The sum of all grosses for The Sum Of All Fears was $18.7 million, enough to keep it in first place over a generally blah box office weekend.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones slid 34 percent to third place with $13.9 million. Bad Company opened fourth to a not-so-good $10.5 million. Spider-Man dropped 30 percent to fifth with $10 million.
Hollywood suffered across the board from the combination of beautiful East Coast weather, major sports competition — including Friday’s NBA basketball finals and Saturday’s Stanley Cup hockey finals, Belmont Stakes horse race and Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson heavyweight championship fight — and the absence of any new high profile event movie openings.
But even with the weekend’s lackluster grosses, ticket sales were still nearly 9 percent ahead of this weekend last year. Key films — those grossing $500,000 or more — took in about $103 million versus last year’s $94.4 million.
THE TOP TEN
Paramount’s PG-13 rated thriller The Sum Of All Fears held on to the top spot in its second weekend with a still powerful ESTIMATED $18.7 million (-40%) at 3,218 theaters (+35 theaters; $5,811 per theater). Its cume is approximately $61.8 million.
“It didn’t hold as well as I had hoped it would hold,” Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning, noting that the overall marketplace was “extremely soft yesterday.”
Asked where Fears is heading, Lewellen replied, “I think it gets to $100 million and a little over, but we certainly had anticipated based on the opening level and the playability of the film that it would go far beyond that. So it’s somewhat disappointing. But that’s not to say that it can’t come back.”
What accounted for this weekend’s softness across the board? “The quickest thing that jumps out is the fight last night,” Lewellen said. “Then, of course, they had the hockey playoff that went into triple overtime. Do I believe that that’s what all of this is (about)? No, I don’t. I know that the East Coast had extraordinary weather yesterday. It was like 70 degrees and beautiful skies — one of those ’10’ New York days, you know. And that always has an impact on you there. But I still find it difficult (to believe) the market is this far below where we had projected it even after we had the Friday figures.”
Industry projections circulating Saturday morning had all of this weekend’s top films doing considerably better than is reflected in their Sunday estimates. “I had us at $20.5 million yesterday,” Lewellen explained, adding that he also had the other Top Five films doing better than they’re reporting today.
Warner Bros. and Gaylord Films’ PG-13 rated drama Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood kicked off in second place to a cheerful ESTIMATED $16.35 million at 2,507 theaters ($6,522 per theater).
Ya-Ya‘s average per theater was the highest for any film playing this weekend.
“We’re pleased with Ya-Ya. It’s a solid opening,” Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. “It performed better than we expected. We were looking at somewhere in the $15-16 million range.”
Moviegoers liked the movie and, as a result, it should have favorable word of mouth. “Its CinemaScores and the exit polls that we conducted were great,” Fellman said. “All the CinemaScores were A — even for men. The audience was predominantly younger and older females, but the male response was very, very favorable. With good word of mouth, I think we’ll be around for a long time.
20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm’s PG rated franchise installment Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones dropped one notch to third place in its fourth week, holding well with an ESTIMATED $13.88 million (-34%) at 3,161 theaters (theater count unchanged; $4,391 per theater). Its cume is approximately $255.0 millio n, heading for $300 million or slightly more in domestic theaters.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace took in $431.1 million in domestic theaters. Its worldwide total (domestic plus international) was $923 million.
Buena Vista/Touchstone and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ PG-13 rated action film Bad Company, whose plot involves CIA efforts to keep terrorists from obtaining a nuclear device, opened in fourth place to a disappointing ESTIMATED $10.5 million at 2,944 theaters ($3,553 per theater).
“We had great talent and great filmmakers and they worked their butts off,” Buena Vista Distribution president Chuck Viane said Sunday morning. “Unfortunately, as you know, in our business there are no guarantees. Kind of like yesterday’s (Belmont Stakes) race where we all thought War Emblem (was the favorite) and he ends up finishing out of the money. Unfortunately, it looks like that happened to us. The good news is that it’s a long summer and the CinemaScores were decent so we should be around for a while.”
Asked if he thought the male appeal Company was hurt, for example, by the televised NBA finals, Viane replied, “I think it’s a combination of things and when you add them all up they mean something, but to point to one item, I just don’t know.”
Columbia’s PG-13 sci-fi fantasy blockbuster Spider-Man slid two pegs to fifth in its sixth week, still showing decent legs with an ESTIMATED $10.0 million (-30%) at 3,235 theaters (-411 theaters; $3,091 per theater). Its cume is approximately $370.1 million heading for $420 million or more in domestic theaters.
“It’s its sixth weekend in double digits,” Sony spokesman Steve Elzer said Sunday morning. “Actually, it’s its fifth weekend in double digits. One weekend was in triple digits.”
DreamWorks’ G rated animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron dropped one slot to sixth place in its third week, holding well with an ESTIMATED $9.4 million (-17%) at 3,362 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,805 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.8 million. Spirit‘s decline of 17 percent was the smallest drop for any film in the Top Ten this weekend.
Directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook, it was produced by Mireille Soria and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Universal and Imagine Entertainment’s PG-13 rated urban appeal comedy Undercover Brother skidded three pegs to seventh place in its second weekend to an unexciting ESTIMATED $7.31 million (-39%) at 2,169 theaters (+2 theaters; $3,370 per theater). Its cume is approximately $23.6 million.
Alcon Entertainment’s R rated thriller Insomnia fell two rungs to eighth place in its third week via Warner Bros. with a less thrilling ESTIMATED $5.89 million (-41%) at 2,458 theaters (-152 theaters; $2,396 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.8 million.
Columbia’s PG-13 rated thriller Enough slipped two slots to ninth place in its third week with a dull ESTIMATED $3.6 million (-47%) at 2,388 theaters (-235 theaters; $1,508 per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.6 million.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Universal and Studio Canal’s PG-13 rated romantic comedy drama About A Boy, from Tribeca and Working Title, down two slots in its fourth weekend with a quiet ESTIMATED $2.74 million (-33%) at 1,619 theaters (-137 theaters; $1,685 per theater). Boy, which only cost $27 million, has a cume of approximately $32.5 million.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Fine Line Features’ R rated drama Cherish to an uneventful ESTIMATED $40,000 at 6 theaters ($6,667 per theater). Written and directed by Finn Taylor, it stars Robin Tunney.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend IFC Films’ PG rated romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding went wider in its eighth week with a solid ESTIMATED $1.6 million at 444 theaters (+208 theaters; $3,670 per theater). Its cume is approximately $10.9 million.
Key films — those grossing more than $500,000 — took in approximately $102.73 million, up 8.86 percent from last year when they totaled $94.37 million.
Key films were down 12.87 percent from the previous weekend of this year when they grossed $117.91 million.
Last year, Warner Bros.’ opening week of Swordfish was first with $18.15 million at 2,678 theaters ($6,776 per theater); and DreamWorks’ fourth week of Shrek was second with $16.52 million at 3,715 theaters ($4,447 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $34.6 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $35.1 million.