Will Smith took home yet another gold medal at the box office with his superhero-with-an-attitude actioner Hancock which opened at number one over the Fourth of July holiday weekend nearly doubling the gross of the frame’s silver medalist. Sony’s critically-panned title collected an estimated $66M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and a solid $107.3M since its launch on Tuesday night with previews beginning at 7pm. The three-day average was a strong $16,646 from 3,965 locations.
Its five-and-a-half-day tally was the fourth biggest opening for the extended Independence Day holiday frame trailing 2004’s Spider-Man 2 ($180.1M in six days), last year’s Transformers ($155.4M in six-and-a-half days), and 2005’s War of the Worlds ($112.7M in six days). Since the holiday falls on a different day each year prompting studios to bow their films in various ways, comparisons are not always fair. But in all three cases, the extended openings accounted for 48-49% of the eventual final domestic gross.
Smith once again proved that he’s Hollywood’s most bankable box office draw. Hancock was the actor’s eighth consecutive number one opener, eighth consecutive film to break the $100M mark, and gave the actor his seventh consecutive year of having a film reach the nine-digit mark. Co-starring Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron, Hancock offers up a new take on the superhero story with a central character that drinks, curses, and roughs up children. The PG-13 film cost a reported $150M and Smith served as producer as well as star. Reviews were overwhelmingly negative but audiences came out anyway generating sales that were far from a record, but still very healthy nonetheless. Bad buzz could make the weeks ahead rocky though.
Hancock‘s journey began on Tuesday night with $6.8M, Wednesday’s official opening day delivered $17.4M, and Thursday added in $17.1M more. The Fourth of July holiday fell on a Friday this year and saw Hancock take in $18.8M. Saturday climbed 39% to $26.1M while Sunday was estimated to dip by 19% to $21.2M. Sony launched the tentpole pic around the world this weekend and hauled in an additional $78M overseas bringing the global opening to a stellar $185.3M over the past week.
Following its top spot debut last week, Disney/Pixar’s animated hit WALL•E fell 47% to second with an estimated $33.4M giving the G-rated toon a sturdy $128.1M in ten days. It was a larger than usual decline for a Pixar pic but the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Friday contributed to the slide. The robot adventure opened 34% higher than last summer’s Ratatouille which debuted at the same time, but after ten days the lead was cut in half to 17%. Both periods include the Independence Day holiday.
But thanks to strong midweek sales at a time when kids are out of school, WALL•E‘s ten-day cume is 10% ahead of Cars and 9% ahead of Kung Fu Panda. Both of those animated hits opened in early June. The road ahead will not be an easy one as two more PG-rated family films open this Friday – the Brendan Fraser adventure film Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Eddie Murphy comedy Meet Dave. At its current pace, WALL•E could find its way to $235-245M domestically.
Universal’s effects-driven actioner Wanted fell a steep 60% in its second weekend to an estimated $20.6M and boosted its ten-day total to $90.8M. The $75M Angelina Jolie assassin pic should find its way to $130-140M from North America making it the second biggest R-rated film of the year after Sex and the City. Overseas, Wanted grossed an estimated $18.8M from 23 markets pushing the international total to $64.2M and the global gross to $155M so far.
Steve Carell‘s Get Smart landed in fourth in its third frame with an estimated $11.1M. Off 45%, the Warner Bros.release has collected $98.1M in 17 days. Paramount’s animated hit Kung Fu Panda followed in fifth with an estimated $7.5M, off 36%, lifting the total to $193.4M. Currently the third largest film of 2008, the DreamWorks production looks to end up with about $220M and could have its toon crown swiped by WALL•E later this summer.
Universal’s comic reboot The Incredible Hulk fell 48% to an estimated $5M and brought its sum to $124.9M which was almost identical to the $124.7M that 2003’s Hulk took in at the same point in its run. The new pic opened lower but has enjoyed somewhat better legs. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull followed with an estimated $3.9M, down only 24%, for a new cume of $306.6M. That puts the Steven Spielberg sequel at number 26 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of the $306.2M of 1996’s Independence Day. Of course, ticket prices were much higher a dozen years ago when Will Smith scored his first of five number one openers over this holiday and its tally today would be roughly $490M.
Abigail Breslin landed in eighth place with her Depression-era pic Kit Kittredge: An American Girl which disappointed in wide release grossing only $3.6M, according to estimates, in its first weekend of national play. Expanding from five to 1,843 locations, the G-rated pic aimed at young girls averaged a poor $1,954 per theater. Given the popularity of the books and toys that the film is based on and the sizzling numbers posted in limited release, a much stronger turnout was expected. Total sits at just $6.1M for Picturehouse.
Two critically-panned films fell from the top ten this weekend. The Mike Myers comedy The Love Guru tumbled 68% to an estimated $1.7M for a weak cume of $29.3M. Budgeted at $60M, the Paramount release should finish with only $31-33M. Fox’s M. Night Shyamalan thriller The Happening declined by 63% to an estimated $1.5M for a $62.1M total. Produced for about $55M, the R-rated pic should end up with around $65M which is a nice bounce back after the director’s Lady in the Water which grossed $42.3M in 2006. But The Happening stills ranks as the second lowest performer for Shyamalan since he became a household name in 1999 with The Sixth Sense.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $155.5M which was off 3% from last year when Transformers opened in the top spot with $70.5M over three days; but up 12% from 2006’s holiday frame when Superman Returns debuted at number one with $52.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya,