Box Office Guru Wrapup: Nicholson and Freeman Team Up For #1 Hit
Dungeon Seige fever fails to sweep the nation.The Bucket List starring Academy Award winners Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman opened nationally after a limited run and took over the number one spot. Ice Cube delivered very solid results for his new comedy First Sunday which debuted close behind in second place giving the marketplace some new blood after a three-week stretch when mostly the same titles held the top positions on the charts. Overall, moviegoers spent over $100M on the top ten films and kept the box office going strong.
Director Rob Reiner scored his first number one opener in over fifteen years with The Bucket List which debuted to a healthy estimate of $19.5M over the Friday-to-Sunday period to lead all films. The PG-13 pic expanded nationwide into 2,911 theaters after two weeks of exclusive runs in only 16 sites and averaged a sturdy $6,712 per location this weekend. The story of two dying men who set out to fulfill their final wishes received mixed reviews from critics but was welcomed with open arms by the paying public. It was the director's first trip to the box office throne since 1992's A Few Good Men which also starred Nicholson.
The Bucket List was one of four films that Warner Bros. placed in the
top ten. The studio's four-pack accounted for 38% of all tickets sold for the
top ten movies. Add in the cash from its limited run and Bucket has
collected $21M thus far. In today's youth-skewing marketplace, it is rare to see
a film anchored by two 70-year-old men hit the top of the box office.
proved once again how reliable of a draw he is with comedy with his latest
venture First Sunday
which opened a close second with an estimated $19M while playing in 700 fewer
theaters than Bucket. The PG-13 pic about a pair of petty criminals who plot to
rob a neighborhood church broke into 2,213 theaters and averaged a potent
$8,586. It was the best average of any film in wide release. If estimates hold,
Sunday will give Cube the third best opening weekend of his career after the
pair of Barbershop
hits which bowed to $20.6M for the first installment in 2002 and $24.2M for
First Sunday looks to be another moneymaker for the rapper-turned-actor as well as for Sony's Screen Gems unit. The $20M production skewed to a 54% female audience while 63% was between the ages of 18 and 39, according to studio research. With late-night talk shows back in production, stars Cube and Tracy Morgan were among the first actors to go back out and promote their films using those valuable marketing vehicles.
Fox Searchlight expanded its hit comedy Juno again adding 523 locations and slipped a spot to third place with an estimated $14M. That represented a drop in gross of only 12% from last weekend and a 31% decline in the per-theater average to $5,719. The cume to date has reached $71.3M and on Monday the ensemble hit will surpass the $71.5M of Sideways to become the top grossing film ever for Searchlight. Juno now looks on course to reach at least $110M domestically making it a highly profitable picture considering its production budget of less than $10M.
The holiday season's awesome threesome followed. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
claimed the number four spot in its fourth weekend with an estimated $11.5M.
Down 43%, the Buena Vista adventure sequel boosted its cume to $187.3M and
stands as Nicolas Cage's
top-grossing movie ever.
Fox's kidpic Alvin and the Chipmunks collected an estimated $9.1M, off 42%, for a $187.7M tally to date. Close behind was Will Smith who saw his sci-fi smash I Am Legend drop 48% to an estimated $8.1M for a stellar cume of $240.2M for Warner Bros. Together, the trio has grossed a jaw-dropping $615M and counting just from North America over the last month.
The supernatural thriller One Missed Call dropped down to seventh losing 51% from last weekend for an estimated $6.1M in ticket sales. Warner Bros. has scared up a respectable $20.6M in ten days and should be headed for a finish of roughly $35M. The studio's romantic drama P.S. I Love You continued to score with women not interested in the NFL playoffs and slipped only 36% to an estimated $5M. Cume to date is a solid $47M.
Universal opened the new animated film The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
to the tune of $4.4M, according to estimates. The G-rated adventure from The
VeggieTales franchise averaged a decent $3,305 from 1,337 theaters. The
debut was weaker than the $6.2M and $6,597 average of Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie
which bowed in October 2002. Rival kidpic Alvin and the Chipmunks grossed
twice as much as Pirates this weekend despite being in its fifth weekend
Two big awards contenders from the Universal family were in a dead heat for tenth place with estimates that were virtually identical. The Keira Knightley period romance Atonement took in an estimated $4.3M, off 15%, for a $25.2M cume to date. Focus continued to expand the film going from 583 to 950 playdates. Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts saw their latest film Charlie Wilson's War fall 47% to an estimated $4.27M pushing Universal's total to $59.5M. War is the second lowest grossing film for Hanks over the past ten years ahead of only The Ladykillers which swiped $39.7M in 2004.
Opening poorly outside of the top ten was the adventure tale In the Name of the King
starring Jason Statham
which bowed to just $3.3M, according to estimates. Attacking 1,631 sites, the
videogame-inspired pic averaged a weak $2,002 and failed to attract sizable
interest from its young male target audience. Freestyle Releasing handled the
distribution for the PG-13 film.
Two films fell out of the top ten this weekend. The Johnny Depp musical revenge tale Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street dropped 39% to an estimated $3.4M boosting its sum to $44.1M. The $50M DreamWorks/Warner Bros. co-production should end its domestic run with $50-55M. Sony's fantasy adventure The Water Horse fell 47% to an estimated $3.3M for a $35.2M total. Look for a $40-45M finish.
The Daniel Day-Lewis oil baron saga There Will Be Blood remained a muscular contender in limited release. The Paramount Vantage/Miramax co-production grossed an estimated $1.9M from 129 sites for a powerful $15,039 average in its third weekend. The acclaimed drama widened from 51 theaters and will roll out to 375-400 locations this Friday in its first major test in wider national play. Total is $4.4M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $101.1M which was up a sturdy 12% from last year when Stomp the Yard opened at number one with $21.8M; and up 9% from 2006 when Glory Road debuted in the top spot with $13.6M. Both of those years were helped by the Martin Luther King holiday which this year falls a week later on the calendar.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com