In what must be a first at the box office, an aerobics queen takes on killer zombies in a vicious battle for the silver medal during what no doubt will be another mammoth weekend for "Spider-Man 3."
Fox unleashes its horror sequel "28 Weeks Later," Universal counters with its femme-driven star vehicle "Georgia Rule," Lionsgate tosses in the comedy "Delta Farce," and MGM releases yet another laugher with "The Ex." Meanwhile, back in New York City, the webslinger will attempt to swing to a massive quarter-billion-dollar cume by the end of its second weekend.
As the second of ten sequels hitting theaters over the May-June corridor, "28 Weeks Later" is the follow-up to the cult hit zombie chiller "28 Days Later" which lit up theaters four years ago. Danny Boyle shifts from the director’s chair to the executive producer’s office as Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes the helm. "Days" was very well-received which explains why a sequel was greenlit. In the new installment, the killer virus infects people once again as London tries to repopulate and madness ensues. The built-in audience will help the R-rated "Weeks" right out of the gate.
Its predecessor bowed to $10.1M from only 1,260 theaters for a potent $7,986 average on its way to a solid $45.1M final. Through video and cable, it found an even larger fan base and many will give "Weeks" a try. However working against it is of course competition from "Spider-Man 3" which has a hold on fans of comics and sci-fi. Plus 2007 has seen 1,001 horror films flood theaters causing recent fright fatigue. Casual fans of scary movies may pass on "Weeks" if they’re trying to stay away from blood and gore. Fox’s marketing has been clever and effective and the target audience is excited. Plus reviews have been very positive which will help a bit too since most horror films nowadays are either not screened for critics in advance or earn poor marks. Attacking over 2,000 theaters, "28 Weeks Later" might scare up around $13M this weekend.
"28 Weeks Later"
For those looking to avoid zombies and super heroes in their weekend entertainment, Universal offers the dramedy "Georgia Rule" starring Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, and Felicity Huffman. The R-rated story tells of a teenage girl dumped at her grandmother’s house for the summer by her alcoholic mother which leads to the uncovering of family secrets. Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, "Georgia" will play almost exclusively to women as men will have to be dragged against their will. However, moviegoers from a broad age group should turn out since the cast boasts stars of different generations. The one troublespot could be the rating though. Lohan arguably still has pull with teenage girls who may be left out because of the MPAA’s tag. But the film’s two uses of the F word are essential to the story as are the adult themes so the R was unavoidable.
"Georgia Rule" should play to the same audience that the studio saw for previous chick flicks like Diane Keaton‘s "Because I Said So" ($13.1M opening, $5,195 average), Meryl Streep‘s "Prime" ($6.2M, $3,405), and Debra Messing‘s "The Wedding Date" ($11.1M, $6,566). Reaching the $23.1M debut of Fonda’s last film "Monster-in-Law" is not likely however since it won’t crossover into other demographic groups like the J. Lo pic did. The weekend’s new releases will not provide too much competition which means that the universal appeal of the webslinger sequel will be the main enemy. Bad reviews will eat into sales from mature adults, but many from the "Desperate Housewives" crowd will still make a trip out to this chick flick. "Georgia Rule" enters 2,523 theaters on Friday and could walk away with about $13M.
Larry the Cable Guy stars in the new military comedy "Delta Farce" which also hits theaters on Friday. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate finds three hapless men being mistaken for Army recruits who are sent to Iraq but mistakenly dropped in Mexico. Not since "Best Defense" has a film of this type been such an unwelcome entry in the marketplace. Young males are the only group likely to show interest and with Spidey in only his second swing, few will find this new comedy worth paying top dollar for. Plus starpower is lacking and none of the cast members are known for anchoring box office hits. Larry’s self-titled film last spring bowed to just $6.9M and this one will probably slump even lower. Opening in about 1,800 locations, "Delta Farce" will probably shoot up around $4M.
Zach Braff and Amanda Peet play a thirtysomething New York couple with a new baby in the new romantic comedy "The Ex" marketed by The Weinstein Company and distributed by MGM. In the PG-13 pic, the likable duo moves to Ohio where Braff’s character gets a job at her father’s ad agency where he butts heads with his wife’s former fling from high school. Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, and Donal Logue co-star. "The Ex" will be targeting the date crowd and young women, but will have rough sailing. "Georgia Rule" will already be tapping into the female moviegoing base and Spidey is attracting his share of women and young adults too. The promotional push has not been too forceful either so the film may end up with just the die-hard "Scrubs" fans. Mixed reviews won’t help either. Also, Braff and Peet are not box office anchors who sell lots of tickets. Sure "Garden State" was an indie hit with $26.8M in 2004, but that was a word-of-mouth platform release that made its money over time and not a commercial Hollywood comedy. Debuting in 1,009 theaters, "The Ex" might gross roughly $3M this weekend.
None of these new films will come close to defeating the mighty "Spider-Man 3" which will enjoy its second comfortable box office win in a row. But a steep fall is likely. The first webslinger flick opened at the beginning of May five years ago and dropped by only 38% on the second weekend which was phenomenal. But like most sequels, especialy third-parters, "Spider-Man 3" attracted so much of its total audience upfront that rapid erosion is assured. The previous record-holder for the biggest opening weekend, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," fell by 54% in its second adventure last July while its summer counterpart "X-Men: The Last Stand" tumbled by a troubling 67% in its sophomore frame. Of course that was coming off of a Memorial Day holiday opening so the decline was larger than normal.
"Spider-Man 3" has already been taking a hit during the week dropping to $10.3M on Monday and $8M on Tuesday. Those numbers come close to what "The Matrix Reloaded" took in on the same days after its colossal opening weekend in mid-May 2003. That sci-fi pic crashed 60% in its second weekend despite its sophomore frame being helped by a holiday. Luckily for the Sandman flick the competition this weekend will not be too menacing. "Spider-Man 3" could still fall by more than 55% to about $65M this weekend which would boost the domestic haul to a mammoth $247M in only ten days.
LAST YEAR: Tom Cruise topped the charts with "Mission Impossible: III" which dropped 48% in its second weekend to $25M. Opening in second place was the pricey disaster film "Poseidon" which debuted to $22.2M for Warner Bros. on its way to a disappointing $60.7M domestically. Worldwide, the Kurt Russell starrer grossed $182M. Robin Williams placed third with "RV" which eased by less than 10% to $10M in its third weekend. Lindsay Lohan stumbled into fourth with her new comedy "Just My Luck" which opened to a weak $5.7M on its way to $17.3M for Fox. Rounding out the top five was the horror flick "An American Haunting" with $3.6M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
As the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts get ready to rumble at the Super Bowl on Sunday, Hollywood goes into counterprogramming mode and targets female moviegoers with a pair of new releases.
Those looking for big names will get to laugh with the new comedy "Because I Said So" while those in the mood for a scare get the haunted house flick "The Messengers." Overall, it should be a low scoring game at North American multiplexes this weekend.
Diane Keaton leaves behind the men and anchors her own comedy in "Because I Said So" playing an overbearing mother trying to find the right man for her youngest daughter. Directed by Michael Lehmann ("Heathers," "40 Days and 40 Nights"), the PG-13 film boasts some added girlpower in the cast with Mandy Moore, Piper Perabo, and Lauren Graham playing the daughters. The Universal release will undoubtedly skew heavily female and heavily Caucasian, but the acting ensemble could lead to a broad age range with mature women drawn in by Keaton’s motherly problems and young women connecting with the sisters. Aside from Mother’s Day weekend, the Super Bowl frame could indeed be the best time to launch a film like this as male interest will be low.
In a world where Meryl Streep can open "The Devil Wears Prada" to $27.5M, Jane Fonda can drive "Monster-in-Law" to a $23.1M debut, and Helen Mirren keeps bringing in audiences month after month with "The Queen," there certainly is box office gold with Hollywood’s elder stateswomen. Whether Keaton can join the ranks with this particular vehicle might be a different story. The studio has been pushing "Because" with great energy, but poor reviews could prompt many to just wait for the DVD. Starpower should help drive women of different ages to the box office and away from football and in a weak marketplace, that may be enough to reach the top spot. Opening in 2,526 theaters, "Because I Said So" might debut with around $14M.
Also opening on Friday is "The Messengers," the fourth horror film in as many weeks to hit multiplexes. The PG-13 film directed by the Hong Kong-born Pang brothers tells the story of a family that moves into a run-down old house only to find creepy forces at play. Audiences have rejected every fright flick Hollywood has offered since October and "The Messengers" does not seem to bring anything new and exciting to the table to change things. Teens and young adults seem to be the core audience and with the big game in Miami commanding a lot of attention from the boys, Sony is hoping that teenage girls will be up for a scare. Marketing has been textbook and identical to every other horror pic. The starpower battle will be lost against "Because" so this flick will have to cater to those young ladies who do not want to be reminded of how meddlesome mothers can be. "The Messengers" opens in 2,528 theaters and could scare up around $12M for the weekend.
Among holdovers, the spoof comedy "Epic Movie" may have won last weekend’s box office derby beating fellow freshman "Smokin’ Aces," but the R-rated action pic has taken over at number one each day during the mid-week period as "Epic" fans have gone back to class. The Fox comedy should see the larger drop as word-of-mouth will be nonexistent given its pathetic 3% score on RottenTomatoes.com which makes it the odds-on favorite so far for next year’s Razzie Awards. A 50% fall would leave "Epic Movie" with about $9M and a ten-day cume of $30M.
"Smokin’ Aces" has held up better during the week and newcomers won’t threaten its audience of young men that much. A 45% drop would give the Universal release around $8M for the weekend and a total of $27M after ten days.
The blockbuster "Night at the Museum" will enjoy yet another weekend when no kid movies enter the marketplace. That should lead to a small drop, possibly 25%, giving the Ben Stiller pic roughly $7M for the frame pushing the cume to an amazing $225M.
LAST YEAR: Thrills ruled the box office as the scary pic "When a Stranger Calls" opened at number one with a strong $21.6M to easily lead the frame. Sony found its way to $47.9M. Fox’s "Big Momma’s House 2" dropped a notch to second with $13.6M in its second weekend while the kidpic "Nanny McPhee" finished in third with $9.8M. "Brokeback Mountain" climbed to the highest position of its entire run coming in fourth place with $6M. Rounding out the top five was the animated hit "Hoodwinked" with $5.3M. Focus opened its new cross-cultural romantic comedy "Something New" in seventh place with a mild $4.9M on its way to only $11.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Wolverine, Professor X, and the rest of their soul patrol will launch a full-scale attack on the North American box office this weekend as the gargantuan comic book film X-Men: The Last Stand invades the marketplace on Friday ready to dominate the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Rival studios have ceded the frame to the much anticipated Fox sequel as no other film will open in wide release. But with the religious thriller The Da Vinci Code coming off of a spectacular opening, and the animated hit Over the Hedge doing well with family audiences, it should be a very busy four-day weekend at the megaplexes as all types of moviegoers will have something worth spending money on.
The world’s favorite mutants embark on what could be their final mission in X-Men: The Last Stand which has its eyes set on breaking the opening weekend record for the Memorial Day frame. After directing the first two successful installments, Bryan Singer jumped ship to helm Superman Returns opening up the director’s chair on Stand for Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon). All the primary cast members have returned including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn, and Anna Paquin. Kelsey Grammer joins the cast playing Beast.
The X-Men franchise has grown in size throughout this decade. After the demise of the Batman franchise in 1997, the comic book genre seemed dead until the first X-Men arrived in July of 2000 with a powerful $54.5M bow firmly planting Marvel in the feature film business. Three years later, Fox plugged the sequel X2: X-Men United into the prominent first weekend of May slot and blasted off to the tune of $85.6M. Final domestic grosses reached $157.3M and $214.9M respectively and with video and television, the franchise lured in more and more converts. Unlike most of 2003’s other summer action sequels like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, X2 was a second installment that was even more popular than the first making fans crave yet another film in the series.
X-Men remains one of the top comic properties around and speculation that this will be the final installment will make fans not want to miss out. Between the escalating actor salaries and the heavy dependence on expensive special effects, Fox and Marvel Entertainment probably couldn’t afford to bankroll an X-Men 4 even if they wanted to. With the Star Wars prequels having finished up and this franchise closing up shop soon, Fox is looking to squeeze every dime it can out of The Last Stand. Its next big super hero flick won’t take off until June 15 of next year when Fantastic Four 2 hits screens a cool six weeks after Sony’s Spider-Man 3. It’s no surprise then why Fox is rolling out its tentpole pic in almost every major market around the world this weekend.
For this weekend, X-Men has a secret weapon in its arsenal which should propel its numbers at the box office – teens. Studios have not done a good job over the last several weeks in exciting the most desirable of all age groups. MI3, Poseidon, and The Da Vinci Code all skewed older leaving high school students thinking these were their parents’ summer movies. Afterall, the average 16-year-old was only six when Tom Cruise first wowed audiences in Mission: Impossible. Finally with the mutant posse, Hollywood is delivering the goods for teens and young adults offering an action-packed adventure heavy on the type of special effects and action that people are eager to pay money for. No wait-for-the-DVD here. A strong turnout from this age group should be at the core of X-Men’s success this weekend.
Most folks who drove X2 past the double century mark three years ago are likely to return this time. That film had virtually no competition to deal with whereas Last Stand will face a pair of potent sophomores that could rake in over $70M combined over the four-day stretch. However, the new film has the added benefit of three years of ticket price increases, a holiday frame that should power Sunday and Monday numbers to exceptional heights, and a fan base that is likely to have grown even larger since the last film.
For nine long years, Steven Spielberg‘s dinosequel The Lost World has held the record for the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever with a colossal $92.7M over four days including Thursday night previews. The record for the largest overall weekend tally over the frame is held by 2004’s Shrek 2 which hauled in a stunning $95.6M over four days while in its second weekend. X-Men hopes to become the first film to open to nine digits over this long holiday span.
The month of May has been chock full of eye-popping four-day openings from effects-driven action films appealing to mass audiences looking to start their summer off with a bang. Four-day opening tallies in recent years include $158.4M for last year’s Star Wars Episode III, $134.3M for The Matrix Reloaded, $110.2M for Star Wars Episode II, and $85.8M for The Day After Tomorrow. The Last Stand may not have the same level of anticipation as some of those blockbusters, but it does have a loyal fan following that is ready to pounce on theaters this weekend. Fox is aiming to dominate the box office this weekend opening X-Men: The Last Stand in 3,688 theaters. The super hero extravaganza might fly off with around $108M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday session setting a new industry record.
With only one major studio release invading theaters, a number of smaller distributors are using the holiday frame to launch limited release titles. Yash Raj Films enters most major markets on Friday with the Bollywood release Fanaa which stars one of India’s biggest box office draws Aamir Khan. Paramount’s new specialty division Paramount Vantage opened Al Gore‘s global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth in four theaters on Wednesday. The PG-rated film chronicles the former Vice President’s mission on educating the world on environmental issues that are threatening our civilization and will expand into more markets across the country in the weeks ahead.
Opening in solo houses in New York City are the Jewish road drama Shem and the Filipino thriller Cavite. HP Releasing’s Shem finds a young man traveling across Europe to find his great grandfather’s grave while Truly Indie’s Cavite is a no-budget kidnapping drama in which a man arrives in the Philippines and is forced to commit heinous deeds by a terrorist if he wants to see his family alive again. Both films open in Los Angeles later in June.
Last weekend, Ron Howard‘s The Da Vinci Code opened to explosive results grossing a staggering $77.1M in its first three days. Over the holiday frame, the conspiracy thriller will benefit from adults having extra time off, a four-day span, and the fact that the only new film entering theaters will play to a somewhat different audience. However, Code generated a frontloaded bow last weekend with Friday accounting for an extraordinarily high 39% of the three-day take and Saturday sales seeing a slight dip. Fans of the book certainly rushed out on the first day to see Tom Hanks play symbologist Robert Langdon so now the film must survive having already burned through its core crowd.
Studios routinely pick the weekend before the Memorial Day frame as a launching pad for their biggest blockbusters, but sophomore declines over the holiday can vary. In 2003, the much-hyped sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded saw its four-day holiday gross tumble 50% from its three-day debut gross. The following year, Shrek 2 slipped just 12% while last year’s Star Wars Episode III dropped a more moderate 35%. Code does not play to a sci-fi crowd or to an audience of children so its numbers will be closely watched.
The Sony smash has performed admirably during the week grossing a fantastic $8.8M on Monday, helped in part by Canada’s Victoria Day holiday, and another $6.2M on Tuesday. Code looks to crack the magical $100M mark by the end of its first full week in theaters before heading right into a sophomore frame cushioned by a holiday. Since word-of-mouth is just average, The Da Vinci Code may see its four-day take drop by 40% to around $46M. That would allow the much-talked-about film’s 11-day cume to surge to $148M.
The animated comedy Over the Hedge got off to a solid start last weekend and should continue to be the leading choice for families with younger kids. A 20% drop to about $31M over four days would give Paramount $79M after 11 days. The studio’s spy sequel Mission: Impossible III looks to fall by around 35% to roughly $7M giving Tom Cruise a total of $114M. The disaster flick Poseidon could fall by the same amount to around $6M lifting the sum to $45M for Warner Bros.
LAST YEAR The Memorial Day weekend box office was on fire thanks to a selection of red hot hits helping the top four films alone gross more than $200M over four days. Star Wars Episode III remained at number one for the second weekend with a commanding $70M over the Friday-to-Monday span boosting its 12-day cume to an eye-popping $270.5M. DreamWorks went after younger kids with its animated hit Madagascar which bowed to a hefty $61M to take second place while the studio’s future parent Paramount was close behind in third with the Adam Sandler comedy The Longest Yard which opened to $58.6M. The two blockbusters, which both featured Chris Rock, went on to gross $193.2M and $158.1M, respectively. More funny flicks followed with New Line’s Monster-in-Law dropping to fourth with $12.8M over the long weekend and Universal’s Kicking and Screaming taking in $6.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Will North American moviegoers pay heed this weekend to negative reviews coming out of Cannes? That is the question on the minds of Sony brass, and industry watchers in general, on the eve of the much-anticipated global launch of "The Da Vinci Code." The mega-hyped conspiracy thriller will not be the only new entry hitting theaters, though. DreamWorks goes after the family audience with its latest computer animated comedy "Over the Hedge" which debuts ultrawide while Lionsgate offers a more subdued opening for its new horror film "See No Evil." After a weaker-than-expected start to the summer movie season, Hollywood is hoping for its highest-grossing weekend of the year to help kick things into gear.
Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard reteam over a decade after "Apollo 13" for the controversial new film "The Da Vinci Code," the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. The PG-13 film assembles a top-notch cast from both France and the United Kingdom including Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, and Ian McKellen. An unprecedented global roll-out into a reported 11,000-plus screens overseas will ensure that the film generates one of the largest worldwide opening weekend grosses in history, no matter who is denouncing it. Much has been written about the subject matter of the book and the opposition that it sparked from Christian leaders around the world. Now, the issue shifts to the effects these feelings will have on the box office performance.
Sony’s marketing team has been carefully planning every step of the campaign leaving nothing to chance. Its decision to withhold the standard early screenings for members of the press can be attributed to one of two reasons. Either they knew reviews would be bad so show it at the last moment, or they wanted to heighten anticipation and funnel it all right into the opening weekend. Or maybe it was a combination of the two. Regardless, the first wave of reviews hit this week following the screenings at the Cannes Film Festival and the majority of critics have been disappointed with some completely trashing the Mona Lisa pic. This should certainly have an impact on the grosses since as an adult-skewing film, "Code"’s customers are likely to listen to what reviewers have to say. Fans of the book and those caught up in the hoopla may not be affected much, but those on the fringes who have had a bit of curiosity may now wait until word-of-mouth kicks in. For so many big films in the past, critics and ordinary movie fans have been on two completely different pages.
The starpower of Hanks is the anchor for "Da Vinci" and fellow Oscar winner Howard provides an added level of prestige to the picture. But the opposition to the film’s subject matter will play an important part of the opening weekend. Many religious groups have been urging people not to see the film. Some will stay away, but the media hype is only making others more curious to see what the fuss is all about. With the big premiere in France, there has been endless press coverage putting the spotlight on the film so awareness is very high. To Sony’s credit, the hype that it created has been better managed than what Paramount experienced with "Mission: Impossible III" a couple of weeks ago. Americans don’t seem to be sick of Hanks the way they were with Cruise who became overexposed.
Competition will be somewhat of a factor as "MI3" and "Poseidon," while both performing below expectations, will still be pulling in mature adult audiences this weekend and will combine for about $25M or so in ticket sales. "Da Vinci" does not have clear sailing. However, its audience is well-defined, energized, and looking at this as an event picture. Sony is hoping to tap into the curiosity factor and pull in those who have read the book in addition to those who have not who are more drawn in by the starpower and hype. Whether teens care to show up in large numbers this weekend, or wait a week and get their McKellen fix when he dons his Magneto helmet, could determine how high "Da Vinci" goes. Solving its mystery in 3,735 theaters in North America on Friday, "The Da Vinci Code" might open in the area of $60M this weekend.
Crashing into theaters with zero controversy is the DreamWorks animated adventure "Over the Hedge" which will play to a family audience. The PG-rated film tells the story of a group of animals from the wilderness who cross into a foreign land — the backyards of suburbia. Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes, and Nick Nolte all lend their voices to the colorful pack of characters. The studio has been a driving force in the world of computer animation and has had hits outside of its "Shrek" franchise with 2004’s "Shark Tale" and last May’s "Madagascar" which both opened to three-day tallies of close to $48M a piece.
Both ogre pics bowed on the weekend before the long Memorial Day frame so they can generate two blockbuster weekends to get things going. Last year, with "Star Wars Episode III" claiming the coveted spot already, the studio launched "Madagascar" during the holiday frame. This time, DreamWorks has reclaimed its favorite spot on the calendar and with parents not likely to want to take their young ones to see religious conspiracies, sinking ships, or gun-wielding spies, "Over the Hedge" will have smooth sailing with its target audience.
But all will not be easy at the box office. For one thing, audiences have been bombarded by animated films with cute animals over the past six months. "Chicken Little," "Hoodwinked," "Doogal," "Curious George," "The Wild," and of course the mammothly successful "Ice Age" sequel have been hitting up families with options and not all lived happily ever after. Also, "Hedge" lacks a major comic voice as an anchor to the picture. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Ray Romano, and even Will Smith have been instrumental in drawing crowds to their toons. In "Hedge," Carell steals the show with his zany antics, but the supporting role does not allow the whole marketing campaign to be built around it. Plus, the tame storyline is good for young children, but is not hip enough to lure in large numbers of teens which is what you need to really see the grosses swell.
Like with all of its big animated films, DreamWorks has backed "Over the Hedge" with a ton of marketing dollars to make it into a must-see for families. The lack of direct competition in the marketplace will be a crucial factor and with vacation time coming up, parents should be out looking for things to do with their kids over the next two weeks. And with some groups encouraging those who can’t resist "Da Vinci" to buy tickets for "Hedge" before walking into the Hanks pic’s auditorium, there could be some bonus bucks to pick up too. Busting into over 3,800 theaters, "Over the Hedge" might capture around $38M this weekend.
Pro wrestler Kane jumps from the squared circle to the big screen in the new horror film "See No Evil" opening in moderate national release this Friday. The R-rated film hopes to draw in the millions of fans of World Wrestling Entertainment with the type of pic most enjoy watching. In "Evil," Kane (or Glen Jacobs as his driver’s license says) plays a psycho killer who terrorizes a group of teen punks. Sure, not the most original idea for the genre. But distributor Lionsgate has a solid track record marketing successful fright flicks with plenty of gore. Older teens and young adults will make up the primary audience and a male skew is likely. "Da Vinci" will be cutting into all audiences so competition will be tough even though there are no formidable horror titles out there now.
The marketplace has endured a long line of horror flicks this year and many recent ones have not worked out well indicating fans could be getting picky. Since the plot has nothing new to offer, "Evil" must sell itself on the untested starpower of Kane as there are no other commercial hooks here. Hardcore wrestling fans might make it out, but the real audience should find this one on DVD around back-to-school season. Opening in over 1,000 theaters, "See No Evil" might debut to around $4M.
The arrival of "The Da Vinci Code" should make the marketplace’s two leading films nervous. Both "Mission: Impossible III" and "Poseidon" are playing to adult audiences looking for action and thrills and with the media spotlight fully pointed at Hanks and his buddies this week, direct competition will be intense. "MI3" has become the first film to top the charts over the first two weekends of May since 2003’s "X2: X-Men United." With Da Vinci attacking, Tom Cruise can retire to his stay-at-home dad duties now as his latest spy sequel looks to tumble by 45% to about $13.5M. That would give Paramount $106M in 17 days for their expensive summer entry.
The chance to see a mighty ocean liner capsize just wasn’t enough to lure in many movie fans last weekend for "Poseidon." Word-of-mouth is nothing more than average and the Ron Howard thriller will hit the sinking ship flick where it hurts this weekend. A 50% drop would leave the disaster film with roughly $11M for the frame and a disappointing $39M in ten days for the $160M Warner Bros. release.
LAST YEAR: George Lucas unleashed his final Jedi flick with "Star Wars Episode III" which dominated the box office debuting to a colossal $108.4M over three days and a towering $158.4M over the Thursday-to-Sunday opening period. Fox scored the second largest Friday-to-Sunday bow in history trailing the $114.8M of 2002’s "Spider-Man" which launched on a Friday. "Episode III" went on to gross $380.3M domestically and $849M worldwide becoming the top-grossing film of the year in North America and the second biggest global hit of 2005 after the last "Harry Potter" pic. Afraid of the Force, all other studios took a vacation by not opening anything against the Darth Vader film. Second place went to the chick flick comedy hit "Monster-in-Law" which grossed $14.4M in its second weekend while third place was taken by the Will Ferrell comedy "Kicking and Screaming" with $10.7M. Future Oscar champ "Crash" enjoyed the lowest decline in the top ten slipping 21% to $5.5M and the Jet Li actioner "Unleashed" rounded out the top five with $4.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, BoxOfficeGuru.com
Tom Cruise‘s spy sequel Mission: Impossible III remained the most popular film in North America for the second straight weekend while the big-budget disaster film Poseidon opened in second place to disappointing results.
The frame’s other new releases, the Lindsay Lohan comedy Just My Luck and the soccer drama Goal! The Dream Begins, opened miserably as well giving the industry little to celebrate. Overall ticket sales fell behind those of the comparable weekend in each of the last four years as a sluggish marketplace waits for that one true summer blockbuster that draws the masses into the multiplexes.
Despite a weaker-than-expected opening weekend, Paramount’s MI3 enjoyed a respectable sophomore frame dropping 49% to an estimated $24.5M to retain its standing as the number one film. Playing in an ultrawide 4,059 theaters, the Ethan Hunt actioner averaged a solid $6,039 per location and raised its ten-day total to $84.6M. The decline was very similar to the 48% second weekend fall for last summer’s big spy flick Mr. & Mrs. Smith which grossed $26M in its sophomore shot after a $50.3M bow. The Pitt-Jolie vehicle, however, captured a more muscular $96.7M in its first ten days thanks in part to a June release when more students were out of school.
With so many action sequels tumbling by 55% or more on the second weekend, Mission: Impossible III managed to hold up relatively well. Competition from Poseidon was not formidable so moviegoers were not drawn away to another big event pic. The latest Ethan Hunt film will face its true test this Friday when the much-anticipated thriller The Da Vinci Code starring that other Tom opens followed a week later by the mutant juggernaut X-Men: The Last Stand. At its current pace, look for MI3 to reach $130-140M domestically making it the lowest grossing installment of the decade-old franchise. The first Mission: Impossible grossed $181M in 1996 while MI2 took in $215.4M in 2000. Overseas, MI3 jumped to $129.2M in foreign sales putting the worldwide tally at $213.8M in under two weeks. The global box office gross looks to be on a trajectory to hit $350M.
Failing to sink Cruise’s ship, the ocean liner disaster pic Poseidon settled for the runner-up spot this weekend opening with an estimated $20.3M from 3,555 locations. Warner Bros. generated a decent but not impressive per-theater average of $5,717 with its first pricey entry of the summer movie season. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen (The Perfect Storm, Air Force One), the PG-13 film was a remake of the 1972 picture The Poseidon Adventure and starred Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, and Richard Dreyfuss as passengers on a luxury ship who must fight to survive after a rogue wave capsizes the vessel. Poseidon opened weaker than other big-budget maritime action films like 2003’s Master and Commander ($25.1M), 2000’s The Perfect Storm ($41.3M), and even 1995’s infamous Waterworld ($21.2M).
Although audiences in years past have flocked to May disaster films like Twister, Deep Impact, and The Day After Tomorrow, this time Poseidon lacked the goods to draw in a paying audience. Reviews were not kind which also made the adult-skewing picture a tough sell. Varying reports on the film’s budget put the production cost in excess of $160M so a stellar run internationally and on DVD will be needed in order to turn a profit. Poseidon set sail in a handful of Asian countries to the tune of $4.4M this weekend, but will open in most foreign territories in June and July.
Once again scoring the best hold among all wide releases was the Robin Williams family comedy RV which dipped a mere 14% in its third weekend to an estimated $9.5M. The Sony hit has collected a solid $42.8M in 17 days.
Ticket buyers ignored Lindsay Lohan’s new film Just My Luck which flopped in its opening weekend grossing a mere $5.5M, according to estimates. The Fox release averaged an unlucky $2,165 per location and played almost exclusively to a teen girl audience. Studio research showed that the crowd for Luck was a remarkably high 80% female and 70% under the age of 25. Critics, not surprisingly, panned the film.
Horror flick An American Haunting enjoyed a solid sophomore session dropping only 36% to an estimated $3.7M for fifth place. Distributed by Freestyle Releasing, the PG-13 thriller has banked $10.9M in ten days and should scare its way to a mediocre $17-19M. Universal’s 9/11 thriller United 93 followed with an estimated $3.6M, down just 33%, lifting the cume to a decent $25.6M.
The teen gymnastics pic Stick It dropped 41% to an estimated $3.2M to land in the number seven spot with a total to date of $22.2M for Buena Vista. Fox’s animated sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown, still the top-grossing film of 2006, grossed an estimated $3M sliding just 29% in its seventh weekend. No other film has spent as many weeks in the top ten this year. Cume stands at $187.4M domestically and over $600M worldwide.
Sony’s fright pic Silent Hill placed ninth with an estimated $2.2M, off 45%, for a sum of $44.5M thus far. The New Line flop Hoot fell 37% to an estimated $2.1M in its second outing as the total inched up to a dismal $6.2M. Last weekend, the owl film had the distinction of suffering the worst opening in history for a film debuting in over 3,000 theaters. Hoot’s puny $3.4M bow in 3,018 sites beat out the dismal $6M launch from 3,006 theaters of 2004’s New York Minute starring the Olsen Twins for that unfortunate honor.
Another film failing to connect with kids was Buena Vista’s new soccer drama Goal! The Dream Begins which kicked off its run with a weak estimate of only $2M. The PG-rated film failed to qualify for the top ten this weekend and averaged a poor $1,989 from 1,007 locations.
Two April releases fell from the top ten this weekend. The spoof comedy Scary Movie 4 dropped 44% to an estimated $2.1M in its fifth frame. With $86.6M to date, The Weinstein Co. release looks to finish with roughly $90M which would not be far off from the $110M of its predecessor 2003’s Scary Movie 3. The Lionsgate family drama Akeelah and the Bee declined 41% to an estimated $2M in only its third turn. Cume sits at just $13.6M and should reach $16-18M.
Opening in limited release this weekend, Miramax’s family reunion comedy Keeping Up with the Steins grossed an estimated $621,000 from 138 locations for a respectable $4,500 average. The PG-13 film stars Garry Marshall, Jeremy Piven, and Daryl Hannah. The Swaziland-set drama Wah-Wah debuted in 25 theaters and grossed an estimated $57,000 for a mild $2,270 average. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, and Emily Watson, the R-rated film is distributed by Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Among indie films expanding into more markets, Sony Classics grossed an estimated $1.2M from its comedy Art School Confidential after widening from 12 to 762 theaters across the country. That left the John Malkovich–Anjelica Huston starrer with a pitiful $1,593 average per venue as it failed to register with moviegoers on a national level. Cume is $1.4M. Fox Searchlight expanded its Indian drama Water from 36 to 62 locations and grossed an estimated $257,000 for a $4,138 average. Total sits at $593,000 with more markets opening on Friday.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $77.7M which was down 15% from last year when Monster-in-Law opened at number one with $23.1M; and down 23% from 2004 when Troy debuted in the top spot with $46.9M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, BoxOfficeGuru.com
Popular director Robert Luketic seems to have lined up his next project, despite his attachment to the long-gestating "Dallas" adaptation. "21" is based on a non-fiction book about a bunch of math geeks who figure out a way to rob a casino blind.
Says The Hollywood Reporter: "Robert Luketic is in negotiations to direct "21" for Columbia Pictures. The helmer, who had been prepping to direct the big-screen version of the ’80s soap "Dallas" for Regency Enterprises / 20th Century Fox, likely would make "21" his next project. It is unclear how Luketic’s negotiations with Columbia will affect his involvement in "Dallas" or the ongoing casting of the ensemble film. "21," based on Ben Mezrich’s best-selling nonfiction book "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions," revolves around a group of young men who become experts in the art of card counting."
According to Variety, the big-screen version of 1980s TV soap "Dallas" is likely to include Jennifer Lopez, Luke Wilson, John Travolta, and Shirley MacLaine; "Monster-In-Law" helmer Robert Luketic will direct.
This casting line-up is not yet confirmed, but the trades think it’s nearly a done deal. If negotiations do go through, we’ll see Travolta as Texas oil tycoon J.R. Ewing, MacLaine as matriarch Miss Ellie, Wilson as nice guy Bobby, and J. Lo as Sue Ellen Shepard (or, as you might remember, Larry Hagman, Barbara Bel Geddes, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray).
Courtesy of their official site come the annual Razzie Awards Nominations … or as I like to call them: The Amazingly Obvious Fish in a Barrel Nominations in Which We Savage People We Don’t Like, Regardless of the Quality of Their Work. Oh, and it seems the Razzers have decided to branch out an include a "Most Tiresome" category, which I happen to find pretty ironic.
26th Annual Golden Raspberry (RAZZIE®) Award Nominations
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask
Tom Cruise / War of the Worlds
Will Ferrell / Bewitched and Kicking & Screaming
Jamie Kennedy / Son of the Mask
The Rock / Doom
Rob Schneider / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Jessica Alba / Fantastic Four and Into the Blue
Hilary Duff / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Perfect Man
Jennifer Lopez / Monster in Law
Jenny McCarthy / Dirty Love
Tara Reid / Alone in the Dark
MOST TIRESOME TABLOID TARGETS
(New Category, Saluting the Celebs We’re ALL Sick & Tired Of!)
Tom Cruise & His Anti-Psychiatry Rant
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Oprah Winfrey‘s Couch, The Eiffel Tower & “Tom’s Baby”
Paris Hilton and…Who-EVER!
Mr. & Mrs. Britney, Their Baby & Their Camcorder
The Simpsons: Ashlee, Jessica & Nick
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Hayden Christensen / Star Wars III: No Sith, He’s Supposed to Be Darth Vader?!?!
Alan Cumming / Son of the Mask
Bob Hoskins / Son of the Mask
Eugene Levy / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Man
Burt Reynolds / The Dukes of Hazzard and The Longest Yard
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Carmen Electra / Dirty Love
Paris Hilton / House of Wax
Katie Holmes / Batman Begins
Ashlee Simpson / Undiscovered
Jessica Simpson / The Dukes of Hazzard
WORST SCREEN COUPLE
Will Ferrell & Nicole Kidman / Bewitched
Jamie Kennedy & ANYBODY Stuck Sharing the Screen with Him / Son of the Mask
Jenny McCarthy & ANYONE Dumb Enough to Befriend or Date Her / Dirty Love
Rob Schneider & His Diapers / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Jessica Simpson & Her “Daisy Dukes” / The Dukes of Hazzard
WORST REMAKE OR SEQUEL
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask
John Asher / Dirty Love
Uwe Boll / Alone in the Dark
Jay Chandrasekhar / The Dukes of Hazzard
Nora Ephron / Bewitched
Lawrence Guterman / Son of the Mask
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard Written
Son of the Mask
My apologies to the Razz Crew, but I think they could put a lot more effort into their nominations. And maybe learn to tell the difference between "bad performances" and "stuff we just feel like ranting about." (And perhaps stop nominating one person for multiple performances, because then it just becomes obvious that you’re gunning for someone. Example: They hated Ferrell in the witch comedy and the soccer flick, but they loved his work in "The Producers?" Phooey.)
Am I too harsh? Are the Razzies really cool and I’m just a crotchety old whiner? Quite possible.
ComingSoon.net shares a bit of news reported E! News, and it’s something that should please the fans of the killer-animal flicks. Greg McLean, writer/director of the upcoming "Wolf Creek," will lens "Rogue" down in Australia, which is a thriller about a giant croc that terrorizes the outback.
CS.net says: "E! News is reporting that Michael Vartan ("Alias," "Monster-in-Law") and Radha Mitchell (the upcoming "Silent Hill") will star in writer/director Greg McLean’s "Rogue" for The Weinstein Co.
The film, about a giant crocodile stalking tourists in the Australian outback, will shoot Down Under. Pre-production is reportedly taking place in Port Melbourne.
Five years ago, the script centered on a cynical U.S. travel writer who goes on a river cruise captained by a tough Australian woman and finds himself among a group of people stranded on a tidal mud island.
McLean, who also wrote and directed "Wolf Creek," previously said, "The thing about crocodiles is that they are scary if you just tell the truth about them.""
Over the past few days, we’ve tried to counter the common misconception that this summer’s cinematic fare was bereft of quality. However, that doesn’t mean the season was without some stinkers, at least critically speaking.
The most rotten movie of the summer was "Supercross: The Movie," which won praise from two percent of the critics. "Undiscovered," the title of which was often used derisively in reviews, stood at four percent. Rounding out the top five were "The Perfect Man" (six percent) "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" (10 percent), and "Honeymooners" (12 percent). The most rotten limited release of the summer was the Aussie slasher flick "Undead."
Here’s the 20 most rotten films of the summer, in ascending order:
2% — Supercross: The Movie
4% — Undiscovered
6% — The Perfect Man
10% — Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
12% — Honeymooners
13% — Stealth
14% — Rebound
14% — The Cave
17% — Monster-In-Law
17% — The Dukes of Hazzard
20% — The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D
23% — House of Wax
23% — Valiant
23% — Undead
25% — Bewitched
25% — Fantastic Four
27% — 9 Songs
28% — Mindhunters
28% — Pretty Persuasion
28% — The Baxter
Check out the rest of our coverage:
– Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up: Box Office Down, Tomatometer Up
– Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up #2: The Best of the Wide Releases
– Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up #3: The Best of the Limited Releases
MovieFone brings us a 6-month-early sneak peek at the Jim Carrey ("The Mask") / Tea Leoni ("Spanglish") comedy "Fun with Dick and Jane." Directed by Dean Parisot ("Galaxy Quest"), "Fun" tells the tale of a seemingly normal middle-class married couple who rob and steal to keep the money rolling in.
This comedy is, of course, a remake of the 1977 film of the same name that starred George Segal ("Flirting with Disaster") and Jane Fonda ("Monster-in-Law"). Adapted from the original screenplay by pals Nick Stoller & Judd Apatow (TV’s "Undeclared"), "Fun with Dick and Jane" hits theaters on December 21st.
Despite some rock-solid competition, "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" grossed an impressive $70.8 million in its second weekend. Bolstered by a 4-day holiday frame, George Lucas‘ sixth and final space opera reigned supreme over a pair of wide-release newcomers — but the competition did pretty darn well, too. The DreamWorks animated comedy "Madagascar" drew the family ticket, grossing $61 million over the Memorial Day weekend (in over 4,100 theaters), while the Adam Sandler sports flick "The Longest Yard" was close behind with a tally of $60 million in just over 3,600 theaters.
Well behind in 4th place was "Monster-in-Law," which added $11m to its total grosses ($60m), and "Kicking & Screaming," which made $6.5m, bringing its total up to $44m. "Sith"s total domestic box office thus far is $271m, and its doing some serious business overseas as well. ($520m worldwide in less than two weeks!)
Next week sees the release of three newcomers: Warner Bros.’ "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," the Ron Howard / Russell Crowe sports drama "Cinderella Man," and Catherine Hardwicke‘s skateboarding docu-drama "Lords of Dogtown." For a closer look at the money charts, you can always stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.
Needless to say, "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" was the number one movie at the box office this weekend … and it absolutely demolished a few records in the process. "Sith" grossed just over $158 million in its first four days of release as it debuted on over 9,000 screens.
Weekend-wise, "Sith" scored $108 million between Friday and Sunday, which means that "Spider-Man" still holds the opening weekend record with its $114 million haul. But the sixth and final chapter of George Lucas‘ space saga snagged several box office records, including biggest single day, biggest midnight screening tally, biggest opening day, biggest two-, three- and four-day total, and fastest to $100 million (3 days, tied with "Spider-Man" and "The Matrix Reloaded"). It also broke the record for quickest to $150m, too. Worldwide the prequel has grossed just over $303 million!
As for the other films presently playing in the multiplexes, second place went to the romantic comedy "Monster-in-Law," which pulled in $14 million in its second weekend. The Will Ferrell family flick "Kicking & Screaming" grossed $10.5m for third place, and the top five were rounded out by "Crash" ($5.5m) and "Unleashed" ($3.8m). For a closer look at the box office tallies, feel free to stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.