Box Office Guru Wrapup: Rush Hour 3 Speeds Into #1 Spot
Chan and Tucker beat back Bourne.Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker raced back into theaters with their cross-cultural cop buddy action sequel Rush Hour 3 and captured the number one spot. The new fantasy film Stardust opened to disappointing results in fourth place while the weekend's other new titles Daddy Day Camp and Skinwalkers were virtually ignored by moviegoers. But overall, the North American box office remained robust posting a gain of more than 25% over last year for the third session in a row.
New Line hit the top spot for the first time in a year with its action-comedy franchise hit Rush Hour 3 which bowed to an estimated $50.2M. Playing ultrawide in 3,778 sites, the PG-13 film averaged a strong $13,298 per theater. It was the fourth biggest opening ever in the month of August trailing The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3M last weekend), Rush Hour 2 ($67.4M in 2001), and Signs ($60.1M in 2002). While a powerful debut, Rush Hour 3 showed that the franchise has suffered some audience erosion. The opening weekend gross was 26% smaller than Rush Hour 2's and factoring in six years of ticket price increases, the bow would be about 35% weaker.
In the new saga, Chan and Tucker reteam to fight a Chinese organized crime syndicate in Paris. Critics were overwhelmingly negative on the film stating that the characters have overstayed their welcome and that Tucker, who has not done any films over the last nine years other than the Rush Hour pics, held up part three because of his salary demands. But audiences came out for the action and the comedy and should soon push the film over the $100M mark in the coming weeks.
After its record-breaking opening, The Bourne Ultimatum dropped a reasonable 51% to an estimated $33.7M and boosted its ten-day tally to $132.3M. The hold was a bit better than the 54% decline that The Bourne Supremacy experienced in its sophomore session three years ago when it faced The Village which bowed to the same numbers as Rush Hour 3. Ultimatum marks the 13th summer film to cross the $100M mark this year compared to ten at this same point last year. With few good action pictures left this summer, the latest Matt Damon assassin pic should cruise to $210-220M making it the top-grossing installment in the popular spy series.
The Simpsons Movie fell another 56% in its third outing to an estimated $11.1M. That put the 17-day total at $152.2M for Fox with a final tally of around $175M likely.
The $70M fantasy adventure Stardust found little magic at the box office in its opening weekend and collected just $9M in ticket sales, according to estimates. Averaging a mild $3,548 from 2,540 locations, the PG-13 fairy tale pic starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, and Claire Danes found itself in fourth place. Reviews were mostly positive, but that did little to boost its performance at the cash registers.
In its second weekend, Buena Vista's Underdog fell 44% to an estimated $6.5M to push its ten-day tally to $24.7M. A $40M final gross seems likely. The musical Hairspray once again enjoyed the best hold in the top ten dipping only 31% to an estimated $6.4M in its fourth frame. With a robust $92.1M in the bank, the New Line hit looks to reach the neighborhood of $110M.