It was a busy weekend at the box office. Summer box office leader Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest finally lost its number one ranking on Friday, its 22nd day of release, and spends its first weekend out of the top spot. Miami Vice opened moderately, but Ant Bully, another expensive flick from Warner Bros., went into the tank. Finally, Monster House, Lady in the Water and Clerks II all took it in the chest this weekend, receiving an average drop of 57%. Welcome to mid-summer at the box office.
Vice Bumps Pirates From Top Spot; Warner Bros. Flop Another
Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for July 28-30, 2006
By John Hamann
July 30, 2006
The number one film at the box office is Michael Mann's Miami Vice, a Universal release that cost Mann and Universal somewhere between $125 million and $165 million to make. The modernized TV show grossed an okay-but-underwhelming $25.2 million from 3,050 venues. It had a venue average of $8,158. While an okay start for Miami Vice, it is going to need some serious legs to reach either budget figure. Word-of-mouth may be hard to come by. Reviews were mixed at best for this one, with 56 reviews out of a possible 117 coming in positive at RottenTomatoes. It's fresh rating is 48%, so it will have to work extremely hard domestically to match its budget. Its weekend multiplier also doesn't indicate great legs. BOP's Kim Hollis reported on Saturday that the Friday figure for Miami Vice came in at about $8.7 million, so the Universal production rang up a multiplier of 2.9, which is solid but not super.
For stars Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, the news is better for them than it is for the studio. Farrell sees his first $20 million-plus opening weekend since SWAT in 2003. He's had two large disappointments with Alexander and The New World, so this is definitely an up-tick for him. For Foxx, this washes away the pain of Stealth, his follow-up to the Oscar-winning and hugely successful Ray. Stealth cost Sony $138 million to make and only grossed $31.7 million domestically. For Michael Mann, his reflection on Vice will be seen from the final domestic total. Collateral earned $100 million after opening to $24 million, so if Vice can do the same and crank up some business overseas, Mann will have more $150 million budgets to play with.
Second spot goes to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, as it has another respectable weekend at the box office. Despite having eight new releases to fend off in the last two weekends alone, Dead Man's Chest still managed to gross $20.1 million this frame. That's a drop of 48%, despite losing 300 venues. Now at 3,834 venues, its average is an okay $5,249. The Buena Vista juggernaut has earned $358.4 million and is virtually tied with Jurassic Park for the 12th biggest domestic earner of all time. We can now comfortably say that it will surpass the $400 million mark, most likely ending up with about $415 million.
We have a nice surprise in third as John Tucker Must Die found its intended audience and grossed $14.1 million. The satire aimed at teen girls opened at 2,560 venues, and had an average of $5,507, slightly ahead of Dead Man's Chest. Reviewers hated it, surprising no one. At RT, 63 reviews were counted, and only 14 were positive, leaving it with a 23% fresh rating. 20th Century Fox will be happy, though; if John Tucker makes $30 million domestically, it will be huge on home video.
Fourth spot goes to Monster House, and despite only dropping two spots to fourth, the news here isn't good. Monster House grossed $11.5 million from 3,553 venues, but saw a huge drop from last weekend of 48%. Sure, Ant Bully hit screens this weekend, but even in the face of that, this number still reflects a big plunge. After two weekends, Monster House has grossed a respectable $43.9 million, but $100 million is most likely now out of the question.
The Ant Bully finishes fifth as Warner Bros. seriously drops the ball again. The Ant Bully grossed only $8.1 million from 3,021 venues, giving it an average of only $2,707. The animated flick got off to a slow start on Friday with a gross of $3.0 million, so it ended the weekend with a brutal multiplier of 2.7. This is another Warner Bros. flick that had everything going for it, including a cast of A-listers and production help from Tom Hanks. Budget data isn't available, but production started in 2003, so it won't in reality be less than $65 million. Ant Bully joins a Warner Bros. summer lineup that has included Poseidon ($60.4 million earned against a $160 million budget); Superman Returns ($185.8 million earned against a $260 million budget); Lady in the Water ($32.1 million earned against a $75 million budget); and $50 million-earner The Lake House. If The Lake House cost $70 million to make, the four films cost an estimated $565 million, and have earned a combined $330 million.
Again, similar to Superman Returns, The Ant Bully was positioned extremely poorly in the summer release schedule, a mistake that will cost the company a fortune in unsold movie tickets. Squeezing this one between Monster House and next weekend's The Barnyard is just plain stupid, much like they did positioning Superman Returns the weekend before Dead Man's Chest. Trimming $60 million off the budgets of both Poseidon and Superman would have gone a long way to making this summer a push for the studio, but instead they will have to wait for home video profits.
Sixth goes to You, Me and Dupree, as it begins to get some separation from Little Man, which opened on the same weekend. Owen Wilson's Dupree grossed $7.0 million this frame and was off 45%. The $55 million Universal release has now grossed $59 million, and should finish with about $80 million.
Our next Warner Bros. debacle is Lady in the Water, as it continues to sink fast (just like the WB scheduling department). Lady grossed only $7.0 million after debuting to $18 million in the previous frame. That equals a stunning drop of 61% for the $75 million M. Night Shyamalan production. The total now sits at $32.1 million and the film is going to end up with about $55 million.
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Eighth goes to Little Man, as the Wayans Brothers manage to hold onto a top ten spot for one more weekend. Little Man grossed $5.1 million and was off 54% compared to the previous frame. This moronic-looking comedy has now grossed a respectable $50.2 million.
Ninth spot goes to The Devil Wears Prada, as the surprise of the summer did two very big things this week. Prada finished ahead of Superman Returns for the first time since opening, grossing $4.8 million with a drop of 35%. It also crossed the $100 million mark this week, and now the Fox release sits with $106.7 million. Superman may finish with a bigger gross; however, Prada cost its makers only $35 million to make, less than 15% of Superman's budget.
Clerks II falls a long way from sixth last weekend to tenth today. Clerks II grossed only $3.9 million, dropping a nasty 61%. Again, the good news is that the budget for the Kevin Smith film was only $5 million, but it's still amazing what a difference a weekend makes. Clerks II now has $18.5 million in the domestic kitty.
Superman Returns finishes 12th, and this is the last time I'll get a shot at it. The not-so-super performer grossed only $3.6 million this weekend, was off 49% and now has a cume of $185.8 million.
Scoop, Woody Allen's new comedy earned a decent $3 million from 538 venues this weekend. That equals a not-bad venue average of $5,581. Reviews weren't as good for this one as they were for Match Point, so I imagine this will drop off quite quickly next weekend.
Overall, box office was a lot like last year: not very good. The top ten films earned about $107 million, and while slightly ahead of last year's $105 million, it was well off 2004's top ten of $137 million. Things again could pick up next weekend, as we have another four openers hitting theatres.