Rush Hour/Bourne Lead Hot Box Office
By John Hamann
August 12, 2007
The summer slaughter continued this weekend at the box office, as once again, the top two films combined to earn almost $100 million. Rush Hour 3 was the big new release this weekend, and while it couldn't match the power of Rush Hour 2, it still debuted with power nonetheless. Stardust, the new fantasy from Paramount, debuted with an okay score, and Daddy Day Camp, the most unnecessary sequel of the summer, crashed and burned (thankfully). Holdovers The Bourne Ultimatum and The Simpsons Movie both tried to avoid 50% plus drops; however, both failed to make that grade, with one badly missing, and one coming quite close.
The number one film of the weekend is Rush Hour 3, as Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker dominated the box office for a third time. Rush Hour 3 earned New Line $50.2 million from 3,778 venues, giving the martial arts comedy a venue average of $13,297. While a good score, in a summer of three-quels, Rush Hour 3 is one of the few to not build on the opening weekend success of the second feature in the series. Rush Hour 2 debuted to $67.4 million one weekend earlier in 2001, and the six-year layoff showed in the weekend estimate this time out. Where three-quels like Spider-Man, Shrek and The Bourne series had films released in the last three years, the Rush Hour layoff was much longer, so the franchise wasn't as fresh for moviegoers. Let's have a closer look at those numbers: Spider-Man 3 earned $151.6 over its first three days, where the second film earned $88.2 million. Shrek the Third earned $121.6 million over opening weekend, with Shrek 2 coming in at $108 million. Finally, The Bourne Ultimatum earned $69.3 million, and The Bourne Supremacy earned $52.5 million. Rush Hour 3 performed more like the Ocean's Eleven franchise, where the third film couldn't match the second (Ocean's Twelve debuted to $39.2 million, and Ocean's Thirteen opened with $36.1 million). While these opening figures are still great, they are a definite sign of waning interest in a franchise.
One of the reasons why Rush Hour 3 didn't live up to Rush Hour 2 status is film quality. There was little buzz for this film, and I believe people showed up this weekend out of habit, instead of via a strong desire to take this one in. Reviews didn't help. Rush Hour 3 turned in an abysmal rating at RottenTomatoes of only 19%, one of the more rotten scores for a blockbuster released this summer. Of the 121 critics polled, only a dismal 28 found something to like with this one. Usually with the Rush Hour franchise, critics are mixed or better, but not in this case. Rush Hour 2 garnered a 50% rating, and the original Rush Hour earned a 57% fresh rating. The shine has definitely come off of this franchise. However, with a production budget in the neighborhood of $120 million (according to IMDb), and a worldwide gross sure to be in the $300 million range worldwide, we may still see a fourth Rush Hour picture, if Jackie Chan is still mobile, and Chris Tucker stays sane.
Our second place film is The Bourne Ultimatum, as Matt Damon and company try to build on the success of last weekend's blowout debut. Three-quels have seen some serious second weekend drops this summer, but with The Bourne Ultimatum's 94% fresh rating, Universal was hoping to see a drop below 50%. In its second weekend, The Bourne Ultimatum earned $33.7 million, giving it a weekend drop of 51% - an excellent score considering the opening weekend was $69.3 million. Often, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. We all know The Simpsons Movie plunged 66% in its second frame after opening to $74 million. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix fell 58% after having a three-day opening of $77 million. Spider-Man 3 dropped 62% in its second frame and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End plunged 61%. Bourne's decent, but not superlative, second weekend drop will be excellent news for Universal, as good things are happening with this release. The Bourne Ultimatum crossed the $100 million mark on Friday, its eighth day of release, and will have no problem reaching $200 million, with $250 million not out of the question. With fewer tentpole releases coming over the remainder of August, Bourne will only have to deal with Rush Hour 3 for franchise dollars. Currently, The Bourne Ultimatum sits with $132.3 million, with a huge amount in foreign totals still to come.