Weekend Wrap-Up for July 20-22, 2007

Chuck, Larry, Harry and Hairspray Vie for Number One

By John Hamann

July 22, 2007

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In what feels like the first time in a very long time, the weekend box office didn't have a huge tentpole film dominating the top ten. This weekend brought the second frame of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was either going to be hurt or helped by millions of muggles out buying books today; as well as the debut weekends of the new Adam Sandler flick I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and John Travolta's return to musicals in Hairspray. Would Harry hold up in his second weekend, and would reviews foretell the successes of Chuck and Larry and Hairspray? Read on to find out!

For the first time since April, we had a tight finish at the box office this weekend, which isn't something we usually see with three films grossing close to $30 million. The race is so close, we may see some shuffling of the numbers come Monday afternoon when actuals are released.


I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is our first place finisher this weekend, as it managed to carry through its lead after Friday's grosses were counted. The Adam Sandler/Kevin James comedy earned $34.8 million from 3,495 venues, and had an average of $9,950. This is just more of the usual from Sandler, as his bigger summer comedies tend to earn between $35 and $41 million. The big winner here may be Kevin James, who has now played the sidekick to both Sandler and Will Smith, whose Hitch opened to $43 million and finished with $177.8 million. I shouldn't have to tell you that the reviews were horrible for this one, as Chuck and Larry earned an embarrassing 14% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. How fast will I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry disappear? Not fast enough.

Finishing second is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which has already crossed the $200 million mark. With the last Potter book on sale this weekend, business for the latest film was either going to pick up due to fans being re-energized by the book, or slow down because all the fans now had something to do this weekend other than going to the movies. In the end, business for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was about the expected; Harry, Ron and Hermione earned $32.1 million and was off 58% from last weekend, continuing the summer saga of tentpole sequels sagging in their second weekends. When comparing the former sequels to this one, the last to be released in summer was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and that one fell 63% in its second weekend, dropping from $93.7 million to $34.9 million. Other second weekend drops in the series (the other films were all released in November) include: 47% drop for Goblet of Fire; 52% for Chamber of Secrets; and 36% for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Order of the Phoenix crossed the $200 million mark on Sunday, its 12th day of release, which is just slightly slower than Goblet of Fire, which was aided by having the Thanksgiving weekend in its second frame. I think Warner Bros. will be quite happy with the business so far for Potter. The total sits at $207.5 million, and it should finish north of $275 million.

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