Wake me up when September ends. A super hot summer box office came crashing to a halt this weekend as three weak openers failed to come close to cracking the top three films at the box office. Superbad and The Bourne Ultimatum continued to shine, but newcomers War, Mr. Bean's Holiday and The Nanny Diaries were relegated to the lower rungs of the top ten weekend movies. With little to be excited about on the movie horizon, the Green Day song mentioned above seems more than appropriate.
Weekend Wrap-Up for August 24-26, 2007
Superbad Leads Hibernating Box Office
By John Hamann
August 26, 2007
The number one film at the box office is again Superbad, as those naughty boys continued to entertain the masses. Superbad acted somewhat like a sequel, dropping 46% compared to last weekend on its way to earning $18 million. While a fairly large drop, it was somewhat expected due to the interest shown prior to the film's release last weekend. The internal multiplier for Superbad last weekend was 2.67, which shows the slight front-loading this film received. The drop could have been worse, but word-of-mouth kept it right around the 50% mark, which isn't bad for a late August weekend. So far, the total for the Judd Apatow production has reached $68.6 million, and with a slightly better hold in the weekends to come, Superbad could reach $100 million. Remember the budget here is between $20 and $30 million – if Superbad reaches $100 million, the two Judd Apatow projects released this summer (the other being Knocked Up) will have grossed about $250 million domestically against a combined budget of about $50 million. Not a bad score for two small comedies with no stars.
Moving from third last weekend to second this weekend (a sure sign of the end of summer) is The Bourne Ultimatum, as this quality Matt Damon effort continues to rake in the bucks. The third film in the Bourne series grossed $12.4 million in its third weekend, off 38%. Ultimatum became the biggest domestic earner of the Bourne franchise this weekend, as the first Bourne finished with $121.5 million, and the second finished with $176 million. This Bourne has now reached $185.1 million, and will have no problem beating the $200 million mark. The Bourne Ultimatum cost Universal somewhere between $110 and $140 million to make, and should earn that much from overseas totals. Finally, this Bourne total makes Matt Damon the man of the movie summer, as he now has a combined total from Bourne and Ocean's Thirteen of about $300 million domestic (and counting).
Dropping one spot from second last weekend is Rush Hour 3, as the Jackie Chan flick gets passed by The Bourne Ultimatum, despite being released a week later. Rush Hour 3 earned $12.3 million as it dropped 43% compared to the previous frame – much better than its 57% drop last weekend. Rush Hour 3 crossed the $100 million mark on Saturday, its 16th day of release, considerably slower than the second film in the series. Rush Hour 2 crossed the $100 million mark after only seven days, which shows how the level of interest has dropped off for this franchise. Still, Rush Hour 3 should hit about $130 million stateside, and gross a similar amount overseas. The kung fu comedy won't match its production budget domestically, as it cost about $140 million to make, according to IMDb.
Finishing fifth (and best of the new openers this weekend) is Mr. Bean's Holiday, as Rowan Atkinson mugs for the kiddies in the follow-up to 1997's Bean, which pulled in $251 million worldwide. Mr. Bean's Holiday finished the weekend with an okay $10.1 million from only 1,713 venues. It had a so-so venue average of $5,905. Mr. Bean is a tired concept stateside, but there is obviously still somewhat of an audience for this type of flick. It has already earned almost $200 million worldwide.
Well back in fifth place is the action throwback War, which stars Jet Li and Jason Statham. The Lionsgate effort earned $10 million over its opening weekend, which is a fairly standard effort for Jet Li and Statham. Jet Li's Fearless opened to $10.6 million, and Unleashed debuted with $10.9 million. Li's popularity has dropped considerably in the last few years, as his first films like Romeo Must Die and The One were much more popular over their opening weekends, pulling in $18 million and $19 million respectively. It doesn't help that these films are oftentimes awful, with War being no exception. War received a 25% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, although only 16 critics had worked up the will to sit through it. Teaming Li up with The One co-star Jason Statham didn't help either, as this one opens right around where Statham's last film, Crank, debuted ($10.5 million).
The Nanny Diaries keeled over in sixth, as Scarlett Johansson adds another stinker to her resume. The Nanny Diaries, based on a popular book, arrives DOA at the box office, earning only $7.8 million from 2,629 venues. The writing was on the wall for this one, as it had no buzz and carried a 31% fresh rating heading into the weekend. For Johansson, The Nanny Diaries joins films like The Black Dahlia, Scoop, Match Point and The Island as recent misses for the young actress. Look for The Nanny Diaries to disappear quickly.
The Simpsons Movie tumbles from fourth last weekend to seventh this weekend. The Fox comedy earned $4.4 million this weekend as it fights to stay alive in the late summer box office. The Simpsons Movie dropped 36% compared to last weekend, and has now earned $173.4 million at the domestic box office. Despite opening to $74 million, this one isn't going to earn $200 million domestically; however, it has already earned almost $300 million overseas.
Stardust finishes eighth as the Neil Gaiman project begins to lose steam. Stardust earned $4.0 million in its third weekend, and was off 30% compared to the previous frame. This $70 million effort has entered flop territory, as it has earned only $26.5 million since opening, and won't finish with much more than $35 million.
Finishing up a solid run is Hairspray, our ninth place film. Hairspray earned $3.5 million in its sixth weekend, off 23% compared to last weekend. The total now for the musical has reached $107.4 million, not bad versus its $75 million budget.
Rounding out the top ten is The Invasion, the big Nicole Kidman flop that debuted last weekend. The Invasion, with its $80 million budget (that I sense is low due to reshoots) earned only $3.1 million in its second weekend, off 47% compared to its debut. This Warner Bros. mistake has now earned $11.5 million, and at this point the studio must think a $20 million finish is a lottery win.
Overall, the party is over at the summer box office. The top 12 found an okay $90.2 million, which still compares favorably with last year's top 12 total of $84.1 million, when Mark Walhberg's Invincible debuted with $17 million. Next weekend is Labor Day and three somewhat interesting films open. Wednesday brings Balls of Fury, the ping pong comedy with Christopher Walken, which will be followed by Rob Zombie's take on the Halloween franchise, and James Wan's latest, Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon.