Hollywood served up more of the same dishes and moviegoers said enough is enough and found their weekend entertainment elsewhere. The latest star-studded heist sequel "Ocean’s Thirteen" managed to open at number one, but with the weakest debut of the franchise.
"Surf’s Up," the second animated penguin movie in seven months, attracted a mild debut while the horror sequel "Hostel Part II" was butchered on its opening weekend. Overall, the marketplace generated the worst showing for the second weekend of June since 2003.
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Al Pacino made off with the North American box office crown with "Ocean’s Thirteen" which debuted on top with an estimated $37.1M. Averaging a solid $10,401 from 3,565 locations, the Warner Bros. release bowed a bit below the openings of the previous installments in the heist franchise. 2001’s "Ocean’s Eleven" debuted to $38.1M and a $12,393 average while its 2004 sequel premiered to $39.2M and a $11,901 average. Both opened in early December.
"Thirteen"’s top spot debut marked the sixth consecutive weekend when a threequel ruled the charts. Given higher ticket prices, additional theaters, the more high-profile summer launch, and the publicity generated from the much-hyped world premiere at Cannes, "Ocean’s Thirteen" was expected to open stronger by some in the industry. However, competition for adults was stronger with this chapter with holdovers "Pirates" and "Knocked Up" grossing a combined $41M. Plus the non-stop assault of sequels may have made some moviegoers sick of paying to see the same characters in the same situations again and again. Reviews were mostly upbeat for the PG-13 caper pic.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" tumbled another 52% in its third frame and dropped down to second place with an estimated $21.3M pushing its cume to $253.6M. Both previous Captain Jack films, 2003’s "The Curse of the Black Pearl" and 2006’s "Dead Man’s Chest," did better in their third weekends with $23.1M and $35.2M, respectively. The latest Disney pic now stands at number 38 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters after 2001’s "Monsters, Inc." which grossed $255.9M. At its current rate of decline, "At World’s End" now has no guarantee of reaching the $300M mark which was always seen as an easy milestone before the film’s release. As with the "Spider-Man" franchise, the third chapter should become the lowest-grossing installment in the series domestically.
But just like with the webslinger, international business is on fire for the latest "Pirates" which grossed an estimated $51.3M overseas this weekend, down 50%. That puts the overseas tally at $493.5M and the global gross at a colossal $747M.
Universal’s hot comedy "Knocked Up" delivered a solid hold in its second weekend thanks to strong word-of-mouth. The R-rated pic collected an estimated $20M, off 35%, for a ten-day cume of $66.2M. By comparison, director Judd Apatow’s last film "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" opened weaker and dipped only 24% to $16.3M in its second weekend for a total of $48.6M in its first ten days. "Knocked Up" is proving that a film that is good and original can attract a large paying audience and should go on to gross more than "Ocean’s Thirteen" this summer despite having a smaller budget and no bankable stars. A final gross of about $120-130M could result for the pregnancy comedy quadrupling its $30M production cost.
The penguin toon "Surf’s Up" opened in fourth place with a mediocre launch. Sony’s big summer family pic took in an estimated $18M from an ultrawide 3,528 theaters for a decent $5,102 average. The PG-rated film tells of a young penguin who competes in a surfing competition and was made in a mockumentary style. The debut was weaker than last year’s animated releases from the studio – "Open Season" ($23.6M) and "Monster House" ($22.2M). "Surf’s Up" also bowed to less than half of the $41.5M that last November’s penguin pic "Happy Feet" took in on its debut frame. Sony saw a six-week gap between the openings of the summer megatoons "Shrek the Third" and Pixar’s "Ratatouille" and positioned its entry right in the middle.
Close behind in fifth was rival toon "Shrek the Third" with an estimated $15.8M in its fourth frame. Off a reasonable 44%, the Paramount release has grabbed $281.9M to date putting it at number 29 on the all-time domestic list. A final gross of around $320M seems likely. The latest ogre now stands as the second biggest DreamWorks film ever after "Shrek 2" ($436.7M) and the third largest hit in Paramount history after "Titanic" ($600.8M) and "Forrest Gump" ($329.7M).
Yet another horror failure followed in sixth place. Lionsgate’s "Hostel Part II" opened to an estimated $8.8M from 2,350 theaters for a weak $3,723 average. That was less than half of the $19.6M bow that the first "Hostel" generated in January 2006 on its way to a solid $47.3M domestic gross. The R-rated sequel once again examines the torture of American students in Slovakia, only with female victims this time. "Part II" even opened weaker than other recent horror sequels like "28 Weeks Later" and "The Hills Have Eyes II" which both bowed to just under $10M each. With so many fright flicks flooding the multiplexes recently and moviegoers ignoring most of them, Lionsgate has to be a bit worried about getting genre fans back into theaters for the fourth consecutive Halloween with its "Saw IV."
The Kevin Costner thriller "Mr. Brooks" fell 50% to an estimated $5M and placed seventh with a $18.7M total. "Spider-Man 3" dropped 45% to an estimated $4.4M in its sixth mission giving Sony $325.7M to date. That keeps the third webslinger adventure at number 17 on the all-time domestic list just behind "The Lion King"’s lifetime cume of $328.5M. A $335M final seems likely.
Enjoying the smallest decline in the top ten once again was Keri Russell’s comedy "Waitress" which dipped only 18% to an estimated $1.7M pushing the cume to $12M for Fox Searchlight. Paramount’s "Disturbia" rounded out the top ten with an estimated $550,000, down 51%, giving the thriller $77.8M to date.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $132.5M which was down 8% from last year when "Cars" opened at number one with $60.1M; and off 1% from 2005 when "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" debuted in the top spot with $50.3M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com