Driven by Spider-Man, key films--those grossing $500,000 or more --totaled $119 million, up 61 percent from last year's $73.9 million. This was the second consecutive pre-summer weekend in which key films dramatically out-performed their levels a year earlier. For the weekend of May 3-5, ticket sales were up 50 percent from last year.
This Thursday sees 20th Century Fox launch Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones. Given its brand name franchise status, its very wide opening at about 3,000 theaters and reviews comparing it favorably to the critically reviled Episode I, insiders are expecting it to open for four days in line with the nearly $115 million three day opening that Spider-Man enjoyed.
THE TOP TEN
Columbia's PG-13 action-adventure sci-fi fantasy Spider-Man kept its first place foothold in weekend two, still setting records with an amazing ESTIMATED $72.0 million (-37%) at 3,615 theaters ($19,917 per theater). So far, the film has trapped approximately $223.6 million in its web.
Spider-Man's average per theater was the highest for any film playing this weekend.
Given its phenomenal hold, insiders are speculating that Spider-Man, which cost $120-130 million, is on its way to $400 million in domestic theaters. Although no other potential summer blockbusters have even opened yet, the buzz around Hollywood has Spider-Man walking off with the summer's top grossing honors.
With that in mind, Spider-Man appears destined to be one of the top five biggest grossing films of all time. At the moment, with its $223.6 million cume it ranks 29th among all-time biggest domestic grossing films. Spider-Man will climb into fifth place if its cume passes Jurassic Park's $356.8 million total. To move up from there, it will have to do even better than insiders are now anticipating. Fourth place on the all-time domestic chart is held by Phantom Menace with $431.1 million.
"Down 37 percent, I think, is Spider-Man's most gravity defying feat yet," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning. "Off a number of this size (its $114.8 million opening) to only drop 37 percent is gravity defying that only a Spider-Man could pull off."
Looking at the film's record setting second weekend showing, Blake pointed out, "It's the biggest second weekend ever. Harry Potter's second Friday-Saturday-Sunday, which was over Thanksgiving (last year), was $57.5 million. Phantom Menace's four day second weekend over Memorial Day (in 1999) was $66.9 million. So it's just the biggest second weekend ever--three or four days.
"It's the fourth biggest Friday-Saturday-Sunday ever--period. It's behind week one of Spider-Man, week one of Harry Potter, week one of Lost World and ahead of week one of everything else, including Planet of the Apes and Mummy Returns."
Still on the record setting front, Blake noted, "We hit $200 million in a record nine days on Saturday. Nine days! All the predictions, including mine, were to hit it in 10 days. We hit in nine. We had $202 million through yesterday. It took Phantom Menace 13 days.
Focusing on the overall marketplace, Blake said, "Spider-Man was about 60 percent of the entire market. It was about a $120 million weekend and we're about 60 percent of it."
What accounts for Spider-Man's uncanny success? "Two very powerful factors," Blake replied. "One, really that universal appeal that we've been talking about where you've got a film that appeals equally to young males and older females and everybody in between. And, two, just electric word of mouth. You can't buy that. No matter how many television spots you buy or how great your advertising is, you can't buy that word of mouth. And we've got it in spades."
20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises' R rated thriller Unfaithful opened in second place to an attractive ESTIMATED $14.23 million at 2,613 theaters ($5,444 per theater). Its cume after five days is approximately $14.28 million.
"We're very, very pleased about the screen average and we are happy about the total gross," Fox executive vice president, sales Rick Myerson said Sunday morning.
Revolution Studios' PG-13 rated comedy The New Guy opened via Columbia in third place to an OK ESTIMATED $9.5 million at 2,687 theaters ($3,536 per theater).
"It's a $13 million negative and certainly, I think, heading to $30 million or better (in domestic theaters) given Memorial Day weekend approaching," Sony's Jeff Blake said, adding it should be "very profitable. We managed to find a hole (in which to open it) in some pretty tough competition."
Universal's PG-13 rated adventure spinoff The Scorpion King in association with World Wrestling Federation Entertainment and Alphaville slipped two slots to fourth place in its fourth week with a less biting ESTIMATED $4.36 million (-52%) at 3,219 theaters (-247 theaters; $1,355 per theater). Its cume is approximately $80.4 million, heading for $90 million in domestic theaters.
Paramount's R rated road rage drama Changing Lanes fell two pegs to fifth place in its fifth week with a slower ESTIMATED $3.5 million (-34%) at 2,510 theaters (-132 theaters; $1,394 per theater). Its cume is approximately $57.0 million, heading for $65 million.
Castle Rock Entertainment's Murder by Numbers skidded two rungs to sixth place in its fourth week via Warner Bros. with a calm ESTIMATED $2.28 million (-37%) at 2,116 theaters (-449 theaters; $1,075 per theater). Its cume is approximately $27.3 million.
Buena Vista/Disney's G rated family appeal baseball drama The Rookie fell two slots to seventh place in its seventh week with an OK ESTIMATED $2.1 million (-32%) at 2,117 theaters (-234 theaters; $1,009 per theater). Its cume is approximately $67.7 million.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, it stars Dennis Quaid.
Columbia's R rated thriller Panic Room rose two notches to eighth place in its seventh week with a still intense ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-28%) at 1,350 theaters (-735 theaters; $1,111 per theater). Its cume is approximately $93.1 million, on its way to $100 million in domestic theaters.
20th Century Fox's PG rated animated feature Ice Age dropped one rung in its ninth week, finally thawing with an ESTIMATED $1.4 million (-41%) at 1,729 theaters (-408 theaters; $810 per theater). Its cume is approximately $170.8 million, heading for $175 million or more in domestic theaters.
Rounding out the Top Ten was 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises' PG-13 rated drama Life or Something Like It, plunging five posts in its third week with an ESTIMATED $1.3 million (-59%) at 1,872 theaters (-735 theaters; $694 per theater). Its cume is approximately $13.1 million.
This weekend saw the arrival of no other major releases.
This weekend saw Columbia hold successful sneak previews Saturday night of its PG-13 rated thriller Enough.
"There were 594 sneaks (held with Columbia's Panic Room) and they were a little better than 60 percent of capacity, so we're pleased," Sony's Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
"There was a good mix of male and female--about 55 percent female and 45 percent male. And there was a good mix of ages--about 55 percent over 25 and 45 percent under 25. I don't have the exit polls back yet, but there was lots of word (from the theaters) of people with a very positive response. It's a real get-on-your-feet at the end type of thriller as (Lopez's abused wife on the run character) fights back."
Enough opens May 24 at 2,500 or more theaters.
This weekend also saw DreamWorks hold sneak previews Saturday afternoon of its G rated animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, opening wide May 24. No details were available Sunday morning.
Directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook, it was produced by Mireille Soria and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
On the expansion front this weekend IFC Films' PG rated romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding expanded in its fourth week with an encouraging ESTIMATED $1.04 million at 248 theaters (+101 theaters; $4,175 per theater). Its cume is approximately $3.9 million.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
IFC Films' unrated erotic drama Y Tu Mama Tambien went wider in its ninth week with an OK ESTIMATED $0.61 million (-20%) at 293 theaters (+19 theaters; $2,080 per theater). Its cume is approximately $9.3 million.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, it stars Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.
Key films--those grossing more than $500,000--took in approximately $118.97 million, up about 60.96 percent from last year when they totaled $73.91 million.
Key films this weekend were down about 24.36 percent from the previous weekend of this year's total of $157.28 million.
Last year, Universal's second week of The Mummy Returns was first with $33.74 million at 3,410 theaters ($9,895 per theater); and Columbia's opening week of A Knight's Tale was second with $16.5 million at 2,980 theaters ($5,541 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $50.2 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $86.2 million.