Rush Hour 2
August 3, 2001
Big, but how big? The first Rush Hour film opened in September 1998 to $33 million. It had a surprising $10 million Friday, and managed to increase on its Friday gross on the Saturday following, indicating its fabulous word-of-mouth. People assumed the chop suey comedy would not work, but it did, and worked big. Three years, less a month, later can the dynamic duo do it again? Why not? Rush Hour 2 will be big; the real question is, how big?
Considering the big opening-weekend gross, both of the original films stars did not run out and do hastily thrown together films. Jackie, of course, did Shanghai Noon, which opened to $19.65 million over the Memorial Day weekend of 2000. Chris Tucker, on the other hand, really didn't do much, other than circle a variety of projects. In fact, Tucker didn't do anything, and somehow is now getting a reported $20 million dollars to make Rush Hour 2.
In an inspired casting move, the boys are trying to crack a counterfeiting ring and are pitted against Ziyi Zhang, of Crouching Tiger fame. Will Jackie Chan do a lot of crazy stunt stuff and fight bad guys? Will Chris Tucker crack wise? Obviously. Brett Ratner is back in the directing chair, and in a truly bizarre choice of writers, Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the screenplay for the sequel disaster Speed 2: Please Don't Make Me Watch It Again, is tapped for screenplay duties.
So far, the trailer and marketing for Rush Hour 2 seem to be up to par for a sequel to a blockbuster. Will the built-in audience that came out for the original be back? You bet. (John Hamann/BOP)
Box Office Autopsy
The shock that followed the success of 1998's Rush Hour was nothing compared to what would follow the release of its sequel. The first movie's $33 million opening and wacky mismatched partners set it up as a Lethal Weapon for the next generation, right? Well, the Lethal Weapon series never did this. Just a week after Planet of the Apes had set a new weekend record, this upstart film came within inches of making it a one-week reign. The $67.41 million it earned was all the more significant since it appeared in a small-by-blockbuster standards 3,118 venues, almost 400 less than Apes. While that film's weekend was more or less expected, the explosion of Rush Hour 2 was the clearest evidence of a fundamental step upwards in the box-office paradigm.
That said, it can't be attributed solely to changing patterns, as it did end up the fifth highest-grossing film of 2001 (if you predicted that, could you tell me next week's lottery numbers?). It did this despite a hefty fall in week two of 50%. This was still good for a total figure slightly more that Rush Hour 1's first weekend. The drop flattened from there on, with it cruising to a $226 million final figure. The interplay between Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan obviously struck a chord with moviegoers and the casting of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi clearly didn't hurt. Surprisingly, given the nature of Jackie Chan's international stardom, the film performed relatively weakly overseas, earning $103 million. It made up for this by being the number-two earner on video for 2001 movies (so far; Harry Potter's stats aren't in yet, and Rings is another monster yet to hit) at $93 million. They joked about Rush Hour 3 in the end credits, but truly, there's no reason not to continue for at least one more film. Except next time, don't recycle the score from Bullitt, OK? (Reagen Sulewski/BOP)
Comparison films for Rush Hour 2
|Rush Hour 2
|Dr. Dolittle 2
|Scary Movie 2