Box Office Analysis: Aug. 19

There’s always room for dessert, as Universal proved this weekend.

American Pie 2 managed to hold on to the top of the box office charts two weeks in a row, which in this summer of one-week wonders is quite a fait accompli.

Lack of competition and weak late summer openings no doubt helped sustain the Pie sequel. The R-rated comedy earned $21.4 million at 3,072 theaters ($6,966 per theater).

Even though that was a 52 percent crash from last week, it remained the highest average per theater of any film this week.

It also adds to Universal’s string of summer hits that include The Mummy Returns, The Fast and the Furious and Jurassic Park III. American Pie 2‘s cume is approximately $87.8 million and should well surpass the original American Pie, which grossed a total of $102.7 million domestically.

American Pie 2 is directed by J.B. Rogers and stars Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy.

New Line Cinema’s Rush Hour 2 also repeated its No. 2 position from last week. In its third week at the box office, it earned a meaty $19.2 million, averaging $6,234 per theater. Though it fell 42 percent from last week, the picture may be on its way to surpassing the $200 million mark. It’s cume so far is $164.8 million.

Directed by Brett Ratner, Rush Hour 2 stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.

Rat Race, Paramount’s PG-13-rated comedy, opened up in third place to an estimated $11.8 million at 2,550 theaters ($4, 627 per theater).

A soft opening was predicted for the film, which falls between the cracks in terms of genre. It did however surpass American Outlaws and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which both opened this weekend.

Rat Race is directed by Jerry Zucker and stars John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson, Jon Lovitz, Seth Green, Breckin Meyer and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Miramax’s The Others held on to fourth place in its second week, taking in an estimated $10.8 million, That is only a 23 percent drop from its opening week. It expanded to 2,153 theaters, about 500 more than last week, and took in an average of $5,016 per theater.

Directed by Alejandro Amenabar, The Others stars Nicole Kidman.

Dropping two rungs to No. 5 was Disney’s G-rated comedy The Princess Diaries. Playing across 2,726 screens, it made an estimated $9.5 million and averaged $3,485 per theater.

The Princess Diaries is directed by Garry Marshall and stars Julie Andrews and newcomer Anne Hathaway.

No doubt the most talked-about film of the week, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin came in at a No. 6, earning a dismal $7.1 million.

Jeff Sakson, Universal’s Senior Vice President for National Publicity, pointed out that while the per screen average wasn’t bad, the total earnings were lower than what they had expected.

“We would have liked it to have done better, so of course we are disappointed,” he said Sunday morning. “Everyone worked really hard on this film. Unfortunately, reviews from London were bad.”

“But apparently, word of mouth is good and it received an A – in the cinema scores,” he added.

All the attention the film received when Penelope Cruz showed up at the premiere with Tom Cruise in tow obviously didn’t pay off. The film averaged $4,454 per theater and opened on 1,594 screens.

Directed by John Madden, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin stars Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz.

Dropping two notches to No. 7 was 20th Century Fox’s PG-13 Planet of the Apes. In its third week the sci-fi adventure film pulled in an estimated $6.87 million (-45 percent) at 3,059 theaters. Its cume is $160.9 and may also be on its way to the coveted $200 million mark.

Planet of the Apes is directed by Tim Burton and stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan.

American Outlaws opened at No. 8. Warner Bros.’ PG-13-rated western adventure earned a bleak $4.8 million. Playing across 2,348 screens, it averaged a dismal $2,049 per theater. Looks like Irish heartthrob Colin Farrell couldn’t get American audiences interested in this Western.

Directed by Les Mayfield, American Outlaws stars Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, Ali Larter and Timothy Dalton.

Universal’s Jurassic Park III, which roared into theaters with a whopping $50.8 million, slipped three notches in its fourth week to No. 9. The PG-13 adventure fantasy raked in a mere $4.3 million (-43%) at 2,516 theaters (-659). Averaging $1,709 per theater, its cume is $168.2 million.

Jurassic Park III is directed by Joe Johnston and stars Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, John Diehl and Bruce A. Young.

No. 10 went to MGM’s PG-13-rated Legally Blonde with a reasonable $2.57 million in its fifth week at the box office. Playing at 1,770 theaters, it averaged $1,454 per theater. So far, the comedy has accumulated $83.3 million domestically.

Directed by Robert Luketic, Legally Blonde stars Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber and Jennifer Coolidge.

In total, the top 10 films this weekend grossed about $98.9 million.