Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Chan and Li Rule Box Office Kingdom

But audiences didn't forget about Sarah Marshall.

by | April 20, 2008 | Comments

Audiences were fired up for the first-ever showdown between martial arts
legends Jackie Chan and
Jet Li as their
new fantasy actioner The
Forbidden Kingdom
opened at number one at theaters across North America.
Those in search of laughs powered the starless breakup comedy Forgetting
Sarah Marshall
into second place with a strong debut of its own.
Targeting different audiences, the one-two punch was enough to propel the
overall box office ahead of last year’s levels by a respectable margin.

Lionsgate scored its first top spot debut of the year with The
Forbidden Kingdom
which grossed an estimated $20.9M from 3,151
theaters over the weekend. The PG-13 adventure film averaged a solid $6,623 per
location and saw much of its support from young male audiences and fans of
martial arts movies. In the film, an American teen mysteriously travels back to
ancient China and embarks on a quest to free the famed Monkey King.
Chan and
Li, who each got
to play a double role, provided the starpower to pull in paying audiences.
Reviews were mixed.

Opening in second place with a solid debut of its own was the raunchy
relationship comedy Forgetting
Sarah Marshall
Forgetting Sarah Marshall which grossed an estimated
$17.4M from 2,798 theaters. The R-rated pic about a man coping with being dumped
by his celebrity girlfriend averaged a commendable $6,201 and played best to
adult women. The Sarah bow was below what producer
Judd Apatow
has seen in the past with his R-rated summer comedies
40-Year-Old Virgin
Knocked Up

($30.7M), and Superbad ($33.1M). However, it was stronger than the debuts
of his latest offerings Walk Hard ($4.2M) and Drillbit Taylor
($10.3M). Since the surprise success of Virgin in 2005, studios have used
Apatow’s name and resume to market anything he remotely has been involved in.

Sony claimed three of the next four slots. Last weekend’s number one film Prom Night
crumbled by 56% to an estimated $9.1M and pushed its ten-day tally to $32.6M. A
$45M final seems likely.

Al Pacino crime
drama 88 Minutes
was rejected by moviegoers and collected only $6.8M, according to estimates, in
its opening weekend. The Sony release averaged a mild $3,137 from 2,168
locations and was panned by critics from coast to coast. The R-rated pic opened
in numerous other countries around the world last year and was finally dumped
into the late spring graveyard in the North American market.

The kid adventure Nim’s Island
grossed an estimated $5.7M, off 38%, giving Fox $32.9M to date. Sony’s blackjack
hit 21
followed dropping 48% to sixth place with an estimated $5.5M and upped its cume
to $70M.

The Keanu Reeves
cop thriller Street Kings
tumbled in its second weekend falling 68% to an estimated $4M. With $19.9M in
ten days, look for Fox Searchlight to finish with $25-27M. Toon smash Horton Hears a Who
declined by just 41% to an estimated $3.5M leaving the year’s top film with

Ben Stein‘s new
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

was a surprise face in the top ten popping into the number nine spot with an
estimated $3.2M. Averaging a mild $2,997 from 1,052 locations, the PG-rated film
about creationism was aimed at Christian audiences by distributor rocky Mountain
Pictures. Expelled was the only film in the top ten to see Saturday sales drop
from Friday so a long life in theaters is not likely.

Rounding out the top ten was the
George Clooney
flop Leatherheads
with an estimated $3M, down 52%, for a total of $26.6M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $78.9M which was up 15% from last year
when Disturbia retained the top spot with $13M in its second weekend; but
down 17% from 2006 when Silent Hill debuted at number one with $20.2M.

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