After two huge sequels opened earlier in the summer, a smaller one opened this weekend in The Bourne Supremacy; however, the results were large in terms of expectations. Catwoman also opened this weekend, but in this case, folks weren’t betting on how well it was going to do, but rather how poorly it was set to perform. Amidst the openers we have Fahrenheit 9/11 moving toward $100 million, and Shrek 2 advancing on the top four all-time best domestic grossing films.
A Franchise Bourne
Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for July 23-25, 2004
By John Hamann
July 25, 2004
The number one film by a landslide is The Bourne Supremacy, Universal’s follow-up to the $121.5 million Bourne Identity, released in June 2002. The Matt Damon starrer got out of the gate stronger than estimates were predicting, as Bourne drew $53.5 million over its opening weekend thanks to a very strong marketing campaign from Universal. The studio got the film out to 3,162 venues and pulled an extremely strong venue average of $16,909. After all the talk last weekend about Will Smith being the king of July box office, Matt Damon comes along one week later, trumps I, Robot’s opening weekend score, and steals any chance the futuristic sci-fi film had at a second weekend hold. Matt Damon is going to have a strong 2004. After this weekend’s success, his next film is also an easy knock out of the park as he’s part of the Ocean’s 12 dream team, sequel to the $183.4 million hit Ocean’s 11. After that, Damon is in Terry Gilliam’s Brothers Grimm with Heath Ledger and Monica Belluci, another high-profile release.
It’s been a tough summer so far for Universal Pictures and its production partners. Bad reviews, horrible word-of-mouth, and huge drop-offs from high-profile films dogged the studio. It seemed that Universal had lost its knack in the summer, as they had been the studio to beat in the hot season, going back to the first Steven Sommers Mummy movie. They had an easier piece to work with in Bourne than previous releases Van Helsing and Chronicles of Riddick; word-of-mouth was good heading into the weekend and the original had been huge on home video and DVD. Reviews (and a crappy Catwoman) sealed the deal this weekend for The Bourne Supremacy, as its score at RottenTomatoes came in at 79%, with 87 positive reviews out of a possible 110. The weekend multiplier (Friday gross divided by weekend gross) was a very positive 2.87 this weekend, meaning Supremacy played more like a new idea than a sequel. Lower multipliers are usually reserved for sequels, as that built-in audience comes out Friday night, and then the film drops off from there. That certainly isn’t the case with Bourne, so we may see some good legs on this one in the weeks to come.
Second spot does not go to Catwoman this weekend; instead we get I, Robot in the runner-up spot after finishing in the top dog’s seat last weekend. I, Robot got crushed by The Bourne Supremacy as it dropped a huge 58% this weekend. The Will Smith starrer grossed $22.1 million from 3,494 venues, up 76 from last weekend. The best news for the futuristic Fox tale is that its current gross sits at $95.4 million, and it will cross the $100 million mark in the next couple of days. While Will Smith is a consistent $50 million earner in July, he’s also becoming an instant 50%+ drop-off man. Five of his last six films have plunged over 50% and the one that didn’t, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was a flop anyway. Wild Wild West dropped 53.8% in its second weekend, Ali dropped 52% in its second weekend, MiB2 dropped 53%, Bad Boys II fell 52.6% and now I, Robot dropped 58%. Yes, I, Robot will be a $150 million plus earner and an even bigger hit worldwide, but there is a trend here for Will Smith.
Third this weekend is Warner Bros’ Catwoman, which disappointed on all levels. The Halle Berry comic book feature grossed $17.2 million in its opening weekend from 3,162 venues. It had a soft venue average of $5,503. Considering the pedigree of the piece, Warner Bros really dropped the ball on this one. The studio was unable to contain horrible buzz, which was cemented on Friday with horrid reviews from most of North America’s daily newspapers. At RottenTomatoes, the film had only 12 positive reviews out of a possible 111, giving it a nasty rating of 11%. The score ties current earner A Cinderella Story as the worst reviewed film of the summer. Warner Bros supposedly spent $100 million on Catwoman, and will be lucky to recoup $50 million of that domestically. Maybe international audiences won’t mind that the film is awful.
Falling to fourth (but narrowly missing third) is Spider-Man 2. The Sam Raimi film continued its trek up the list of all-time earners as the film took in another $15 million. Its fourth weekend drop was better than its two previous, as the film fell 40% from its $24.8 million gross last weekend. The Sony sequel has a current take so far of $328.5 million and should have no problem reaching $375 million. The film crossed the $200 million mark in overseas grosses last weekend. Spidey 2’s uber-grossing summer partner Shrek 2 had grossed $353.3 million after four weekends, and won’t be challenged by Spider-Man 2 for the top summer grosser.
Fifth goes to A Cinderella Story, a film that’s going to keep Hilary Duff in the movie business for a few more years. Despite absolutely awful reviews, the WB tale for teens somehow dropped only 41% this weekend, grossing $8 million. The film, which had a production budget of only $19 million, has now taken in $29.8 million and will most likely finish with a $45 million domestic total.
Despite zero comedy competition opening this weekend, DreamWorks’ Anchorman still fell hard in its third frame. The Will Ferrell laugher grossed $7.1 million this weekend, dropping 49% in the process. The $26 million comedy has now grossed $71.2 million.
Fahrenheit 9/11 finishes eighth as the film begins to drop out of the headlines. F9/11 grossed another $5 million this weekend and crossed the $100 million mark on Saturday. The Michael Moore doc was down 30% but raised its total cume to $103.4 million. It should finish with $115-120 million in domestic grosses - not bad for a documentary that cost $6 million to make.
New Line’s The Notebook has to be considered one of the leggiest films of the summer, as it drops one spot to eighth this weekend. The weeper dropped only 21% in its fifth weekend, despite losing 86 venues. The Notebook grossed $4.5 million, and now has a current take of $62.5 million – a fantastic total considering it opened to $13.6 million.
King Arthur languishes in ninth this weekend, as the film is closer to being put out of its misery. King Arthur dropped a nasty 57% this weekend, pulling in a weekend gross of only $3.1 million. The total for the $120 million Buena Vista picture sits at $45.2 million.
In tenth for the second weekend in a row is Shrek 2. The DreamWorks animated film has now been in theatres (and in the top ten) for ten weekends. In its tenth frame, the film grossed $2.4 million, bringing its very large gross up to $429.5 million. It should pass Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace next weekend to become the fourth biggest domestic box office hit ever.
Overall this weekend, the box office continued its terrific pace through the summer. The top ten this weekend pulled in $137.8 million. Last year, box office was huge, with five films grossing more than $20 million. The top ten last year pulled in $142.6 million, still very close to this year’s totals.