There were no new wide releases last week, just some new films in limited release, the most high profile being Mike Nichols’s "Closer" (Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Clive Owen) and Zhang Yimou‘s "House of Flying Daggers" (Zhang Ziyi, Andy Law, and Takeshi Kaneshiro). Both did excellent business. "Closer," which has a fresh Tomatometer of 68%, grossed an estimated $7.7M in just 476 theaters. It placed 6th on this weekend’s box office chart. However, it has the top per theater average of any film in the top ten — $16,176. Even more impressive, per theater wise, is "House of Flying Daggers." Released in only 15 theaters, it grossed $417,020 over the weekend (not good enough to place in the top 10) for a per theater average of $27,801. "House of Flying Daggers" has a very fresh Tomatometer of 84%.
Topping the charts for the third weekend in a row is "National Treasure." It grossed $17.1M this weekend for a total of $110.2M in just three weeks. This has already became Nicolas Cage‘s third personal best, behind "Face/Off"’s $112.3M and "The Rock"’s $134M. In another two weeks, it will probably surpass "The Rock." With Christmas on the horizon, the next two spots are taken by two Christmas-themed films — "Christmas with the Kranks" and "Polar Express," respectively. "Christmas with the Kranks," one of the worst-reviewed films of the year with a very rotten 4% on the Tomatometer (even worse than the 7% of Ben Affleck‘s "Surviving Christmas"), grossed $11.7M for a total of $45.5M in two weeks. "Polar Express" grossed $11M for a total of $96.4M in four weeks. It’s holding up surprisingly well.
In fourth and fifth place are a pair of animated features. "The Incredibles "grossed $9.2M over the weekend for a total of $226M in five weeks of release. It doesn’t look like it’ll be able to beat "Finding Nemo"’s $340M total. In "Nemo"’s fifth week of release, it made $254M, which is $28M more than "The Incredibles" in the same span of time. In fifth place is "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie," which grossed $7.8M over the weekend. Its total is $68.4M so far.
With a not-so-great total of $29.7M so far and dropping precipitously, Oliver Stone’s "Alexander" is the winter season’s first bonafide bomb. It also has a very rotten Tomatometer of 15%.