Batman Strong; Box Office Not

Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for June 24-26, 2005

By John Hamann

June 26, 2005

Justin Long can't believe that he did better with Jeepers Creepers than a Lindsay Lohan movie.

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And the saga drags on. Hollywood's longest slump in recorded box office history continued this weekend, although the streak could have been stopped cold this frame at weekend 18. Three new films opened - Bewitched, Herbie: Fully Loaded and Land of the Dead – each of them respectful of the other's demographic. The box office failed again to take advantage of a somewhat weak weekend last year when the big earner was surprise hit Fahrenheit 9/11, followed by White Chicks in second. Eyes were also on the second weekend of Batman Begins, and the percentage drop this weekend is exactly what Warner Bros. was looking for.

After eating crow on Monday of last week when Batman Begins beat its estimate, I'm munching away again today as Batman Begins is the number one film of the weekend, with a percentage drop lower than the usual summer film. The re-imagining of the Batman franchise earned $26.8 million this weekend from a still-huge 3,858 screens and carried a weekend average of $6,938. That's a drop of only 45%, a great figure for the film that started out slowly. Of late, even non-blockbuster percentage drops are constantly very close or over 50%, as moviegoers are eager to move on to the next heavily hyped monstrosity. Comic book movies are often hammered in the second frame, even if they are well received. Hellboy dropped 53% after opening weekend, and was 79% fresh at RottenTomatoes. Spider-Man 2 dropped 49%. Usually, these films experience a fanboy rush over opening weekend, and even with some repeat viewings, fail to hold an audience above half in the following frame. Batman Begins beats that trend and currently sits with $121.7 million, and has good word-of-mouth expanding beyond the usual demographic. Let's see what happens next weekend.

Bewitched is our number two film as the Nicole Kidman/Will Ferrell film lived up to expectations, grossing $20.2 million. The Sony rehashing of the old TV show got off to a decent start, although it certainly didn't break out. Bewitched opened at 3,174 venues and had an average of $6,364. Made for $80 million, the opening was similar to Kidman's The Stepford Wives ($21.5 million), The Interpreter ($22.8 million), and Eyes Wide Shut ($21.7 million). For Will Ferrell, the opening was shy of other openings like Elf ($31.1 million) and Anchorman ($28.4 million), but was right on par with Kicking & Screaming ($20.2 million), Ferrell's other release this year. Unfortunately for all involved, notices were not friendly at RottenTomatoes, as the film found only 34 positive reviews out of a possible 118. Next weekend Bewitched takes on Tom Cruise and War of the Worlds, and should fold accordingly.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith had a much stronger hold this weekend, as the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie thriller lands in third. The Doug Liman-directed flick earned $16.8 million in its third weekend, down an excellent 36%. The film fell 48% last weekend. Unless something weird happens, The Smiths should finish between $175 and $200 million, as the total sits now at $125.4 million.

The reason the box office didn't finish ahead of last year places a disappointing fourth, as Herbie: Fully Loaded is our disappointment of the week. After finding about $5 million over its Wednesday/Thursday debut, Herbie rang up only $12.8 million worth of sales over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the weekend. Out to a quite wide 3,521 venues, the Disney flick averaged a not great $3,621. This one dropped between demographics. The sexy Lohan may have been too old for the younger set, and the plot may have been too young for the teen set. For Disney, it's not that bad of a deal. The film cost $50 million to make, and may see small drops in the weeks to come. It currently has $17.8 million to start.

Fifth spot goes to Land of the Dead, which actually exceeded expectations for once (cue the golf clap). George Romero's return to the big screen grossed a not-bad $10.2 million, putting it in the ear of "industry insiders" who were predicting a gross below $10 million in Friday's Hollywood Reporter. Land of the Dead was out to only 2,249 venues, so it carried a venue average of $4,550, ahead of family film Herbie: Fully Loaded. Land of the Dead was a surprising 74% fresh, and I think word spread. Produced by Atmosphere Entertainment and distributed by Universal in North America, the film cost a laughable $15 million to make.

Our three favorite holdovers vied for sixth, seventh and eighth this weekend as Madagascar, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and The Longest Yard stuck together while sliding off the top spots at the box office. Sixth spot this weekend went to Madagascar with $7.3 million and a decent 32% percentage drop. The DreamWorks cartoon has now earned $160.1 million, and looks to finish close to $190 million. Revenge of the Sith came in seventh, earning $6.3 million. It dropped 38%, and passed Jurassic Park for tenth place on the all time grosser list. The LucasFilm picture has now earned $358.6 million. The Longest Yard came in eighth this weekend, grossing $5.5 million and dropping a slim 34%. The Adam Sandler comedy now has $141.9 million, and will come close to beating Sandler's biggest films in The Waterboy and Big Daddy which finished in the low $160 million range.

Ninth this weekend is The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl from Dimension Films. The family adventure in 3-D grossed $3.4 million this weekend, losing 49% of last weekend's audience. The Robert Rodriguez flick has now earned $30.5 million.

Tenth spot goes to Russell Crowe and Cinderella Man. The boxing flick that struggled to find an audience grossed $3.3 million, down 41% from last weekend. The $90 million Universal misfire has now earned $49.6 million.

Overall, the news isn't good. The top ten films at the box office this weekend needed an easy-to-beat $129.2 million total to stop the streak at 18 weekends. Unfortunately, this crop wasn't able to do it, as the top ten earned only $112.1 million. Again, the streak should end next weekend, when War of the Worlds takes on Spider-Man 2's opening weekend from last year.

Top Ten for Weekend of June 24-26, 2005
of Sites
Gross ($)
Gross ($)
1 Batman Begins 3,858 -45% $26.8 $121.7
2 Bewitched 3,174 New $20.2 $20.2
3 Mr. and Mrs. Smith 3,265 -36% $16.8 $125.4
4 Herbie: Fully Loaded 3,521 New $12.8 $17.8
5 Land of the Dead 2,249 New $10.2 $10.2
6 Madagascar 2,948 -32% $7.3 $160.1
7 Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith 2,371 -38% $6.3 $358.6
8 The Longest Yard 2,516 -34% $5.5 $141.9
9 The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl 2,352 -49% $3.4 $30.5
10 Cinderella Man 1,677 -41% $3.3 $49.6



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