All eyes were on the second weekend of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest this weekend, with more records set to fall. New films were awful, but surprise, surprise, they did quite well despite brutal reviews. Opening this weekend were The Wayans Brothers' Little Man and Owen Wilson's You, Me and Dupree; however, the reviews for these flicks were funnier than the films themselves.
Little Man, Dupree, Ride Pirate’s Wave
Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for July 14-16, 2006
By John Hamann
July 16, 2006
The number one film for the second straight weekend is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, but the news isn't quite as good as it was last weekend. Johnny Depp and his shipmates plundered $62.2 million in box office gold, down a quite good 54% compared to its record-breaking opening frame. Considering the size of the opening weekend and the fact that Dead Man's Chest is a sequel, a 54% drop is quite an accomplishment. Still at a monstrous 4,133 venues, the second weekend venue average for the Disney film came in at $15,046. It crossed the $200 million mark on Friday, its eighth day of release, which means it tied Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Spider-Man 2 for the fastest film to reach the $200 million mark. While it was a tie, the eight-day numbers for these three films are quite different, with the advantage going to Dead Man's Chest. After eight days of business, Pirates had grossed $214.4 million, whereas Sith had $200.4 million and Spider-Man 2 $202.1 million. The second frame for Dead Man's Chest is the third biggest ever, behind Shrek 2 ($72.2 million) and the original Spider-Man ($71.4 million), but is well ahead of the now fourth place Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($57.5 million). Usually, sequels open big, then fall off quickly (Shrek 2 is the exception that proves the rule). Let's not forget that X-Men: The Last Stand chucked a huge 67% in its second frame earlier this year. Another example is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban dropping 63% in its second frame in 2004. The way theatres are set up these days, sold out shows have been lessened almost to extinction, enabling the target audience, no matter how big, to see a film over opening weekend.
Where is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest headed from here? After only ten days of release, it is still hard to say exactly where this one will end up. Currently it sits with an awesome $258.2 million; however, we know that the second weekend internal multiplier (the Friday gross divided by the weekend gross) for Pirates 2 came in at 3.3, which is better than Spider-Man 2's 3.26, and could be an indication of better legs. The Spidey sequel finished with about $373.5 million, so I expect to see a similar figure for Dead Man's Chest, with $400 million not out of the question.
Second and third spots this weekend are disappointing, but not for the usual reasons. They are also a virtual tie, so I'm going to cover them both here. Second spot this weekend goes to Little Man, and third spot goes to You, Me and Dupree (at least for now), both of which opened this weekend. Grosses were good, but I'm seriously disappointed that North Americans decided to make these two pieces of trash number two and three at the box office. Little Man grossed $21.7 million from 2,533 venues, compared to Dupree's $21.3 million gross from 3,132 venues. Little Man obviously won the venue average derby this weekend, with a take of $8,566 versus Dupree's $6,815.
I'm stunned as to why the two studios involved with Little Man and Dupree decided to open their films over the same weekend, especially when there were four other comedies destined to be in the top ten (The Devil Wears Prada, Cars, Nacho Libre and Click, which is from the same production company as Little Man). Demographically, there is an obvious delineation between the two films, but they do seem to reach for the same age group, target couples, and are equally awful. Both of these pictures are studio films (Little Man from Sony/Revolution and Dupree from Universal), so I wonder why the suits chose to let them cannibalize each other, when they could have let the critics do it themselves. The Wayans Brothers are behind Little Man, which comes off their 2004 flick White Chicks. Despite looking equally idiotic, White Chicks managed to open to $19.7 million against Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Notebook. It finished with a domestic gross of $69 million, and carried a production budget of only $20 million, a budget much lower than the $65 million Little Man.
I think expectations would have been a lot higher for Universal's You, Me and Dupree due to the Owen Wilson factor. Let's not forget that The Wedding Crashers earned $210 million at the domestic box office last summer, and Wilson's co-star, Vince Vaughn, managed to open The Break-Up to $39 million. Sure, Vaughn had Jennifer Aniston co-starring in that picture, but in Dupree, Wilson teams up with Kate Hudson and recent Oscar nominee Matt Dillon. While Little Man and Dupree look like identical twins now, I think the weeks ahead will separate them in terms of total box office gross. Both films reviewed horribly with a 21% fresh rating for Dupree and a 17% fresh rating for Little Man; however, the Dupree poster doesn't have Marlon Wayans' head stuck on a midget, so it may get some walk-in business once reviews are forgotten.
Fourth placae goes to Superman Returns, as the Man of Steel continues to flail. After a drop last weekend of 58.5%, Superman Returns follows that up with a weekend gross of $11.6 million and another big drop of 47%. Made for somewhere between $200 and $250 million, this Warner Bros. release has only earned $163.6 million of that back. The extremely expensive production looks to finish with about $200 million domestically, probably $100 million short of expectations. The international grosses don't look so hot either, although there are still some large markets to open in. As I said last weekend, the scheduling department dropped the ball on this one, as parking Superman in the slot prior to Pirates of the Caribbean 2 is proving to be an extremely costly mistake.
Nipping at Superman Returns is The Devil Wears Prada, a film that should never have been close to a blockbuster like Superman. Prada missed Superman's gross by only $1.1 million, as the Meryl Streep/Anne Hathaway flick grossed $10.5 million. Prada was off a tiny-in-comparison 30%, bringing its total up to $83.6 million. Prada cost only $35 million to make, and is now a lock to be a $100 million plus film for Fox. I'd also say there is a better chance for a Prada sequel than a Superman sequel. Scary, huh?
Sixth spot goes to Cars, as the Pixar flick gets ahead of Adam Sandler's Click. Cars grossed $7.5 million, off an okay 30%. After a big-for-Pixar second weekend drop of 44%, things have leveled off somewhat, as Cars is seeing some decent business in its later weeks. That could change next weekend, however, when Sony's similarly animated Monster House opens, along with a bucket load of other films. Currently, Cars has grossed $219.7 million after six weekends of release.
Click finishes seventh as the Adam Sandler comedy gets buried under the onslaught of new, silly comedy. Click grossed $7 million, off a hefty 41% from last weekend. Click should finish with around $140 million, which is somewhat better than 50 First Dates, and somewhat worse than Big Daddy and The Waterboy. It currently sits with $119.7 million on the domestic front.
Finishing eighth and most likely enjoying its last weekend in the top ten is The Lake House, Warner Bros. other disappointing effort for the summer of 2006. The Lake House, now in its fifth weekend, grossed only $1.6 million. It was off 45%, and sits with a domestic gross of $48.9 million. This one never caught on for Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, at least not to the degree of 2004's The Notebook.
Ninth place goes to Nacho Libre, the Jack Black wrestling comedy. Nacho got the smackdown from the other comedies this weekend, as it managed a gross of only $1.5 million, off 54% from the previous frame. The total now for the Paramount release sits at $77.1 million, against a budget of about $35 million.
Tenth spot goes to A Scanner Darkly, which jumped from 17 venues last weekend to 216 venues this weekend. The result was only okay for Warner Independent Pictures, as the animated adult flick earned $1.2 million, and a venue average of $5,486, the fourth best in the top ten. After two weekends of limited release, the movie's total has reached $1.8 million.
Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is still holding well after eight weekends of release. The global warming documentary grossed $1.1 million and drops only 5% compared to last weekend. Now at 570 venues, An Inconvenient Truth has earned $17 million at the domestic box office.
Overall, box office remained strong thanks again to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The top ten movies earned $146.1 million, which surprisingly fails to surpass 2005's top ten tally of $152.4 million, when Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Wedding Crashers dominated the box office. That should change back next weekend, when The Lady in the Water, Monster House, Clerks II and My Super Ex-Girlfriend hit theatres.