After a record-setting Thanksgiving feast, Hollywood got only box office crumbs this weekend as ticket sales plunged 50% from their holiday levels.
Universal and Imagine Entertainment’s PG-rated blockbuster comedy adventure “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” continued to top the chart in its third weekend with a still festive estimated $27.11 million (-48%) at 3,138 theaters (+4 theaters; $8,640 per theater). Its cume is approximately $172.0 million, heading for $250 million.
(NOTE: All percentage comparisons today are calculated against the three-day weekend portion of the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period.)
“Grinch” had the highest per-theater average for any film playing in wide release last weekend.
“‘Grinch is great!” Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. “It’s satisfying all audiences. In its third weekend ‘Grinch‘ has proved it’s the megahit we hoped it would be, having the confidence in the producer (Brian Grazer), the director (Ron Howard) and the star (Jim Carrey). I think it’s now proven it’s going to be one of the biggest grossing films of all time.”
With its cume now at about $172 million, where is “Grinch” going domestically? “Over $250 million,” Rocco replied. “We’re reasonably certain now that ‘Grinch‘ has proved it will be right up there in $250 million stardom.”
Buena Vista/Touchstone’s PG-13-rated supernatural thriller “Unbreakable” kept a grip on second place in its second week, holding better than expected with an estimated $15.0 million (-51%) at 2,708 theaters (theater count unchanged; $5,481 per theater). Its cume is approximately $66.7 million.
Buena Vista/Disney’s live-action, G-rated puppies sequel “102 Dalmatians” remained in the third spot in its second week with a less lively estimated $8.2 million (-59%) at 2,704 theaters (theater count unchanged; $3,032 per theater). Its cume is approximately $36.5 million.
Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies’ G-rated animated sequel “Rugrats in Paris: The Movie” came in fourth again in its third week with a less happy estimated $6.5 million (-63%) at 2,937 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,213 per theater). Its cume is approximately $55.5 million.
“What we’re tracking, obviously, is how the first one played,” Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. “The first one for this weekend was off 64%. So it’s playing amazingly like the first one. Although it’s a little lower level, the percentage drops are basically the same as the first one.”
Where is it heading? “This puts it at $80-85 million,” Lewellen replied. “You can pretty much predict that because of what the first one did. It did about $105 million.” The “Rugrats” sequel has been running about 20% below the original since it opened.
Directed by Stig Bergqvist and Paul Demeyer, it was produced by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo.
Columbia’s PG-13 action adventure comedy “Charlie’s Angels” held on to fifth place in its fifth weekend with a less sexy estimated $5.2 million (-49%) at 2,751 theaters (-87 theaters; $1,890 per theater). Its cume is approximately $115.6 million, heading for $140 million in domestic theaters.
“‘Charlie‘ continues its assault on the world with number one openings in Spain and Germany this week,” Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning. “We’re just about sweeping the board. So far we’re up to about 35 number one openings (internationally). We’re about half way to $100 million now. ‘Charlie‘ would be our fifth $100 million title internationally this year. We’re probably at about $960 million for the year right now, closing in on that $1 billion (international total), as well.”
20th Century Fox’s R-rated Navy divers drama “Men of Honor” rose one peg to seventh place in its fourth week with a calm estimated $4.19 million (-39%) at 2,190 theaters (+64 theaters; $1,912 per theater). Its cume is approximately $41.2 million.
Phoenix Pictures and Columbia’s PG-13-rated sci-fi action adventure “The 6th Day” fell one slot to eighth place in its third week with a slow estimated $4.0 million (-47%) at 2,516 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,590 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.6 million.
Universal’s PG-13-rated blockbuster comedy “Meet the Parents” held on to ninth place in its ninth week with a still fine estimated $3.78 million (-42%) at 2,317 theaters (+158 theaters; $1,630 per theater). Its cume is approximately $153.2 million, heading for a domestic theatrical gross of $160 million or more.
“Parents‘” international release is through DreamWorks Pictures, which co-financed the film and will share equally in its success.
Rounding out the Top Ten once again was New Line’s PG-13-rated Adam Sandler comedy “Little Nicky” in its fourth week with a dull estimated $2.35 million (-50%) at 2,470 theaters (-306 theaters; $950 per theater). Its cume is approximately $36.9 million.
OTHER OPENINGS This weekend also saw the arrival of Miramax’s G-rated reissue of The Beatles’ classic “A Hard Day’s Night” in New York and L.A., placing 20th with a solid estimated $0.054 million at 2 theaters ($26,985 per theater).
Directed by Richard Lester, it stars The Beatles.
“There were 503 sneaks and they were 85% capacity, which is sensational,” Warner Bros. Distribution’s Jeff Goldstein said Sunday morning. “We don’t have the formal reactions back from our research company (yet), but just from talking with a dozen or so exhibitors, the reactions were excellent. They just really liked it.
“We went out last night with a new trailer of ‘A.I.,’ Steven Spielberg‘s summer film, so I checked a bunch of theaters. Number one, they loved the teaser trailer and, number two, the audience really enjoyed the movie (‘Proof of Life‘), which is great.
“Last night, we actually showed two trailers with our sneaks of ‘Proof of Life.’ The first one was the ‘A.I.’ teaser that had never been shown before, which we got a very positive response to. And the second one, which they just went wild over, was the ‘Miss Congeniality‘ trailer. We open up in two weeks, so it’s nice to get that kind of feedback. That will open at about 2,500 locations. We have a sneak going on Saturday, Dec. 16. We’ll have about 700 sneaks on that date.”
EXPANSIONS There was no significant activity on the expansion front this weekend.
WEEKEND COMPARISONS Key films — those grossing more than $500, 00 for the weekend — took in approximately $85.59 million, up about 14.46 from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $74.78 million.
This weekend’s key film gross was down about 50.32% from last weekend when key films took in $172.3 million for three days.
Last year, Buena Vista’s third week of “Toy Story 2” was first with $27.76 million at 3,238 theaters ($8,573 per theater); and MGM’s third week of “The World Is Not Enough” was second with $10.65 million at 3,163 theaters ($3,367 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $38.5 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $42.1 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend’s top six distributors were:
Paramount (Paramount and Paramount Classics) was fourth with one film (“Rugrats in Paris: The Movie“), grossing an estimated $6.5 million or 7.6% of the market.
Miramax was fifth with one film (“Bounce“), grossing an estimated $4.4 million or 5.1% of the market.
20th Century Fox was sixth with one film (“Men Of Honor“), grossing an estimated $4.19 million or 4.9% of the market.
ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11)Billy Elliot/Universal Focus: Theaters: 510 (+16) Gross: $1.39 million (-31%) Average per theater: $2,725 Cume: $13.3 million
(12)The Legend of Bagger Vance/DreamWorks Theaters: 1,535 (-342) Gross: $1.0 million (-47%) (tie) Average per theater: $665 Cume: $29.7 million
(12)Remember the Titans/BV: Theaters: 1,191 (+17) Gross: $1.0 million (-50%)(tie) Average per theater: $840 Cume: $111.6 million
(14)Red Planet/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,453 (-601) Gross: $0.93 million (-19%) Average per theater: $640 Cume: $16.9 million
(15)Best in Show/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 350 (0) Gross: $0.53 million (-38%) Average per theater: $1,580 Cume: $15.8 million
(16)You Can Count On Me/Paramount Classics: Theaters: 53 (0) Gross: $0.4 million (-20%) Average per theater: $7,770 Cume: $1.7 million
(17)QUILLS/Fox Searchlight: Theaters: 9 (0) Gross: $0.21 million (-16%) Average per theater: $23,281 Cume: $0.6 million
(18)Bring It On/Universal: Theaters: 250 (-25) Gross: $0.13 million (-35%) Average per theater: $500 Cume: $67.9 million
(19)Nutty Professor II: The Klumps/Universal: Theaters: 129 (-13) Gross: $0.055 million (-38%) Average per theater: $425 Cume: $123.2 million
(20)A HARD DAY’S NIGHT/Miramax (see OTHER OPENINGS above)