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Sunday, July 6, 2008

'Hancock' dominates July 4th weekend with $66m, July 4-6, 2008

July 4th once again belongs to Will Smith, as his big-budget superhero vehicle Hancock dominated the holiday frame with $66 million over the weekend and $107.3 million since its opening on Tuesday night. Pixar-Disney's Wall-e fell one spot to second with $33.4 million, going past the $100 million mark, while last week's sleeper hit Wanted dove 60% to $20.6 million.

Sony's $150 million summer gamble paid off handsomely, as their new IP Hancock rode squarely on the shoulders of its star Will Smith to a $107.3 million five-and-a-half day opening, the fourth biggest Independence Day opening frame in history. Only 2004's Spider-Man 2 with $180.1 million (over six days), 2007's Transformers with $155.4 million (over six days), and 2005's War of the Worlds with $112.7 million (also over six days) have opened with more.

Averaging a potent $16,646 from 3,965 theaters over the three-day weekend the Peter Berg-directed pic shrugged off very poor reviews from critics (those polled by Rottentomatoes.com gave the film a "rotten" 37% recommendation rating), relying exclusively on the star power of Will Smith to bring audiences into theaters over the holiday frame. Hancock was the star's eighth straight No. 1 opening, as well as his eighth consecutive film to break $100 million domestic.

Co-starring Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron, the PG-13 release became Smith's second biggest opening ever, surpassing 2004's I, Robot with a $52.17 million bow, and behind only last year's I Am Legend with $77 million.

July 4th came on a Friday this year, which meant a diminished sales number for Friday of $18.8 million. But the Sony release saw a 39% surge in sales on Saturday to $26.1 million, helping Hancock deliver its strong opening frame. Only time will tell whether word of mouth will carry the film throughout July, or if the hotly-anticipated The Dark Knight stamps it out forever in two weeks. Internationally, Hancock snapped up $78 million, bringing its global opening to $185.3 million.

Relinquishing its top spot was Pixar/Disney's computer-animated hit Wall-e, which fell 47% to an estimated $33.4 million over the three-day weekend. In ten days the critically-acclaimed G-rated sci-fi pic has amassed $128.1 million. Perhaps partly because July 4th fell on a Friday this year the robot pic fell a steep 47%, an unusually high number for a Pixar release. Last year's Ratatouille opened at the same time as Wall-e, falling just 38% over the July 4th weekend to $29 million.

At this point it looks highly unlikely that the Andrew Stanton-directed pic will have the kind of word-of-mouth to make a run at $300 million. Still, Wall-e's mid-week totals have been strong, and the film is running 9% ahead of DreamWorks Animation's hit Kung Fu Panda over the same ten-day frame. Look for the $180 million budgeted release to reach $240-245 million domestic by the end of its summer run.

Universal's surprise smash Wanted took a huge 60% dive in its sophomore frame thanks to Will Smith hogging the marquees this weekend, earning $20.6 million over the three-day frame. In ten days, the film has amassed $90.8 million, already vaulting the $75 million budgeted pic into profitability. Starring Angelina Jolie, the frenetic actioner should bullet towards $135 million domestic. Internationally Wanted continues to perform well, grossing $64.2 million total for a global cume of $155 million.

Falling 45% to fourth was Steve Carell's Get Smart, which took in $11.1 million this weekend. In three weeks the $80m Warner Bros. release has grossed $98.1 million.

Rounding out the top five was Paramount/DreamWorks Animation's animated hit Kung Fu Panda, which fell a slight 36% to $7.5 million this weekend. In five weeks the $130 million budgeted pic has grossed $193.3 million, vaulting past Toy Story's $191.7 million for No. 15 on the all-time animated feature list. Look for the Jack Black starrer to finish with $225 million domestic.

Debuting quietly in eighth was Abigail Breslin's kid pic Kit Kittredge: An American Girl which took in just $3.6 million over the weekend. Averaging just $1,954 in 1,843 theaters, the well-reviewed release failed to generate any buzz off its limited release sneaks two weeks ago. The Picturehouse release has grossed $6.1 million total.

Finally snapping its hot streak, the top ten films grossed an estimated $155.5 million, down 3% from last year's Independence Day frame when Transformers debuted with $70.5 million (July 4th fell on a Wednesday last year). However, it was still up 12% from 2006 when Superman Returns opened with $52.5 million.

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