Moviegoers preferred watching the blessed union between American Pie's Jim and Michelle over peeping at the pic that launched Ben and Jen's real life romance. American Wedding's $34.2 million* take proved to be the icing on top of the box office this weekend, easily landing the comedy at No. 1.
Even though this third installment in the American Pie series wasn't sweet enough to beat 2001's American Pie 2 debut of $45.1 million, American Wedding did better than the first film, which opened to $18.7 million in 1999, and its sugary take certainly gave the competition a toothache. It limited last week's box office champ, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, to a $20.1 million take and second place, and it sent Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and its $19.1 million booty sailing to third position.
Seabiscuit, meanwhile, wasn't horsing around. The racehorse biopic gained a spot in its second week, crossing the finish line in fourth place with $17.4 million, followed by the buddy actioner Bad Boys II, which rounded out the Top Five with $12.7 million.
But poor Gigli (rhymes with really, not wiggly) proved to be both a critical and commercial flop. The unilaterally panned film--starring Hollywood's most talked about couple, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez--failed to ignite a spark at the box office; the romantic thriller debuted to a disappointing $3.8 million and tied for seventh place with Finding Nemo, now in its tenth week.
THE TOP TEN
Universal Picture's R rated comedy American Wedding opened at the top of the box office this weekend with an ESTIMATED $34.2 at 3,172 theaters. Its $10,800 per theater average was the highest film of any film playing this week.
In this third installment of the American Pie series, Jim and Michelle and the gang are ready to wreak havoc with a new rite of passage: marriage.
Directed by Jesse Dylan, it stars Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas.
Dimension Films' PG rated Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, last week's box office champ, followed in second place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $20.1 million in 3,364 theaters (+20 theaters; $5,975 per theater). Its cume is approximately $69 million.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek and Ricardo Montalban.
Buena Vista Pictures' PG 13 rated fantasy actioner Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl continued its hold on the box office, although it dropped a notch to third place in its fourth week of release with an ESTIMATED $19.1 million (-17%) at 3,390 theaters (-26 theaters; $5,634 per theater). Its cume is approximately $208.8 million.
Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated drama Seabiscuit gained a spot in its second week after a slight expansion, taking in an ESTIMATED $19.1 million (-16%) in 2,421 theaters (+434 theaters; $7,215 per theater). Its cume is approximately $49 million.
Directed by Gary Ross, it stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper.
Sony Picture's R rated buddy actioner Bad Boys II fell two notches to fifth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $12.7 million (-42%) at 3,022 theaters (-180 theaters; $4,203 per theater). Its cume is approximately $111.3 million.
Directed by Michael Bay, it stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union and Peter Stormare.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated action-packed Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life dropped two rungs to sixth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $11.3 million (-48 %) in 3,222 theaters (unchanged, $3,507 per theater). Its cume is approximately $42.5 million.
Directed by Jan De Bont, it stars Angelina Jolie, Gerald Butler, Chris Barrie, Ciaran Hinds and Noah Taylor.
Buena Vista/Disney and Pixar Animation Studios' G rated computer-animated feature Finding Nemo gained a position in its tenth week to come in at No. 7 with an ESTIMATED $3.8 million (-13%) at 1,777 theaters (-248 theaters; $2,138 per theater). Its cume is approximately $319.9 million.
Directed and co-written by Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton, it features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe and Brad Garrett.
Sony Pictures' R rated crime romance Gigli tied for seventh place and opened with an ESTIMATED $3.8 million at 2,215 theaters ($1,716 per theater).
In the film, lowly hit man Larry Gigli is hired to kidnap the mentally handicapped little brother of a federal prosecutor for Mob purposes. But sparks fly when the gorgeous, independent-minded Ricki is also put on the case because Gigli can't be trusted to do the job.
Directed by Martin Brest, it stars Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bartha.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13 rated period thriller The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fell three spots to come in at ninth in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.1 million (-38%) at 2,007 theaters (-525; $1,570 per theater). Its cume is approximately $58.8 million.
Directed by Stephen Norrington, it stars Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, Stuart Townsend, Shane West and Jason Flemyng.
Warner Bros.' R rated sci-fi actioner Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines fell three places to finish tenth in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $2.9 million (-42%) at 1,910 theaters (-750; $1,526 per theater). Its cume is approximately $147.7 million.
Directed by Jonathan Mostow, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken.
Banking on the recognition of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl co-star Kiera Knightley, Fox Searchlight further expanded its soccer drama Bend It Like Beckham, releasing it wide for the first time.
The PG-13 rated sports comedy made it to 12th place in its 21st week of release with an ESTIMATED $1.8 million (+716 %) at 883 theaters with a $1,821 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $28.3 million.
Directed Gurinder Chadha, it stars Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $133 million, down 6.02 percent from last year's take of $141.5 million. The Top 12 films were also down 9.8 percent from last weekend when they grossed $147.4 million.
Last year's top three included: Buena Vista's PG-13 rated sci-fi thriller Signs, which opened in first place with $60.1 million at 3,264 theaters ($18,418 per theater average); New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated Austin Powers in Goldmember, which followed in the No. 2 position in its second week with $31.1 million in 3,613 theaters ($8,613 per theater); and Sony Picture's The Master of Disguise, which opened in third place with $12.5 million at 2,565 theaters (($4,895 per theater average).
Longfellow Deeds (played by Adam Sandler) is the owner of a popular pizzeria in the small town of Mandrake Falls N.H. He is a seemingly happy and well-adjusted guy whose main pastime involves writing greeting cards he hopes will one day be published by a big conglomerate like Hallmark. His enchanting life all but comes to a halt however when a corporate honcho named Anderson (Peter Gallagher) informs Deeds that his long lost relative Preston Blake has left him an inheritance of $40 billion a chain of media outlets a football team and a basketball team. Deeds heads to Manhattan to collect his endowment which includes a Diff'rent Strokes-style Park Avenue penthouse and befriends his late uncle's butler Emilio (John Turturro). When Deeds falls for tabloid TV producer Babe Bennett (played by Winona Ryder) who is posing as a demure school nurse he inevitably gets his heart broken and realizes that a 200-mile-an-hour lifestyle isn't for him. Mr. Deeds is a middle-of-the-road movie with a couple of good laughs most of which don't come from Sandler.
Sandler's portrayal of Deeds is peculiar. You would expect this small-town guy to have the same qualities that Gary Cooper had in the 1936 version but Sandler's depiction is dimwitted rather than polite and his character has a disturbing violent streak. His seems to channel his inadequacies into landing his fist in people's faces. But Sandler's character is not only mean tempered he's humorless too. Ryder (Autumn in New York) cunning Babe Bennett on the other hand did have a timeless quality and it is nice to see her acting goofy for a change. The script didn't call on her to say too much unfortunately and her character ends up being a caricature of a 1930s career woman. Surprisingly Turturro's (Collateral Damage) character the loyal butler with a strange habit of appearing and disappearing from a room generates the most laughs. Watch for cameo appearances by Sandler's buddy Rob Schneider and another by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Director Steven Brill who also directed Sandler in Little Nicky delivers a relatively flat and uninspiring New York City: in the scene where Babe and her coworker fake a mugging for example the street appears deserted rather than bustling. To make matters worse the bland visuals are littered with clichéd fish-out-of-water situations including Deeds' fascination with the huge apartment's acoustics and its vast housekeeping staff. The most disturbing aspect of the film is that after deciding that happiness is more important than money Deeds doesn't do anything worthwhile with the dough. OK he does give it all the United Negro College Fund but a gigantic plot hole seems to indicate that the organization will have to send it back. The point is Deeds never tries to do the right thing with the money; he just wants to wash his hands of it.