to break even domestically. Overseas, The Incredible Hulk launched in 38 international markets with $31 million.

Falling 43% to second was DreamWorks Animation's hit animated comedy Kung Fu Panda, which took in $34.3 million in its sophomore frame. In ten days of release, the Jack Black starrer has grossed $118 million. With two more weeks until the debut of Pixar's Wall-e, look for strong word of mouth to continue to carry the computer-animated release. Panda's success hasn't be overlooked by DreamWorks, which has already greenlit five more films in their newest animated franchise. At its current pace, look for the $130m budgeted Kung Fu Panda to flirt with $250 million domestic.

Despite yet another beating at the hands of critics, M. Night Shyamalan shepherded his latest thriller The Happening to an estimated $30.5 million in third. Carrying the director's first ever R-rating, The Happening averaged a strong $10,214 in 2,986 theaters, posting the second biggest debut of 2008 for an R-rated release (only Sex and the City with $56.8m opened bigger). Thanks to a strong marketing campaign from Fox as well as Night's sizable but continually dwindling fan base, the director managed to rebound from his most recent flop Lady in the Water, which bowed to $18 million on its way to just $42.3 million domestic. Look for significant drops in the coming weeks for the $50 million budgeted pic.

Like most of his previous comedies, Adam Sandler's latest You Don't Mess With the Zohan fell a precipitous 57% from its opening frame to an estimated $16.4 million. In ten days, the $90 million budgeted comedy has grossed $68.7 million, and should finish with just under $100 million by the end of its domestic run.

Rounding out the top five was Steven Spielberg's blockbuster action-adventure Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which fell just 41% to an estimated $13.5 million. Produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Paramount, the $185m Harrison Ford starrer as racked up a massive $275.3 million. It is now the third highest grossing film ever for Spielberg, behind only 1982's E.T. with $435m and 1993's Jurassic Park with $357m.

In seventh with $5.1 million was Marvel/Paramount's blockbuster superhero pic Iron Man, which flirted ever so close to the $300 million barrier. In seven weeks, the $140 million budgeted pic has grossed $297 million.

The numbers, June 13-15, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 The Incredible Hulk $54,540,000 3,505 $15,561 $54,540,000 -- 1 Universal
2 Kung Fu Panda $34,321,000 4,136 $8,298 $117,998,000 -43.0 2 Paramount
3 The Happening $30,500,000 2,986 $10,214 $30,500,000 -- 1 Fox
4 You Don't Mess With the Zohan $16,400,000 3,466 $4,732 $68,790,000 -57.4 2 Sony
5 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom... $13,547,000 3,804 $3,561 $275,329,000 -40.6 4 Paramount
6 Sex and the City $10,185,000 3,155 $3,228 $119,919,000 -52.0 3 New Line
7 Iron Man $5,130,000 2,403 $2,135 $297,428,000 -31.4 7 Paramount
8 The Strangers $4,100,000 2,410 $1,701 $45,363,000 -54.1 3 Universal
9 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $3,004,000 2,308 $1,302 $131,744,000 -46.9 5 Buena Vista
10 What Happens in Vegas $1,700,000 1,422 $1,195 $75,788,000 -50.5 6 Fox

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

'Kung Fu Panda' knocks out 'Zohan' with $60.2m, June 6-8, 2008

DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda and Sony's comedy You Don't Mess with the Zohan combined to pull in nearly $100 million this weekend, pushing the top ten films up a whopping 31% from last year's comparable frame.

Leading the charge was the computer-animated comedy Kung Fu Panda, which raked in an impressive $60.2 million in its debut, averaging an eye-popping $14,642 in 4,114 theaters. Distributed by Paramount, the PG-rated Jack Black starrer delivered the third biggest June bow ever, behind only Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($93.7m) and The Hulk ($62.1m). It was also the third biggest opening ever for a DreamWorks animated release, behind only Shrek the Third's $121.6m and Shrek 2's $108m. 2001's Shrek opened to $42.3 million.

More remarkable for the well-reviewed Panda is the fact that the film's opening ranks fourth overall for an original, non-sequel computer-animated release, behind only Finding Nemo ($70.2m), The Incredibles ($70.4m), and Monsters, Inc. ($62.5m), all Pixar releases. And for a studio like DreamWorks, who depends heavily on high-profile franchise sequels, there may be no better news than that.

Timing appears to be a huge factor in the big opening for Kung Fu Panda, with Disney's Narnia: Prince Caspian faltering quickly in the marketplace, and Pixar's Wall-e not set to hit theaters until June 27th. Thanks to that three week cushion look for Panda to continue to perform very strongly in June.

Debuting in second was Adam Sandler's latest comedy You Don't Mess With the Zohan, which took in $38.5 million in 3,462 theaters, averaging a strong $11,130 per theater. It was Sandler's eighth film to debut with over $35 million, and marked Sony's biggest debut since last year's Spider-Man 3 took in a record-shattering $151.1 million in its opening frame. Reviews were largely negative for the $90 million budgeted Israeli assassin turned NYC hairdresser pic.

Falling one spot to third was LucasFilms-Paramount's $185m budgeted Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which fell 49% to $22.8 million this weekend. In 18 days, the film has grossed an amazing $253 million, and still has a decent shot at breaking $300 million domestically. Internationally, the Harrison Ford starrer has amassed $327 million, bringing its worldwide cume to $580.4 million.

Falling a predictably high 63% in its sophomore frame was last week's surprise champ Sex and the City, which took in $21.2 million over the weekend pushing its ten-day cume to an incredible $99.2 million. Given the film's very targeted audience appeal, the large drop off in ticket sales was largely expected. Still, the $65m budgeted film became Warner's highest grossing film of the year, and could wind up with $140 million domestically. The studio releases Get Smart and The Dark Knight later this summer.

Two of the biggest disappointments of the summer, Disney's massively budgeted The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Warner's instant flop Speed Racer finished 7th and 14th respectively this weekend. Narnia fell another 56% to $5.7 million, bringing its total to $126 million, less than half of its predecessor. Warner's $100 million budgeted folly Speed Racer scraped together $427,000 this weekend, putting its domestic total at a pathetic $42 million.

Once again it looks like most of you correctly projected the opening total of top film of the weekend, with two-thirds of you foreseeing a sub-$70 million debut for Kung Fu Panda. Now it starts to get busy, with The Incredible Hulk and The Happening both making their openings next weekend. I'm looking for an $80 million bow for Hulk and possibly $35-40 million for The Happening. Be sure to enter your guess this week.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The numbers, June 6-8, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Kung Fu Panda $60,239,130 4,114 $14,642 $60,239,130 -- 1 Paramount
2 You Don't Mess With the Zohan $38,531,374 3,462 $11,130 $38,531,374 -- 1 Sony
3 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $22,793,630 4,190 $5,440 $253,014,750 -49.1 3 Paramount
4 Sex and the City $21,218,305 3,325 $6,381 $99,177,283 -62.7 2 New Line
5 The Strangers $8,941,970 2,477 $3,610 $37,298,770 -57.4 2 Universal
6 Iron Man $7,477,439 2,931 $2,551 $288,847,640 -44.8 6 Paramount
7 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $5,658,836 3,065 $1,846 $125,977,010 -55.5 4 Buena Vista
8 What Happens in Vegas $3,437,801 2,366 $1,453 $72,267,894 -48.5 5 Fox
9 Baby Mama $806,750 922 $875 $57,931,215 -63.2 7 Universal
10 Made of Honor $804,055 740 $1,087 $44,689,497 -58.0 6 Sony

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

'Incredible Hulk' tracking better than 'Iron Man'?

According to movietickets.com's internal polling, Marvel's "Incredible Hulk" reboot is actually garnering stronger buzz and anticipation than "Iron Man" did before its release. According to the poll 49% of ticket buyers on the site were aware of the upcoming release "Incredible Hulk" vs. 36% of buyers three weeks before "Iron Man." "Hulk" will be released on June 13th.

The original Hulk, directed by Ang Lee, debuted in June of 2003 with $62.1 million, finishing domestically with $132m. I'd take this survey with a grain of salt, not least because three weeks before Iron Man we weren't even in the Summer movie season. Frankly, I don't see Incredible Hulk coming close to a $100 million opening, but hey, I've been wrong before.

So what do you guys think? Is $100 million in the cards for Hulk?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

'Sex and the City' tames 'Indy' to top box office with $55.7m, May 30-June 1, 2008

Women showed up in droves this weekend and helped carry Sarah Jessica Parker & Co. to the top of the charts, as New Line's big screen treatment Sex and the City took in a surprisingly powerful $55.7 million in its debut. Last week's champ Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull took a 54% fall to finish second.

Blowing past all industry expectations Sex and the City charged into cineplexes with a massive media blitz and phenomenal buzz, earning $55.7 million over the weekend and a jaw-dropping $26 million on Friday alone. Released at a time usually reserved for big-budget action adventures, New Line's summer gamble certainly paid off. Women made up the vast majority of the ticket buyers this weekend, particularly on Friday when over 85% of audience members were female. Starring the same core cast from HBO's hugely popular tv series of the same name, the $65 million budgeted picture averaged an incredible $16,968 in 3,285 theaters, becoming the year's third largest debut (behind only Indy IV $100.1m and Iron Man's $98.6m) and largest R-rated opening of 2008.

Despite mixed reaction from critics this was the female event pic of the year, ending Sex fans' four-year drought from the series' 2004 finale on HBO. It was the fifth biggest R-rated opening in history, behind only The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8m), The Passion of the Christ ($83.8m), 300 ($70.9m), and Hannibal ($58m). For soon to be defunct New Line Cinema -- which will be folding back into parent Warner Bros. -- the debut was the studio's biggest since 2003's The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. But unless the film can find a way to break into the male demographic or gather repeat viewers, look for substantial drops in the weeks to come.

Falling 54% in its sophomore frame to second place was Lucasfilm/Paramount's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which took in $46 million over the weekend. In 11 days the $185 million budgeted Steven Spielberg film has grossed $216.9 million, putting the film on pace to reach $300 million domestically. Already Crystal Skull is the sixth highest grossing film of Spielberg's storied career, nudging past 1998's Saving Private Ryan with $216.5 million. 1982's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial is still the filmmaker's highest grossing film ever with $435 million. The highest grossing Indiana Jones film is still 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark with $242.3 million.

Rogue Picture's well-timed horror thriller The Strangers took in an estimated $20.7 million in its opening weekend, posting the second biggest horror opening of the year (April's Prom Night debuted with $20.8m). Budgeted at just $9 million, the Liv Tyler starrer averaged a strong $8,394 in 2,467 theaters. Reviews were mixed-to-poor, not that it really matters in the horror genre.

Still going strong in its fifth weekend of release was Marvel/Paramount's Iron Man, which fell just 32% to $14 million in fourth place. In 31 days the $140 million budgeted blockbuster has amassed $276.6 million. At its current pace, look for the film to surpass $320 million domestically.

Disney's fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian fell 43% in its third weekend to $13 million, bringing its 17-day take to just $115.7 million. Budgeted at a massive $200 million the film looks on pace to finish with just half of its predecessor's $291.7 million domestic total back in 2005.

Thanks to a much stronger than anticipated debut from Sex and the City the top ten films grossed $163.7 million, up 28% from last year's comparable frame when Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End held onto the top spot with $44.2 million.

The numbers, May 30-June 1, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Sex and the City $55,740,000 3,285 $16,968 $55,740,000 -- 1 New Line
2 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $46,000,000 4,264 $10,788 $216,881,000 -54.1 2 Paramount
3 The Strangers $20,710,000 2,466 $8,398 $20,710,000 -- 1 Universal
4 Iron Man $14,000,000 3,650 $3,836 $276,625,000 -31.5 5 Paramount
5 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $13,016,000 3,801 $3,424 $115,674,000 -42.9 3 Buena Vista
6 What Happens in Vegas $6,850,000 3,086 $2,220 $66,074,000 -24.9 4 Fox
7 Baby Mama $2,220,000 1,784 $1,244 $56,143,000 -33.8 6 Universal
8 Speed Racer $2,140,000 2,070 $1,034 $40,558,000 -45.7 4 Warner Bros.
9 Made of Honor $2,000,000 1,905 $1,050 $42,965,000 -40.3 5 Sony
10 Forgetting Sarah Marshall $1,040,000 768 $1,354 $60,466,000 -41.3 7 Universal