Universal looks to score its first number one hit in nearly a year this weekend with the new Steve Carell comedy "Evan Almighty" which hits the multiplexes on Friday targeting a broad family audience.

Reaching out to adult moviegoers are MGM with the John Cusack chiller "1408" and Paramount Vantage with the Angelina Jolie starrer "A Mighty Heart." Overall, the marketplace could slow down a bit this weekend before another wave of high-profile summer blockbusters arrives towards the end of June.

The sixth consecutive sequel to open at number one has a different formula up its sleeve. "Evan Almighty" loses Jim Carrey from "Bruce Almighty," drops the rating from PG-13 to PG, and shifts the plot over to a Biblical story while courting family audiences. Michael Bay isn’t the only one with a transformer at the box office this summer. Universal’s big-budget comedy offering should easily top the charts, however the financial picture will be very different. Steve Carell, whose starpower has blossomed since the 2003’s "Bruce," takes over as the lead playing a TV anchorman-turned-congressman who is told by God to build an ark because a mighty flood is coming. Morgan Freeman reprises his supporting role as the big G.

On a budget rumored to have ballooned to $175M thanks to extensive special effects and overages, "Evan Almighty" stands as one of the priciest comedies ever. The loss of Jim Carrey means it has almost no chance of reaching the $68M three-day opening weekend gross of "Bruce" from four years ago when it shocked the film industry by kicking "The Matrix Reloaded" out of the top spot in only its second frame. It reached a domestic haul of $242.8M. "Evan Almighty" could conceivably gross half the amount of "Bruce," while costing twice as much to produce. Does that mean it will lose money? Not necessarily. "Evan" would love nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of "Night at the Museum," another effects-driven comedy led by a popular comedian aimed at families, which has grossed over $570M worldwide. If it can tap into that crowd, then it will be a divine road ahead.

"Evan"’s trim running time of about 90 minutes will help since multiplexes can schedule numerous showtimes per day. Competition will come from current chart-topper "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," another action-comedy sequel tamed down to a PG to cater to eight-year-old boys on summer vacation. Teens and young adults who have to wait until the fall to see new episodes of Carell’s "The Office" may line up for "Evan" and give it a try, despite the negative reviews. There’s not much else exciting that demo right now. And given its themes, moviegoers in the Bible Belt may contribute some solid sales on opening weekend as the studio is wisely targeting churches in its marketing outreach. Opening in 3,602 theaters, "Evan Almighty" could premiere to about $40M this weekend.


"Evan Almighty"

John Cusack hopes to avoid the current horror curse at the box office with his new psychological thriller "1408." The MGM release finds the actor playing a writer who checks into a haunted hotel room that many have died in. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars in the PG-13 pic. Scary movies have been slaughtered at the cash registers lately. Even star-driven adult thrillers have struggled as witnessed by openings of $11.2M for "Perfect Stranger" starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis, $10M for Hilary Swank‘s "The Reaping," $10M for Kevin Costner‘s "Mr. Brooks," and $7.6M for Luke Wilson‘s hotel-themed "Vacancy." Managing to surge a bit higher were Sandra Bullock‘s "Premonition" with $17.6M and Jim Carrey’s "The Number 23" with $14.6M. "1408" may not scare up that much business given consumer apathy towards fright flicks right now. Plus Cusack and Jackson are not really known for packing them in on opening weekend unless there are bigger stars present. Checking into 2,678 theaters, "1408" might take in about $12M this weekend.


John Cusack in "1408"

Angelina Jolie headlines this weekend’s serious offering for adult audiences, "A Mighty Heart." Directed by Michael Winterbottom ("The Road to Guantanamo," "Welcome to Sarajevo"), the R-rated film finds the Oscar-winning actress playing Mariane Pearl, wife of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and documents her struggle to find her kidnapped husband in Pakistan. In a summer of sequels and effects-driven action pictures for kids on vacation, Paramount Vantage is going after the adults that are often neglected at this time of year. Reviews for "Heart" have been strong with Jolie already earning kudos buzz and the film should appeal to the same audiences that came out for other acclaimed political thrillers like "United 93" ($11.5M, $6,395 average), "The Constant Gardener" ($8.7M, $6,444), and "Syriana" ($11.7M, $6,699). Competition will come from "Ocean’s Thirteen" and "Knocked Up" which have both been playing well with the 30-plus crowd. Debuting in about 1,350 theaters, "A Mighty Heart" might open in the vicinity of $7M.


Angelina Jolie in "A Mighty Heart"

Last weekend, Fox’s "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" opened at the top and was just one of six sequels to land in the top ten. Its 2005 predecessor tumbled 59% in its second weekend thanks to poor word-of-mouth and intense competition from newcomers "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Wedding Crashers" which stole over $90M worth of ticket sales away from holdover pics. "Silver Surfer" has been greeted with marginally better responses and will not face as much competition from the incoming class this weekend, although "Evan Almighty" will be gunning for that PG-loving family crowd. A drop of 55% would give the new "Fantastic Four" saga around $25M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $103M.

"Ocean’s Thirteen" will see some of its adult audience get pulled away by the weekend’s two new mature-skewing flicks. A 40% decline will leave the caper sequel with roughly $12M pushing the total to $91M after 17 days for Warner Bros. Universal’s comedy sensation "Knocked Up" will smash through the $100M mark this weekend, probably on Friday. Look for a 30% fall to around $10M boosting the cume to $108M.

LAST YEAR: Adam Sandler scored his usual table at the top spot with his comedy "Click" which bowed to $40M for Sony on its way to $137.3M domestically and over $235M worldwide. The Disney/Pixar toon "Cars" dropped to the runnerup spot but dipped only 31% to $23.3M. Sophomores "Nacho Libre" and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" were both hit hard and tumbled by more than 50% each to $12.7M and $9.8M, respectively. Focus launched the Tyrese Gibson actioner "Waist Deep" to a solid $9.4M from just over 1,000 theaters on its way to $21.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The Johnny Depp juggernaut Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest remained the most popular film in North America for a second weekend easily defending its box office crown against two new comedies that fought bitterly for the runnerup spot.

According to studio estimates, Sony’s Little Man narrowly edged out Universal’s You, Me and Dupree opening in second and third, respectively. With less than $400,000 separating the two new releases, chart positions could change when final numbers are tabulated on Monday.

Disney shattered more box office records with its runaway smash Pirates which hauled in an estimated $62.2M in its second weekend in theaters to boost its ten-day total to an eye-popping $258.2M. That’s the largest ten-day start of any film in history and the fastest any movie has cracked the quarter-billion dollar mark beating the old records which were both set last summer by Star Wars Episode III. The final Jedi sequel collected $236.9M in its first ten days and surged to $255.6M in its eleventh day.

Pirates did suffer a sizable 54% drop from its record-breaking opening weekend, however a large decline was widely expected since it had already absorbed such a massive amount of business when it entered its sophomore frame. Second weekend declines for the summer’s other big-budget tentpole pictures were larger including 56% for The Da Vinci Code, 59% for Superman Returns, and 67% for X-Men: The Last Stand. In just ten days, Dead Man’s Chest has quickly become the top-grossing film of 2006 and now sits at number 34 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Monsters, Inc. which grossed $255.9M in 2001.

The high seas adventure also enjoyed the third best second weekend gross ever trailing the $72.2M of 2004’s Shrek 2 and the $71.4M of 2002’s Spider-Man. Pirates is already the seventh biggest film ever for Disney and the fourth largest among live-action pics for the studio. The Mouse House also scored its 13th film to top the $200M mark which is the most of any Hollywood studio.Where can Captain Jack Sparrow sail to from here? The triple-century barrier should come crashing down by next weekend as the megablockbuster sequel continues on a trajectory that could see it loot $350-400M from the domestic market alone.

Opening in second place with an estimated $21.7M was Little Man starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans from director Keenan Ivory Wayans. The $64M Sony release averaged a stellar $8,567 from 2,533 theaters and tells the story of a diminutive crook who masquerades as a toddler in order to retrieve a stolen diamond. Teens and young adults made up the core crowd as studio data indicated that 59% of the audience was under the age of 25. Women slightly outnumbered the guys with 53% of the crowd. Reviews were mostly negative.

Little Man enjoyed an opening that was similar to that of the last effort by the Wayans brothers, White Chicks. That Sony comedy bowed on a Wednesday in June 2004 with a Friday-to-Sunday take of $19.7M as part of a $27.2M five-day launch on its way to $69.1M. The studio reported encouraging exit polls for Man with 85% marking it "excellent" or "very good." If estimates hold, it will be the third consecutive second place opening for Keenan Ivory Wayans after 2001’s Scary Movie 2 and White Chicks which were also summer comedies.

Close behind with an estimated $21.3M debut was Universal’s new comedy You, Me and Dupree. The PG-13 film averaged a solid $6,815 from 3,131 theaters and stars Owen Wilson as a houseguest who crashes in the home of a newlywed couple played by Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon. The $54M film played mostly to young adults in their twenties and thirties and skewed more towards women. Studio research indicated that 58% of the audience was under the age of 30 and 58% was female. Reviews were not very favorable. Dupree opened below the levels of Wilson’s previous hits like Starsky & Hutch which bowed to $28.1M in March 2004 and the $33.9M of Wedding Crashers which debuted one year ago this weekend.

While both new comedies opened with roughly the same weekend gross, and chart positions could change on Monday, it was Little Man that clearly delivered the more impressive performance. Playing in 600 fewer theaters, the Wayans brothers attracted enough of an audience to still sell the same amount of tickets and generated a per-theater average that was 26% stronger than Dupree’s. The Owen Wilson film however, cost $10M less to produce as it did not need to rely on costly special effects.

In its third battle against the forces of box office evil, the big-budget super hero flick Superman Returns fell to fourth place with an estimated $11.6M. Off a moderate 47%, the Warner Bros. pic lifted its cume to $163.7M after 19 days. The Man of Steel is well behind the $192.4M that War of the Worlds collected over the same period last year, but a bit ahead of Men in Black II‘s $158.1M from July 2002. However, those pricey pics posted stronger third weekend grosses of $15.2M and $14.6M, respectively. Superman Returns remains on a course to fly to $190-200M domestically which is less than what most in the industry were expecting from the Bryan Singer film.

Superman flew into over a dozen new countries around the world this weekend and grossed an estimated $38M from 36 markets to boost its international cume to $77M. In most territories, the comic book pic rocketed straight to number one, however in the United Kingdom it scored a solid number two bow behind the sophomore weekend of Pirates.

Despite competition from two new comedies, Meryl Streep held up well with her hit The Devil Wears Prada which grossed an estimated $10.5M in its third session. Down a little more than 30%, the Fox release has commanded an impressive $83.6M and is heading for the vicinity of $115M.

For the third straight weekend, the Disney/Pixar toon Cars enjoyed the smallest drop in the top ten and slipped less than 30% to an estimated $7.5M. After its sixth weekend, the G-rated blockbuster has upped its cume to a sturdy $219.7M passing The Da Vinci Code to become the third highest grossing film of the year after the Pirates and X-Men sequels. Cars is running 6% behind the pace of Pixar’s last film The Incredibles after the same amount of time, but is 3% ahead of the company’s Monsters, Inc. Those pics ended up with $261.4M and $255.3M, respectively. Cars looks to have enough gas in its tank to be able to reach $250M. Barring any surprise megahits, that would give Disney the two biggest blockbusters of the summer season. Coincidentally, the studio also ruled the 2003 summer contest with the first Pirates and Pixar’s Finding Nemo both crossing the $300M threshold.

Adam Sandler followed close behind in seventh with Click which fell 41% to an estimated $7M in its fourth frame. With $119.7M in the bank, the Sony release is still running a bit ahead of the studio’s 2003 Sandler vehicle Anger Management which collected $115.3M at the same point on its way to $135.6M. Click should be able to reach $135-140M.

The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock grossed an estimated $1.6M, off 45%, for a $48.9M total. The Warner Bros. romance should end with a respectable $53M. Paramount’s Nacho Libre laughed up an estimated $1.5M, down 54%, putting its sum at $77.1M. Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy looks to go home with around $81M.

Warner Independent Pictures expanded its animated crime drama A Scanner Darkly from 17 to 216 theaters nationwide and hit the top ten with an estimated $1.2M. Richard Linklater‘s R-rated film averaged a healthy $5,486 per location and raised its cume to $1.8M. The Keanu Reeves-starrer will stay in roughly the same number of locations this coming weekend.

With a brutal heat wave hitting much of the country, audiences continued to flock to the hit global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which slipped a scant 5% to an estimated $1.1M. Now in its eighth weekend of release, the Paramount Vantage title finished a hair out of the top ten and has taken in a solid $17M.

Three films from the Universal Studios family fell from the top ten over the weekend. The racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift dropped 59% to an estimated $1M in its fifth lap pushing its domestic total to $59.7M. The $75M actioner has grossed an additional $42M overseas and continues to open in new countries each week. In North America, look for a final take of $61M.

The Break-Up fell 52% to an estimated $777,000 giving the Vince VaughnJennifer Aniston comedy $116M to date. The $52M production should end its relationship with theaters at $118M. Internationally, Break-Up has grossed $24.5M thus far with major European markets like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy still to come between now and September. The Focus Features actioner Waist Deep tumbled 63% to an estimated $695,000 putting its cume at $20.7M. Little more is expected for the inexpensive film which might close with around $22M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $146.1M which was off 4% from last year when Johnny Depp‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory debuted at number one with $56.2M; but up 8% from 2004 when Will Smith‘s I, Robot opened in the top spot with $52.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A pair of new star-driven comedies will try to steal away some treasure from the record-breaking hit Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest in a laugh-filled battle for the number two slot.

Universal launches You, Me and Dupree starring Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, and Matt Dillon while Sony counters with Little Man anchored by Marlon and Shawn Wayans. Neither film, though, is expected to come close to the massive second weekend haul that Johnny Depp will take away as his blockbuster sequel looks to shatter the quarter-billion mark in a mere ten days.

52 weeks after Wedding Crashers opened to stellar business, Owen Wilson returns to the big screen playing a slacker in his mid-thirties who moves in with his best friend and his wife who are a newlywed couple. The PG-13 film stars Hudson and Dillon as the lucky duo while Michael Douglas plays the father to Hudson’s character. The date crowd will be the primary audience here and like most romantic comedies, Dupree should skew a little more female. However, the starpower and the concept give the film solid male appeal so both genders should show interest which will be important. Though formulaic and predictable as can be, the Universal release does offer up lots of laughs which will work with audiences willing to check their brain at the door.

As the anchor, Wilson has seen his share of box office hits, especially when there are other stars surrounding him. The R-rated Wedding Crashers with Vince Vaughn bowed to $33.9M this weekend a year ago, 2004’s Starsky and Hutch with Ben Stiller opened to $28.1M, and his last Jackie Chan action-comedy Shanghai Knights debuted to $19.6M. The blonde funnyman plays the exact same character for the umpteenth time, but somehow audiences keep buying it.

June has served up a steady diet of hit comedies like The Break-Up, Click, and The Devil Wears Prada so audiences are certainly not starving for a laugh right now. Competition will be tough and Little Man’s arrival will take away some folks looking for a chuckle too. Even Pirates, which packs a hundred laughs into its two-and-a-half-hour package, will be a factor. But Dupree does offer four big and likable stars even if Douglas has been underutilized in the marketing campaign. The plot has come across very clear in the advertising which is crucial. And the same audience that powered March’s Failure to Launch to a $24.4M opening could be out once again for this one. Making itself comfortable in 3,131 locations, You, Me and Dupree could gross around $22M this weekend.

For the fourth time in seven summers, the Wayans brothers regroup for some raunchy fun in Little Man opening this Friday. Keenan is once again at the helm while younger siblings Marlon and Shawn take to the screen in another high concept story. This time, a pint-sized criminal disguises himself as a toddler in order to uncover a stolen diamond from an unsuspecting couple. CGI allows Marlon to become a little man and laughter ensues. The Wayans clan last hit theaters two years ago in White Chicks which opened to $19.6M and a five-day $27.2M take. Little Man’s plot is not as catchy as Chick’s, but much of their loyal fan base is still likely to give it a try.

Sony has been pushing its latest summer comedy heavily, but with so many other laughers in the marketplace right now, some of the audience will get split. The Wayans team has always had a strong urban following which will once again be out in solid numbers. Waist Deep has been the only summer film anchored by black stars so an underserved audience is sure to come out and drive ticket sales. With about 600 fewer theaters than Dupree, Little Man is likely to find itself debuting in third place with an average that will challenge Owen’s. Poor reviews should not make a difference and a PG-13 rating will open the doors to a large teen crowd that might find Dupree to be too mature. Hiding out in 2,533 theaters, Little Man could make off with about $18M over the weekend.

Dead Man’s Chest set off the kind of box office fireworks last weekend that the industry has never seen before with a towering $135.6M opening and a per-theater average of nearly $33,000 from more than 4,000 locations. Despite its popularity, the Disney smash is bound to see a substantial drop this time coming off of such a large number. Spider-Man, which previously held the record for the largest opening weekend, dropped only 38% in its second session in May 2002 while fellow megahit Star Wars Episode III fell 49%. However, the webslinger was not a sequel and did not have Thursday night preview grosses during its debut frame, and the final Jedi flick had the Memorial Day holiday prevent its decline from surging too high.

Even though audiences are happy with Johnny Depp and his motley crew in their second adventure, big budget summer sequels like Chest are made to erode quickly. Plus with no holiday or expansion to soften the blow, sales could get sliced in half and then some. Weekday sales have been red hot with the Davy Jones pic looting $18.1M on Monday and $15.7M on Tuesday. By the end of its first full week in theaters, Disney should have more than $190M in its chest. A weekend fall to about $66M would give Pirates the third largest sophomore weekend gross in history after Shrek 2 ($72.2M) and Spider-Man ($71.4M). Coincidentally, all three franchises will launch their third installments next May. After only ten days, Captain Jack Sparrow would drink down an amazing $261M worth of rum.

Superman Returns has been completely overshadowed by Pirates. Its 59% sophomore fall last weekend was troubling but this weekend’s decline should stabilize to around 50%. No new action films will be opening which is good news to Warner Bros. A weekend gross of about $11M would give the Man of Steel $163M in 19 days.

Meryl Streep‘s The Devil Wears Prada is likely to see more competition from Dupree than from Little Man.this weekend. A 40% drop would give Fox a weekend take of about $9M and a 17-day cume of $81M surpassing the $71.4M of 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary which was also based on a best-selling book.

LAST YEAR: Starting an annual tradition, Johnny Depp was the handsome groom and Owen Wilson settled for the best man spot at the mid-July box office. The dashing pirate reteamed with his favorite filmmaker Tim Burton for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which opened impressively at number one with a $56.2M debut. The Warner Bros. remake would go on to collect $206.5M domestically and over $470M worldwide. Premiering in its shadow at number two was Wedding Crashers starring Wilson and one of his favorite co-stars Vince Vaughn. The New Line sleeper smash bowed to $33.9M but enjoyed amazing legs and eventually outperformed Charlie in North America with $209.2M. The global gross reached a terrific $285M. Dropping 59% to third place was Fantastic Four with $22.8M in its sophomore frame for Fox. More effects-driven actioners rounded out the top five. Paramount’s War of the Worlds grossed $15.2M and Batman Begins captured $6M for Warners.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The Man of Steel conquered the North American box office this weekend as the super hero adventure Superman Returns claimed the number one spot over the pre-Independence Day holiday frame.

Second place was taken by Meryl Streep whose new comedy The Devil Wears Prada opened with more muscle than expected. Most holdovers suffered substantial declines, however the overall marketplace remained slightly better than last year’s. But for the first time in five years, Hollywood will reach the Fourth of July without a summer film passing the $250M mark.

Flying to the top of the charts, Superman Returns collected an estimated $52.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $84.2M since its launch on Wednesday. The PG-13 film was the first new installment for the beloved comic book characeter in nearly two decades and averaged a strong $12,829 over three days from a massive 4,065 theaters. The total gross included about $3M from Tuesday night previews which began at 10:00pm and $5M from 76 Imax theaters where the film was presented with special 3D footage. The studio expects to reach a seven-day tally of $110M by the end of Tuesday.

Reviews were mostly positive for the Bryan Singer-directed film which saw newcomer Brandon Routh stepping into the title role following the late Christopher Reeve. Kevin Spacey plays arch-nemesis Lex Luthor while Kate Bosworth takes the role of Lois Lane. The pricey film carried a colossal production budget in the neighborhood of $250M which included about $40M in early development costs before the current cast and crew were in place.

Though a strong number one bow, the opening of Superman Returns did not match up to the debuts of similar action and sci-fi films. One year ago, the Tom Cruise alien invasion film War of the Worlds opened over the same holiday weekend with the same Wednesday start but grossed a higher $100.6M over its first five days. Four years ago, Men in Black II also premiered the same way and grossed $87.2M over its Wednesday-to-Sunday launch which at today’s ticket prices would be close to a nine-digit gross. The Kryptonian hero’s five-day opening even fell short of the three-day bow of Singer’s last film X2: X-Men United which opened to $85.6M three years ago.

However, Superman Returns did manage to open better than last summer’s Batman Begins which was another Warner Bros. film attempting to restart a dormant super hero franchise. That film captured $72.9M in its five-day debut including $48.7M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The new Clark Kent pic is off to a 16% better start than the new Bruce Wayne flick over five days, and only 7% better over the weekend portion. The studio hopes to have long legs again like it did with Batman which went on to gross $205.3M domestically.

But that will be a tough task for Superman which has a very different road ahead of it. Batman Begins had little direct competition in its second weekend plus had the Fourth of July holiday help its third frame. Superman, on the other hand, is already taking advantage of its only holiday which is boosting its opening week. Plus it has a juggernaut in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest opening on its second weekend which is aiming to steal away the same audience.

Competition was also a major factor for Superman Returns this weekend especially with The Devil Wears Prada stealing away a larger-than-expected female audience. The super hero film’s next three competitors collected a hefty $60.4M in ticket sales over the weekend. By comparison, War of the Worlds faced $35.3M in combined sales from the next three biggest films.

Internationally, the new Superman film took flight in the Asia/Pacific region and opened at number one in eleven countries grossing an estimated $19.8M from 1,750 theaters. Key markets included Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and India. The studio is holding back the film in Europe and Latin America until after the World Cup final which takes place on July 9.

Fox countered the super hero adventure with the femme-driven comedy The Devil Wears Prada and scored a terrific second place debut with an estimated $27M. Playing in 2,847 locations, the PG-13 film averaged a stunning $9,484 per theater and ranked as Meryl Streep’s best opening ever in a lead role. Devil was based on the best-selling novel about a small-town gal who lands a job as the assistant to the evil editor-in-chief of the fashion industry’s top magazine. Anne Hathaway co-stars. The Prada audience was immensely female as studio research showed that a whopping 79% were women. Those over the age of 25 made up 61% of the crowd.

With both The Lake House and The Break-Up aging, Devil found an opportunity to score with adult women with extra leisure time over of the long holiday weekend – especially those who had little interest in seeing Superman. The counter-programming move worked like a charm for Fox which spent over $40M on Prada which managed to tap into a built-in audience of fans of the book. Starpower from Streep and Hathaway also allowed for a broad age range to take interest. Reviews were mostly good.

Dropping from first to third was Adam Sandler‘s comedy Click which grossed an estimated $19.4M in its sophomore frame. Falling 52%, the Sony release has laughed up a solid $77.9M in ten days. Compared to the ten-day cumes of the studio’s previous Sandler comedies opening on the weekend before the Fourth of July frame, Click has done slightly better than the $73.6M of 2002’s Mr. Deeds but has not reached the $83.7M of 1999’s Big Daddy. Those films ended their runs with $126.3M and $163.5M, respectively. The $83M Click looks to find its way to about $130M.

Cars enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten slipping 40% to an estimated $14M for fourth place. The Disney/Pixar hit upped its cume to $182.1M. Paramount’s Nacho Libre fell 51% to an estimated $6.2M giving the Jack Black comedy $65M to date.

Folowing in sixth place was the Keanu ReevesSandra Bullock romance The Lake House with an estimated $4.5M, off 49%, leaving Warner Bros. with $38.7M thus far. Close behind with an estimated $4.4M was the street racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which dropped 55% in its third lap. Total to date stands at $51.7M.

The Tyrese Gibson actioner Waist Deep suffered the worst decline in the top ten tumbling 65% to an estimated $3.3M in its second weekend. The Focus release has grossed $15.2M in ten days and should finish up with around $22M. Universal’s comedy The Break-Up crumbled 57% to an estimated $2.8M while Sony’s religious thriller The Da Vinci Code rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.3M, off 43%. Cumes for each are $110.1M and $209.8M, respectively.

Although overall ticket sales continue to inch ahead of last year each weekend, the season’s top blockbusters remain weaker than those from 2005. The cumulative gross for the top five summer films this year reached $900.3M, down 8% from last summer’s five biggest hits at this same point.

Two Fox sequels fell from the top ten over the weekend. The year’s highest-grossing film X-Men: The Last Stand dropped 58% to an estimated $2.1M to boost its sum to $228.6M. The $165M film currently stands at number 48 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Signs which grossed $228M in 2002. The final mutant adventure is the top-grossing installment in the trilogy surpassing the $157.3M of 2000’s X-Men and the $214.9M of 2003’s X2 and should complete its domestic run with around $235M. Overseas, it has already grossed over $195M.

The studio has not had as much luck with its kidpic Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties which tumbled 62% to an estimated $2M in only its third weekend. Family audiences have rejected the cat flick spending only $21.5M on it thus far. The Garfield sequel looks to end up with only $25M or one-third of the $75.4M of its 2004 predecessor.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $136.2M which was up 5% from last year when War of the Worlds debuted at number one with $64.9M; but down 12% from 2004 when Spider-Man 2 opened in the top spot with $88.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Moviegoers grabbed their remote controls and flocked to the multiplexes this weekend to see Adam Sandler‘s latest comedy Click which became the comedian’s eighth number one hit thanks to its $40M opening, according to estimates.

Sony launched the PG-13 film in 3,749 theaters and averaged a healthy $10,670 per location. It was the second best opening of the year for a live-action comedy after the $40.2M bow of Scary Movie 4 in April. With this latest film, the funnyman has become the only actor to score $30M+ openings in each of the last five years proving what a consistent box office draw he continues to be. A-listers like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Jim Carrey cannot claim the same feat.

In Sandler’s latest vehicle, he plays a man who gets a magical remote control that gives him power over all others around him. Frank Coraci, who directed the comedian’s 1998 hits The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, helmed this latest pic which co-starred Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, and David Hasselhoff. Sony’s $83M production played to a broad audience. According to studio research, 51% of the crowd was female and 50% were under 25. Sandler has always been a strong draw with young guys, but with his role as a husband and father in Click, the actor was able to appeal evenly across the board to all four quadrants.

Reviews were poor, as expected, but audiences didn’t seem to care. Click is a marketing-driven film and starpower and concept sold it to those looking for some harmless summer laughs. The opening was right in the middle of the $37-43M range that five of Sandler’s previous comedies have debuted in. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, Click could very well go on to become the star’s seventh $100M blockbuster.

Following its two-week run in the top spot, the animated comedy Cars slipped to second place but displayed solid staying power. The G-rated film eased only 33% to an estimated $22.5M pushing the 17-day total to $155.9M. The decline was smaller than the third-weekend drops experienced by the most recent Disney/Pixar films The Incredibles (47% in November 2004) and Finding Nemo (39% in June 2003). Despite opening weaker, Cars is now holding up better and continues to benefit from word-of-mouth from family audiences. After 17 days of release, Cars is running 12% behind the pace of Incredibles and 19% behind Nemo. Competition for kids from Superman and Pirates in the weeks ahead will be fierce, but the racing toon could still drive to a final domestic haul of over $240M making it bigger than any other film released up to this point in the year.

After a stellar opening, the Jack Black comedy Nacho Libre stumbled 57% and placed third with an estimated $12.1M. Paramount has grossed a solid $52.7M in ten days and is heading for the $70-80M range. Nacho cost $35M to produce.

Tyrese Gibson flexed some muscle with his new actioner Waist Deep which opened impressively in fourth with an estimated $9.5M from just 1,004 theaters. The Focus Features release averaged a sizzling $9,414 per location. Reviews for the kidnapping drama were mostly negative, but audiences responded to the starpower and the action.

Slamming on the brakes, the action sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift suffered the worst decline in the top ten crashing 62% to an estimated $9.2M in its sophomore frame. With $42.6M in its tank, Universal’s $75M franchise pic has been performing exactly like another of the studio’s recent June action sequels – 2004’s Vin Diesel pic The Chronicles of Riddick. That film opened to a similar $24.3M, dropped 61% in the second frame, and generated a ten-day cume of $42.5M before finishing with $57.6M. Tokyo Drift should cross the finish line near the $60M mark as well.

The franchise’s last installment, 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, performed in the same way tumbling 63% in its second lap so Drift’s huge drop was expected. Overseas, the latest street racing pic remained at number one in the United Kingdom for a second straight weekend and pushed its international gross to $15.6M from a dozen countries. The studio projected number one openings this weekend in Indonesia, Finland, Portugal, Romania, and Trinidad. Japan, expected to be a big market for Tokyo Drift, does not open until September 18.

The Keanu ReevesSandra Bullock romance The Lake House enjoyed a reasonably good second date grossing an estimated $8.3M dropping 39%. After ten days, the Warner Bros. drama has taken in $29.2M and looks headed for the neighborhood of $60M. Lake bowed at number two in the U.K. this weekend with an estimated $1.5M from 343 locations. The film’s international roll-out will be spread out over the coming months.

Holding up well in seventh place was another film targeting adult women, The Break-Up starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. The Universal release grossed an estimated $6.1M, off only 38%, for a $103.7M cume. The unromantic comedy became the seventh film of 2006 to cross the $100M mark. Eight films had joined the century club at this point last year.

Fox’s kidpic sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties dropped just 35% in its second weekend and collected an estimated $4.8M. With a mere $16M in ten days, the PG-rated film looks to reach a disappointing $30M domestically or less than half of the $75.4M of its 2004 predecessor.

The year’s two highest-grossing films rounded out the top ten. Fox’s X-Men: The Last Stand took in an estimated $4.4M, down 44%, pushing its cume to $224.1M. The Da Vinci Code grossed an estimated $4M, off only 24%, giving Sony $205.5M to date. Collectively, the top five summer films have grossed $861.6M trailing last summer’s corresponding blockbusters by 5% at this same point in the season.

Two summer hits fell from the top ten over the weekend. Paramount’s release of the DreamWorks animated film Over the Hedge grabbed an estimated $2.7M this weekend. Off 37%, the PG-rated toon boosted its total to $144.5M and should reach around $152M by the end of its run. Fox’s remake of The Omen has had no legs and tumbled another 63% to an estimated $2.1M this weekend. The $25M film has scared up a solid $52M and looks to end with about $55M.

Paramount Vantage kept expanding its global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which widened from 403 to 514 theaters this weekend and grossed an estimated $1.9M. Averaging a decent $3,762 per site, the Al Gore pic has upped its sum to $9.5M and counting. Further expansions are planned for the coming weeks.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got a magical remote control ("Click") and a father who’s trying to rescue his son ("Waist Deep"). Will the critics dig "Deep?" Will they pick "Click?"

Adam Sandler‘s latest, "Click," traffics in a premise that most of us have probably considered at one point or another: Wouldn’t it be cool if we could control everything around us with the push of a button? And would that necessarily be a good thing? But lemme tell you something about Hollywood, kids: good ideas are a dime a dozen. And the critics say "Click," like an aimless round of channel surfing, is pretty inconsistent, veering from yuks early on to goopy sentiment toward the end. It’s at 22 percent on the Tomatometer, but we know that Adam Sandler is pretty critic-proof; his average Tomatometer is 29 percent, and we love him anyway.


Adam Sandler "Clicks" with the Fonz! Heyyyy!

"Waist Deep" is an attempt to cross gritty urban action with a story of redemption; unfortunately, according to critics, it’s not terribly successful. The plot involves an ex-con, played by Tyrese Gibson, who must venture outside the law in order to recover his kidnapped son. While a number of critics say the film is well-made and well-meaning, others say it’s too violent and far-fetched to be truly compelling. At 44 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Waist" is only sporadically worth watching.


"Wassup Rockers:" Skateboarding is not a crime.

Also opening this week, albeit in limited release: "The Road to Guantanamo," a searing mix of documentary and fiction, is at 92 percent; "The Hidden Blade," a subdued samurai tale, is at 85 percent; "Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man" is at 75 percent, which will perhaps prompt the fans of the cult figure to exclaim, "Hallelujah!"; and "Wassup Rockers," Larry Clark‘s film about a wild day in the life of a posse of teenage skaters, is at 38 percent.

Recent Adam Sandler Movies:
——————————————
29% — The Longest Yard (2005)
52% — Spanglish (2004)
43% — 50 First Dates (2004)
42% — Anger Management (2003)
81% — Punch Drunk Love (2002)

Recent Tyrese Gibson Movies:
—————————————-
11% — Annapolis (2006)
52% — Four Brothers (2005)
28% — Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
38% — 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
67% — Baby Boy (2001)

Although Father’s Day has passed, Hollywood brings out two very different stories about dads and their wacky adventures this weekend with Adam Sandler‘s comedy Click and Tyrese Gibson‘s actioner Waist Deep, both opening in theaters on Friday. Comedy has been ruling the box office throughout the month of June and that trend should continue until the Man of Steel arrives next week.

Looking for his seventh trip across the $100M mark, Adam Sandler returns to the big screen with his latest comedy Click. Released by his favorite studio Sony, the PG-13 pic tells the story of a man who comes across a magical remote control that gives him the power to manipulate his whole world, from his family at home to his boss at work. Frank Coraci follows up The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy by directing the funnyman for a third time while Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Kate Beckinsale, and Henry Winkler co-star. Sandler, who turns forty this year, is moving on from his slacker roles playing a husband and father. This makes sense as his fan base is aging too.

The comedian typically picks films with unique concepts and Click is no different. The story is not run-of-the-mill, but an interesting what-if scenario that will make audiences curious. Trailers and commercials have been funny so another blockbuster that satisfies moviegoers is in the works. Over the last eight years, Sandler has seen his bigger hits like Waterboy, Big Daddy, Anger Management, Mr. Deeds, and 50 First Dates all open in the $37-42M range with opening weekend averages of more than $11,000 each time. His most recent film The Longest Yard scored a bit better last summer opening to $47.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. The guy comes out with about one movie per year so audiences don’t get too much of him.

Young men make up the actor’s bread and butter, however you don’t open north of $40M by just appealing to this group. Female appeal is also solid with his films and Click should click with chicks too. Still, Nacho Libre and The Fast and the Furious sequel will be in their second weekends and even though both are expected to drop hard, the duo will still provide some competition for Sandler. However, since Waist Deep is looking to be a relatively small pic in the marketplace, this weekend shapes up to be one where Click is the only major new wide release. That should make frequent moviegoers like teens and twentysomethings look at it as the only new game in town.

Sony has invested heavily in the marketing push and summer is a time when people want to laugh so the returns should be healthy. Opinions of critics should not matter much. One of the most reliable box office draws around, Adam Sandler will see the widest opening of his career with a launch in 3,748 theaters this weekend. That could push Click to around $43M over the Friday-to-Sunday span.

Tyrese Gibson plays an ex-con on a fast and furious hunt to get back his kidnapped son in the new action drama Waist Deep from Focus Features’ Rogue Pictures division. Directed by Vondie Curtis Hall (Glitter, Gridlock’d), the R-rated film also stars Meagan Good, Larenz Tate and hip hop star The Game. Gibson jumped from the modeling world into movies and has become a player although his roles have always been opposite other established box office draws. This time, he anchors solo as none of his co-stars have a track record of opening films on their own.

Waist Deep will play primarily to an urban audience with African Americans making up the largest component. Whites are not likely to show much interest. This same audience powered ATL to a stellar $11.6M bow from 1,602 theaters this past spring. However, Waist does not seem to have the same level of hype plus it will debut in fewer theaters. Most of the film’s competition will come from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which is likely to fall sharply this weekend. The marketing push has been targeted and is trying to appeal to fans of The Game who in recent years has developed a large fan base. Opening in 1,004 theaters, Waist Deep might shoot up about $6M this weekend.

Opening in limited release this weekend, Roadside Attractions offers the controversial film The Road to Guantanamo which tells the story of a group of Pakistani men from England who are detained while traveling to Afghanistan and imprisoned and tortured by the U.S. military. Told through a mix of interviews with survivors and re-enactments of the events, the R-rated pic won the best director prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and hits 15 theaters in North America before expanding.

After two laps as box office champ, the Disney/Pixar animated hit Cars looks to decelerate some more this weekend for a second place finish. The film’s 43% second weekend decline was the biggest for any Pixar toon since 1999’s Toy Story 2 which was coming off of a Thanksgiving holiday launch. Cars should see its drop stabilize since this weekend’s offerings should not pull away too many young children. A decline of 40% to about $20M could result giving the Lightning McQueen pic $152M in 17 days.

Jack Black flexed some amazing muscles last weekend with the debut of Nacho Libre. Adam Sandler will provide some stiff competition for young males so a sizable drop of 50% could occur giving Paramount a weekend take of around $14M. That would still give the wrestling comedy a solid $54M in ten days.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift also debuted impressively last weekend tapping into a similar audience, but a steep sophomore crash is imminent. The last film in the franchise, 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, tumbled 63% in its second race. This latest Universal sequel has also burned through its upfront crowd plus will face competition for young guys from Click and for the urban audience from Waist Deep. A hefty 60% fall would leave Tokyo Drift with $9M for the weekend and $42M in ten days.

Keanu and Sandra snuggled up to a decent, but not spectacular, opening for their romance The Lake House. Adult women will not be too distracted by the new options so a moderate 40% drop could result. That would give the Warner Bros. release $8M for the frame and a ten-day tally of $29M.

LAST YEAR: Topping the charts for a second straight weekend, Batman Begins grossed $27.6M dropping 43% from its opening giving Warner Bros. an encouraging hold. Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell powered their new comedy Bewitched into the number two slot opening with $20.1M. The Sony release found its way to $62.3M. Fox’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith placed third with $16.8M in its third fight. Two new releases rounded out the top ten. Disney’s Lindsay Lohan film Herbie: Fully Loaded opened to $12.7M and $17.7M over five days, while Universal’s zombie flick Land of the Dead bowed to $10.2M. Final grosses reached $66M and $20.5M, respectively. In limited release, the inner city dancing documentary Rize opened to $1.6M from 352 theaters for a $4,474 average putting it in 12th place. Lions Gate collected $3.3M by the end of its short run.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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