Welcome to August, everyone. After three months of white-hot box office with barely a break in the action, the August softness is already creeping back into the weekend totals. The first weekend of the eighth month brought us Tom Cruise in a well-reviewed action movie and Brittany Murphy in her usually successful style of romantic comedy. Neither were breakout hits, as any noise made at the box office this weekend was the sound of crickets at screenings of The Village.
Collateral Clicks; Village Evacuates
Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for August 6-8, 2004
By John Hamann
August 8, 2004
The number one film of the weekend is Collateral, Tom Cruise’s new action film from director Michael Mann. Collateral got out of the gate solidly, but not with any punch, as the film grossed $24.4 million from 3,188 venues. The film had a decent venue average of $7,653. Collateral is a co-production between the currently hot DreamWorks and the not-so-hot Paramount, as the two companies shared the $60 million production budget. For Cruise, the opening weekend number for Collateral is well behind his last summer film, the sci-fi Minority Report, which opened to $35.7 million. The film finished the weekend with a total resembling a Tom Cruise December release like The Last Samurai ($24.3 million) or Vanilla Sky ($25.0 million). Is the opening weekend for Collateral a disappointment? I’d say that the debut is probably at the lower end of the two studios' expectations, but with the superlative reviews the film is getting, Collateral should have healthy legs, a trait for which Cruise’s films are known. Of his last 11 films (going back to 1992), only two of his more art-house films (Magnolia and Eyes Wide Shut) failed to reach the $100 million mark. With the weak August schedule, Collateral should have no problem reaching that mark, making Cruise ten for 12 out of his last dozen. For director Michael Mann, Collateral is his biggest opening weekend, and is going to be his biggest hit yet, as this one should have no problem beating Heat's $86.3 million.
As I mentioned above, Collateral is getting some of the best reviews of the summer, although reviewers are focusing more on the filmmaking of Mann than the performance of Cruise, making Collateral similar to last year’s Seabiscuit from Universal. 128 reviews were counted at RottenTomatoes and 110 were positive, giving the star and director an 86% fresh rating – an excellent score for Cruise’s first real shot at playing the villain (if you don’t consider Magnolia or Interview With the Vampire).
Second spot this weekend does go to The Village, but the drop was so intense that The Bourne Supremacy gave the M. Night Shyamalan film a run for its money. After an opening weekend gross of $50.7 million, the bottom fell out of the thriller. The weekend drop came in at 67%, giving the Buena Vista film a weekend take of $16.6 million. Last weekend the opening weekend multiplier for The Village came in at a sequel-like 2.5, meaning the film was extremely front-loaded, and that trend continued into the second weekend. The drop beats Catwoman’s 62% plunge last weekend and exceeded my expectations. All is not lost, though, for Buena Vista; The Village has now grossed $85.7 million domestically, with more to come overseas with openings later in August and September. In only its second weekend, The Village passed The Haunted Mansion to become the studio’s biggest hit in a year. It should end up with a domestic total of at least $140-150 million.
Third place belongs to The Bourne Supremacy, which is going to quietly become one of the big hits of the summer season. Matt Damon’s Bourne grossed another $14.1 million, keeping its nose above the $10 million mark for the third consecutive weekend. The film dropped 42% in its third frame, and now has a total of $124.3 million. The Bourne Supremacy has now outgrossed The Bourne Identity, as the first film grossed $121.7 million before going on to gross another $92 million overseas. Look for this Bourne to gross at least $165 million in North America.
The Manchurian Candidate was relegated to fourth spot on the ticket this weekend, as expected legs for the political thriller failed to show themselves, at least in any significant way. The Denzel Washington flick grossed $10.8 million in its second weekend, down 46% from its debut frame. The $80 million Paramount feature has now grossed $38.5 million.
Brittany Murphy’s new film, Little Black Book, had little impact on the box office over its opening weekend as it lands in fifth spot. The Sony/Revolution romantic comedy grossed only $7 million, barely clearing the star’s paycheck of $4 million. Black Book opened at 2,445 venues this weekend and had a soft average of $2,862. The opening is well back of Murphy’s last starring role, Uptown Girls, which opened to $11.3 million in August of last year. Brittany Murphy had been on quite a roll heading into Little Black Book, as her last six wide-release appearances had opened over $10 million. She should be back into the hit department with her next film, Sin City, for director Robert Rodriguez.
Sixth spot this weekend goes to Will Smith’s I, Robot. The Alex Proyas film stopped its percentage drop plummet this weekend as it took in $6.3 million, dropping 39%. After weekend drops of 58% and 52%, the Fox flick finally starts to level off somewhat in its fourth weekend of release. I, Robot has now grossed $126.7 million against a production budget of $120 million. It has also started its shot at worldwide robot domination, with a $32 million start at the international box office.
Speaking of world domination, Spider-Man 2 lands in seventh this weekend. The über-blockbuster continues its soft drop down the top ten list with a $5.5 million gross this weekend, down only 36%. The film, made for a little over $200 million, has now grossed $354.6 million stateside and over $650 million worldwide. It won’t reach the $821 million worldwide gross that the first one did, but when you're talking about coming up $100 million short of one of the biggest worldwide hits ever, who cares?
Eighth spot goes to the one that got away: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. H&K couldn’t pick up on the critical adoration it got last weekend, as the film still dropped 42% in its second weekend, pulling in a gross of $3.2 million. Made for $9 million, Harold and Kumar scored a fresh 73% positive rating at RottenTomatoes, but then failed to make an impact over its opening weekend. The overall gross has now exceeded the production budget, with a total take so far at $12.3 million. Hopefully folks will wildly embrace this film on home video and DVD, so we can have a Harold and Kumar Go to Chipotle.
Falling to ninth this weekend is Hilary Duff’s A Cinderella Story. The Warner's teen flick grossed $3 million, dropping 38% compared to last weekend. The film now has a not-bad total of $47.1 million versus a production budget of only $19 million.
Pulling up in tenth is Halle Berry’s Catwoman. After dropping 62% last weekend, Catwoman kept up her trend this weekend. The $100 million WB flick dropped another 55% this weekend, grossing only $2.9 million. Catwoman now has a total of $36.1 million.
In limited release, we have two white-hot arthouse grossers. The much-buzzed Open Water debuted this weekend on 47 screens, and grossed $1,035,000, giving the shark spookfest a venue average of $22,021. The Lions Gate film will platform out in the weeks to come. In its second weekend of arthouse release, Garden State added 26 venues and grossed $540,000, giving the Fox Searchlight film a second weekend average of $15,428.
Overall this weekend, the box office had to go up against a powerful weekend a year ago when S.W.A.T. and Freaky Friday opened strongly. The top ten last year grossed about $125 million. This year, the top ten grossed $93.2 million, leaving it well behind last year’s grosses.