Mr. Deeds really went to town this weekend, inheriting $37.6 million at the box office.
While Minority beat Lilo by $417,000 last weekend, after a full week in theaters Lilo was leading by about $2 million in cumulative gross. Now after 10 days, Lilo is $4.3 million ahead of Minority.
The weekend’s other wide opening, Hey Arnold! The Movie, had nothing to shout about in sixth place with $6 million.
Ticket sales were up nearly 13 percent from this weekend last year. Key films — those grossing $500,000 or more — took in $138.1 million versus last year’s $122.6 million.
THE TOP TEN
Columbia and New Line’s PG-13 rated comedy Mr. Deeds kicked off in first place, laughing all the way to the bank with an ESTIMATED $37.6 million at 3,231 theaters ($11,637 per theater).
Mr. Deeds‘ average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
“We’re delighted,” Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
“This is the kind of high powered opening that Adam is known for, particularly in the summer. It’s very close to what The Waterboy (the weekend of Nov. 6-8, 1998 opened to) $39.4 million. It went on to do $161 million (in domestic theaters). And it’s not that far from Big Daddy, which (the weekend of June 25-27, 1999 opened to) $41.5 million and went on to do $163.5 million.”
In addition to those comparisons, another interesting comparison that can be made from the record books is to Sandler’s last film, New Line’s Little Nicky. After opening to a quiet $16.1 million the weekend of Nov. 10-12, 2000, it wound up with a domestic theatrical cume of just $39.4 million — not much more than Deeds took in for its first weekend. With Columbia’s Deeds opening Sandler is clearly back on the box office fast track.
“Adam is really a franchise in and of himself,” Blake said, noting that Deeds‘ production cost was a relatively modest — at least by big summer movie standards — $55 million.
“Obviously, that’s a number you can feel really good about,” Blake added. “What we feel even better about is that we’ve got his next three movies. His animated film, Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy Nights, which opens at Thanksgiving, had a teaser trailer attached to Mr. Deeds. Punch-Drunk Love, which is the Revolution film that got such good notices at Cannes, will be a year-end release. And next June for another big summer release there’s Revolution’s film Anger Management with Jack Nicholson (starring with Sandler). So not only is (Adam Sandler) a great business to be in, we’re in it pretty heavily.”
Reflecting on Sony’s sizzling hot summer at the box office, Blake also pointed out that Spider-Man, which in its ninth week has just dropped out of the Top Ten, is now at about $395.7 million and on its way to “somewhere between $400-410 million” in domestic theaters.
Hollywood handicappers are talking about Spider-Man as a likely bet to be the year’s biggest grossing film. “I don’t think there’s going to be any question (of that),” Blake observed. “With all due respect, as good as the rest of the market is, I don’t see any $400 million (films out there).”
Sony’s summer success should get its next major shot in the arm from Columbia’s launch this Wednesday (July 3) of Men In Black II at about 3,300 theaters and 6,000 or more screens. The film’s 88 minute running time (including about seven minutes of end credits) will enable theaters to run it five or six times a day, greatly enhancing its grossing potential.
The original Men In Black‘s first weekend in theaters was July 4-6, 1997 with $51.07 million at 3,020 theaters ($16,910 per theater). With July Fourth falling on a Friday that year, the film’s opening gave it a six day cume of $84.1 million. It went on to gross $250.1 million in domestic theaters.
“We’re certainly opening on very close to 6,000 screens — probably over 6,000 by Monday,” Blake said. “Well, 6,000 screens times five or six shows a day, that’s pretty good! You’ve got to figure you’ve got (at least) 30,000 shows a day no matter how you place it. I think it’s going to be fun. It should be a good weekend for us.”
Beyond Men In Black II, Sony has another high profile sequel on deck in Stuart Little 2, opening July 19. The first Stuart Little opened to $15 million the weekend of Dec. 17-19, 1999 and went on to gross $140 million in domestic theaters.
Buena Vista/Disney’s PG rated animated family appeal feature Lilo & Stitch showed strong legs in its second week, holding on to second place with an ESTIMATED $22.2 million (-37%) at 3,222 theaters (+31 theaters; $6,899 per theater). Its cume is approximately $77.8 million.
20th Century Fox and DreamWorks’ PG-13 rated sci-fi fantasy thriller Minority Report tumbled two rungs in its second week to third place with a less thrilling ESTIMATED $21.63 million (-39%) at 3,001 theaters (theater count unchanged; $7,208 per theater). Its cume is approximately $73.5 million.
WARNER Bros.’ PG rated family comedy Scooby-Doo slid one peg to fourth place in its third week with a calmer ESTIMATED $12.22 million (-50%) at 3,447 theaters (theater count unchanged; $3,545 per theater). Its cume is approximately $123.8 million.
Universal’s PG-13 espionage thriller The Bourne Identity fell one rung to fifth place in its third week with an okay ESTIMATED $10.81 million (-28%)) at 2,663 theaters (+20 theaters; $4,060 per theater). Its cume is approximately $72.5 million, heading for $85 million.
Bourne had the lowest percentage drop of any film in the Top Ten this weekend.
Paramount and Nickelodeon’s PG rated animated feature Hey Arnold! The Movie arrived in sixth place to a dull ESTIMATED $6.0 million at 2,527 theaters ($2,374 per theater).
Directed by Tuck Tucker, the film is based on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon series. With the movie having reportedly cost only about $4 million to make, neither Paramount nor Nickelodeon should be hurt by its not-so-lively launch.
“We’re a little disappointed,” Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. “It’s below our expectations, but we didn’t have a great deal invested in the film either. It’s not like we’re going to be hurt financially, but certainly we were expecting a great deal more and had anticipated making a lot of money versus sort of getting out of it even.”
Paramount’s PG-13 rated thriller The Sum Of All Fears dropped two slots to seventh place in its fifth week with an uneventful ESTIMATED $4.83 million (-38%) at 2,486 theaters (-551 theaters; $1,941 per theater). Its cume is approximately $105.3 million, heading for $120-125 million in domestic theaters.
Warner Bros. and Gaylord Films’ PG-13 rated drama Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood slid one rung in its fourth week to eighth place with an unexciting ESTIMATED $4.01 million (-33%) at 2,187 theaters (-143 theaters; $1,851 per theater). Its cume is approximately $55.3 million.
MGM’s R rated World War II drama Windtalkers plunged three spots to ninth place in its third week with a slow ESTIMATED $3.6 million (-45%) at 2,529 theaters (-369 theaters; $1,473 per theatre). Its cume is approximately $33.3 million.
Rounding out the Top Ten (but virtually tied for ninth place) was 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm’s PG rated franchise installment Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, down one orbit in its seventh week with a quiet ESTIMATED $3.56 million (-31%) at 1,801 theaters (-306 theaters; $1,977 per theater). Its cume is approximately $286.1 million, heading for $300 million 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.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Lions Gate Films’ R rated comedy Lovely & Amazing to a hopeful ESTIMATED $96,000 at 8 theaters in New York and Los Angeles ($12,000 per theater).
“We expand July 19 to about 125 screens for the next wave,” Lions Gate president Tom Ortenberg said Sunday morning.
United Artists’ R rated satiric comedy Pumpkin opened via MGM Distribution to a not very funny ESTIMATED $30,000 at 8 theaters ($3,776 per theater).
20th Century Fox’s PG-13 rated comedy The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest kicked off poorly, finding that for it the first $20,000 is the hardest. The film took in only an ESTIMATED $2,354 at 2 theaters in Los Angeles ($1,177 per theater).
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend Gold Circle Films and HBO’s PG rated romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding widened again via IFC Films in its 11th week with a still sexy ESTIMATED $1.9 million (+9%) at 493 theaters (+49 theaters; $3,930 per theater). Its cume is approximately $19.3 million.
Miramax’s PG rated comedy The Importance Of Being Earnest added theaters in its sixth week with an unimportant ESTIMATED $0.46 million (-14%) at 208 theaters (+7 theaters; $2,187 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.9 million.
Think Film’s R rated dark comedy The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys went wider in its third week with an unexceptional ESTIMATED $0.2 million at 125 theaters (+49 theaters; $1,810 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.6 million.
Key films — those grossing more than $500,000 — took in approximately $138.12 million, up 12.63 percent from last year when they totaled $122.65 million.
Key films were down about 12.43 percent from the previous weekend of this year when they grossed $157.73 million.
Last year, Warner Bros.’ opening week of A.I. Artificial Intelligence was first with $29.35 million at 3,242 theaters ($9,054 per theater); and Universal’s second week of The Fast and the Furious was second with $20.05 million at 2,723 theaters ($7,365 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $49.5 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $59.8 million.