Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Sandler Tops Potter for #1 Spot

Chuck and Larry sitting in a tree, B-O-X-O-F-F-I-C-E-K-I-N-G.

by | July 22, 2007 | Comments

Adam Sandler
scored the ninth number one opening of his career with his latest comedy
I
Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
which edged out former champ

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
for the top spot at the North
American box office. The frame’s only other wide opener
Hairspray
enjoyed a
magical debut of its own with a strong third place bow. Overall, moviegoers
spread their dollars around as for first time in more than three years, four
films grossed over $20M each over the same weekend.

Universal won a slim box office victory with the launch of

Chuck and Larry
which grossed an estimated $34.8M to lead the frame.
Debuting in 3,495 theaters, the PG-13 pic about two straight firefighters who
pretend to be gay for the domestic partner benefits averaged an impressive
$9,950 per location. Though a solid first place performance, Chuck and Larry
also delivered the worst opening for one of
Sandler’s broad
live-action comedies since the 2000 flop
Little Nicky
.
His more dramatic turns in films like
Spanglish
and
Reign Over Me

have attracted modest openings, but his mainstream laughers typically debut near
the $40M mark. Sandler still stands a good chance of earning a $100M blockbuster
for the sixth consecutive year.

Falling down one spot to the runnerup position was

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
which grossed an estimated
$32.2M in its sophomore session. Down a steep 58%, the Warner Bros. release
lifted its 12-day cume to a stunning $207.5M. Second weekend declines are
typically large for high-profile tentpole films. Phoenix’s drop was a bit
smaller than the 62% for both
Spider-Man 3
and
Pirates
of the Caribbean: At World’s End
which each debuted on a Friday in May.
However, it was larger than the drops for fellow midweek openers
Live Free or
Die Hard
and
Transformers

which witnessed sophomore declines of 47% and 48%, respectively.





The new Potter film had to compete with the arrival of the seventh and
final wizard book on Saturday which appealed to the exact same audience and
probably kept many away from the multiplexes. Still the gross to date compares
favorably to the $201M that the last film

Goblet of Fire
generated by the end of its second weekend in November
2005. That tally however was over two fewer days but did have the benefit of the
Thanksgiving holiday. With the summer playing period, Phoenix stands a
good chance of matching the $290M of Goblet and could even crack the
$300M mark. Together with Transformers, that would give this summer a
record five megablockbusters crossing the $300M threshold.





Helped by monster openings in Japan and Russia, the fifth wizard tale grossed a
staggering $100.8M overseas this weekend to boost the international tally to
$351.3M. That puts the global box office for Order of the Phoenix at a
towering $559M after only 12 days. This weekend the Harry Potter movie
franchise also crossed a major milestone as the global box office for all five
films combined shattered the $4 billion mark.





New Line attracted a large audience to its musical comedy
Hairspray
which
opened better than expected at number three with an estimated $27.8M. Playing in
3,121 houses, the PG-rated film averaged a stellar $8,907 and gave the studio
its best opening in two years. Hairspray earned rave reviews from critics
and starred a diverse cast that allowed the marketing team to target different
audiences. Hollywood veterans
John Travolta and
Michelle Pfeiffer
helped bring in adult moviegoers,
Amanda Bynes and
Zac Efron caught the
attention of teens,
Queen Latifah
helped give the film appeal to African American moviegoers,
and newcomer
Nikki Blonsky
hit the talk show circuit making everyday Americans feel they
too can win their shot at movie stardom. Many audience segments found something
here to like.

Transformers banked another $20.5M, according to estimates, and saw its
total soar to $263M. Off 45% in its third weekend, the Paramount/DreamWorks
production climbed to number 34 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters
passing the $262M of 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The animated rodent film
Ratatouille

dropped 39% to fifth place with an estimated $11M in its fourth outing to boost
the cume to $165.6M. Although the acclaimed comedy is on its way past the $200M
mark, it will end up being Pixar’s lowest-grossing film since 1998’s
A Bug’s Life
. Fox’s
action sequel
Live Free or
Die Hard
followed in sixth with an estimated $7.3M, off 35%, lifting the
total to $116.5M. By Tuesday the new installment will become the top-grossing
Die Hard
film edging past the $117.3M of 1990’s Die Hard 2, however
ticket prices were much lower when all previous John McClane pics were released.

The Warner Bros. comedy
License to
Wed
fell 49% to an estimated $3.8M and gave the
Robin Williams
film $38.7M to date. The hit thriller
1408
scared up an
estimated $2.6M, down 47%, giving MGM a cume of $67.5M.





Universal rounded out the top ten with a pair of comedies from the men behind
The 40-Year-Old
Virgin
. Steve
Carell’s
Evan
Almighty
grossed an estimated $2.5M, down 50%, for a $93.5M sum. But
director Judd Apatow has been the bigger winner with
Knocked Up
which
slipped 37% to an estimated $2.3M raising the stellar total to $142.7M and
counting. Final domestic grosses should be roughly $100M and $150M,
respectively.




In limited release, Fox Searchlight’s sci-fi thriller
Sunshine
opened well
with an estimated $235,000 from only ten locations for a scorching $23,548
average. The Danny Boyle-directed
pic expands on Friday to over 400 theaters nationwide. Also posting a solid
average was Don Cheadle’s
Talk to Me with an
estimated $342,000 from 36 sites for a commendable $9,491 average. The total
sits at $895,000 with an expansion set for Friday as well.




A pair of films fell from the top ten over the weekend.
Michael Moore’s
health care documentary
Sicko
dipped 26% to an estimated $1.9M pushing the overall cume to
$19.2M. A final take of about $25M seems likely for the Lionsgate release. The
caper sequel
Ocean’s Thirteen
grossed an estimated $1.1M in its seventh heist, down
47%, for a $114.6M cume to date. A final North American tally of approximately
$118M seems likely which would be just 6% less than the $125.5M of 2004’s
Ocean’s Twelve.




The top ten films grossed an estimated $144.7M which was up 5% from last year
when

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
remained at number one for
the third time with $35.2M; and up 17% from 2005 when Johnny Depp also ruled
with

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
which took in $28.3M in its sophomore
session.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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