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Sunday, July 13, 2008

'Hellboy II' takes weekend with $35.8m, July 11-13, 2008

Yet another superhero took charge this weekend, but it appears most moviegoers are saving their hard-earned cash for next week's superhero juggernaut The Dark Knight, which appears primed for a record debut. The top ten films finished the weekend down 17% from last year's comparable frame, when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix bowed with $77.1 million. Leading the charge was Universal's Hellboy II: The Golden Army with $35.9 million, knocking off last week's superhero champ Hancock which fell 47% to $33 million. Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D finished a strong third with $20.5 million, while Eddie Murphy's Meet Dave stumbled into seventh with just $5.3 million.

Universal's Hellboy II got off to a strong start as the Guillermo del Toro-directed actioner seized $35.9 million over its opening weekend, debuting nearly $13 million higher than its 2004 predecessor Hellboy (released by rival studio Sony Pictures). Averaging an impressive $11,200 in 3,204 theaters the $85 million budgeted comic book adaptation earned strong reviews from critics with 88% of those polled by Rottentomatoes.com giving the film a positive recommendation. But given a 14% drop in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday, word of mouth from audiences might not be as strong. The original Hellboy earned $59 million domestic, a number Hellboy II should easily surpass this summer.

Last week's champ Hancock fell 47% in its sophomore frame, adding another $33 million to its total. In 12 days the Will Smith blockbuster has amassed $165 million, and could finish with $250 million domestic. Budgeted at $150 million Hancock has already grossed $180 million internationally for a worldwide take of $345 million.

Opening strong in third was Brendan Fraser's Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, which took in an estimated $20.6 million in its debut frame. Released by Warner Bros. and produced by New Line, the $60 million budgeted release averaged a solid $7,321 in 2,811 theaters. Released in both 3D-equipped theaters and traditional (non-3D) theaters, Journey earned roughly 80% of its revenue in 3D theaters (just 854 of its 2,811 theaters showed the film in 3D). Reviews were generally favorable for the film.

Pixar-Disney's animated hit Wall-e added another $18.5 million to its collection, falling 43% to fourth. In three weeks the film has amassed $162.7 million. The 43% drop was worse than last year's Ratatouille, which fell 38% to $18 million over its third frame. It was significantly worse than 2006's Cars, which slipped just 31% to $23.3 million. To make matters worse, Ratatouille's 38% drop came on a weekend that saw the debut of Harry Potter VI and the sophomore frame of Transformers, both massive blockbusters that dwarf this summer's Hancock and Hellboy II. Despite opening $16 million bigger than Ratatouille, Wall-e is clearly not experiencing as strong a legs as that Oscar winning feature. Look for this latest Pixar creation to finish with $215-220 million domestic.

It was all bad news for Eddie Murphy's latest comedy Meet Dave, as the $60 million budgeted pic debuted with just $5.3 million this weekend. Not helping matters was the critical beating the film took amongst critics, with just 22% of those polled by Rottentomatoes.com giving the film a recommendation rating. The film managed a pathetic $1,760 in 3,011 theaters.

Rounding out the top ten was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with $2.3 million, pushing its eight week cume to $310.5 million. The film is now just $3 million behind Paramount's own Iron Man as the highest grossing film of 2008 so far. Iron Man debuted in May with $98 million, eventually finishing with $313.4 million domestic.

Falling out of the top ten was Universal's The Incredible Hulk, which took in an estimated $2.2 million this weekend for a $129.8 million cume. The film is just barely ahead of where Ang Lee's Hulk was back in 2003. Budgeted at $150 million, look for The Incredible Hulk to finish with $135 million. Internationally, the film has grossed $101.3 million, bringing its worldwide take to $231 million.

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