Jason Statham in "Transporter 2" was the go-to guy over the holiday weekend, hauling in an estimated $20.2 million from 3,300 screens. This is a marked improvement over the debut of the original "Transporter," which opened to $9.1 million, eventually snagged a grand total of $25.2 million, and then became a bona-fide hit once the DVD was released.
With a budget of approximately $32 million, "Trans2" looks to turn a tidy profit well before Fox releases the double-dip Special Edition in eight months. The film also broke the record for a Labor Day debut, knocking "Jeepers Creepers 2" and its $18.3 million opening into second place.
Stepping graciously into second place was the two-week champion known as "The 40 Year-Old Virgin," which added about $16.5 million to its total of $71.9 million. Debuting in third place was Focus Features’ "The Constant Gardener," which tallied nearly $11 million from only 1,346 theaters. (An indicator that moviegoers are perhaps looking for some more grown-up material? One can only hope so.)
Rounding out the top five were Wes Craven‘s "Red Eye" ($9.3m holiday weekend, $45.4 million total) and Terry Gilliam‘s "The Brothers Grimm," which added nearly $8 million to its $27.6 million total haul. A pair of late-season holdovers, Miramax’s "Underclassman," and WB’s "A Sound of Thunder," debuted in rather terrible form. The cop-in-school comedy made $3 million from over 1,100 screens, while the ill-fated Ray Bradbury adaptation yielded only $1.1 million from just over 800 theaters.
Next Friday sees a pair of latecoming hopefuls: Screen Gems’ courtroom-occult flick "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" will debut on over 2,900 screens, while the Samuel Jackson / Eugene Levy buddy comedy "The Man" will appear on about 1,800. For a closer look at the weekend numbers, have a peek at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.