Weekend Box Office

Box Office Wrapup: "Cars" in Pole Position Again, "Da Vinci Code" Reaches $679M Globally

by | June 19, 2006 | Comments

Despite the arrival of four new films cluttering the multiplexes, the Disney/Pixar animated film Cars remained the most popular movie in North America for a second straight weekend.

Among the freshman class, both the comedy Nacho Libre and the actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift opened with impressive numbers targeting young male moviegoers. The Keanu ReevesSandra Bullock romance The Lake House appealed to adult women and saw a respectable showing while the kid sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties opened poorly. With so much new product entering the marketplace, most holdovers suffered large declines.

Cars was once again the box office champion and grossed an estimated $31.2M in its second weekend boosting its ten-day cume to a stellar $114.5M. Though taking home another trophy, the G-rated film experienced a disturbing decline of 48% from last weekend which was much higher than the sophomore drops of previous Disney/Pixar toons. The last film from the companies, The Incredibles, dipped only 29% while 2003’s Finding Nemo eased 34%. Each bowed to about $70M and raced to over $143M in ten days. Cars opened last week about $10M weaker and is now eroding faster which means it is not likely to come close to the lofty heights reached previously. After ten days, Cars is running 20% behind the pace of Nemo and Incredibles. The talking automobile flick will still try to reach the $200M mark before running out of gas.

Opening a few notches behind in second place was the wrestling comedy Nacho Libre with an estimated $27.5M from 3,070 theaters. Averaging a muscular $8,962 per ring, the Paramount release stars Jack Black as a cook who moonlights as a flamboyant wrestler and was directed by Napoleon Dynamite’s Jared Hess. The $35M film appealed to young guys with studio data showing that 53% of the audience was male and 55% was under the age of 25. Nacho Libre began its weekend a bit early with 10pm preview shows on Thursday night which helped propel Friday’s opening day to a solid $11M. The PG-rated film dropped 14% to $9.4M on Saturday however, which could indicate a bumpy ride ahead.

Universal raced into third place with its street racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which opened with an estimated $24.1M. The PG-13 pic debuted in 3,027 locations and averaged a strong $7,947 average. The studio generated a strong performance considering this was the third time around for the franchise and that most of the stars of the first two Furious films were nowhere to be found. Young guys were the driving force behind the $75M Drift which like its predecessors appealed to a multicultural audience. According to studio data, 58% of the audience was male, 60% was under 25, and 71% was non-white.

Lucas Black and Bow Wow led the mostly unknown cast as fans responded more to the fast cars and racing attitudes than to starpower. The studio’s decision to include Vin Diesel‘s cameo in the television commercials also may have sparked interest from fans of the franchise. Tokyo Drift did not open as well as the first two pics in the series, but that was expected. In 2001, The Fast and the Furious opened to $40.1M on its way to $144.5M while its 2003 sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious debuted to $50.5M leading to a $127.2M tally. Tokyo Drift also opened in eight international markets this weekend grossing an estimated $7.5M from 825 theaters including number one openings in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand. Japan, where the film is set, will open in September.

A dozen years after exciting audiences in Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunited in the romantic drama The Lake House which debuted in fourth place with an estimated $13.7M. The Warner Bros. release averaged a respectable $5,166 from 2,645 theaters. The PG-rated film was a remake of the Korean drama Il Mare and told the story of a man and a woman from two different years who communicate and fall in love through letters they send to each other in a magical mailbox at a lake house. Reviews were not very good and both stars routinely see bigger openings for their films.

Universal’s The Break-Up dropped 53% in its third weekend and took fifth place with an estimated $9.5M boosting the 17-day cume to $91.9M.

Fox took up the next three spots on the chart starting with its kidpic sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties which flopped in its debut grossing an estimated $7.2M. Playing in 2,945 theaters, the PG-rated comedy averaged a weak $2,445 per venue. The first Garfield opened to $21.7M in June 2004 on its way to $75.4M domestically and a stellar $198M worldwide forcing the studio to dip into the well again with a new story. Bill Murray returned to voice the fat cat in Kitties which brought the characters to England for another adventure, but most families did not show much interest.

The year’s top-grossing domestic hit, X-Men: The Last Stand, tumbled another 56% in its fourth outing and grossed an estimated $7.2M. With a stellar $215.5M in the bank, the mutant sequel became the top-grossing installment of the super hero trilogy surpassing the $214.9M of X2: X-Men United from 2003. The horror remake The Omen placed eighth with an estimated $5.4M conveniently making its decline 66.6%. The top ten’s only R-rated pic has now grossed $46.9M to date for Fox.

Sony’s The Da Vinci Code followed with an estimated $5M, off 52%, pushing the domestic cume to $198.5M. Overseas, the Ron HowardTom Hanks vehicle uncovered another $15.2M this weekend as the international sum surged to $480M. The world’s biggest blockbuster of the year has now taken in an incredible $678.5M globally. Rounding out the top ten was the animated pic Over the Hedge with an estimated $4M, off 60%, for a $138.8M total.

The biggest summer hits continued to keep pace with last year’s. The collective gross for the top five summer releases reached $797.3M which was down less than 1% from the $802.5M from this point a year ago.

Four films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Robert Altman‘s A Prairie Home Companion fell 43% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $2.6M giving the Picturehouse release a ten-day tally of $8.8M. Look for a finish in the vicinity of $15M. The hit family comedy RV held up well during its seven-week run in the top ten, but this weekend the Robin Williams pic crashed 74% and grossed an estimated $500,000. With $66.4M in its tank, the Sony release is not expected to collect much more.

The Tom Cruise spy sequel Mission: Impossible III tumbled 61% in its seventh mission to an estimated $1.2M putting its cume at $130M. The Paramount sequel is the highest-grossing summer kick-off film since 2003’s X2, but with a $150M budget and a deafening amount of marketing hype, it has to be considered somewhat disappointing for the studio. The first two Mission pics grossed $181M in 1996 and $215.4M in 2000. MI3 should end its campaign with around $132M. Overseas, the Ethan Hunt film has grossed more than $200M to date.

The summer season’s second big offering Poseidon continued to sink dropping 66% in its sixth weekend to an estimated $620,000. The $160M Warner Bros. disaster film has taken in only $56.5M from North America making it one of the biggest underachievers of the summer. However, like most effects-driven action films, Poseidon is doing much better internationally where it grossed another $9M from 41 countries this weekend to boost the overseas take to $70.8M. Korea and Japan continue to be the most successful markets for the ocean liner pic with grosses that far outdistance those in key European territories.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $134.7M which was up 6% from last year when Batman Begins debuted at number one with $48.7M; and up 5% from 2004 when Dodgeball opened in the top spot with $30.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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