While it's no surprise the new comic book actioner Daredevil took the No. 1 spot on the weekend's list, the fact it simply stomped 'em with a whopping $43.5 million* is truly astounding, making it the best President's Day weekend opening ever in box office history. It's also the second best February opening ever, behind MGM's Hannibal, which took in $58 million when it opened Feb. 9, 2001.
After all the box office business was sucked up by Daredevil, little was left over for the rest. With the numbers going down considerably, last weekend's first place winner How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days dropped to second at $19 million and the Oscar-nominated Chicago, in its first wide release, took in $12.6 million, holding onto third place for the second weekend in a row.
THE TOP TEN
Proving that audiences either wanted to see a super cool comic book hero, watch hunky Ben Affleck or simply escape the impending doom and gloom heralded on the CNNs and FoxNews channels of the world, 20th Century Fox's PG-13 Daredevil swept up with an ESTIMATED $43.5 million at 3,471 theaters (that's an amazing $12,532 per theaters).
With a budget of nearly $80 million, Daredevil opened at the high end of expectations, but the figure was not "shocking," Bruce Snyder, Fox's president of domestic theatrical distribution, told Reuters. Setting the record for the President's Day holiday, the film beat previous record holder John Q, the Denzel Washington drama that opened February 2002 at $23 million.
"The first tier of comic books would be Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men. This would probably be a second-tier character, but from the audiences that showed up Friday night, there's a big fan base," Snyder told the Associated Press.
Daredevil centers on blind attorney Matt Murdock, whose other four senses function with superhuman acuteness. By day he is a lawyer representing the poor and defenseless, but by night he is Daredevil--a relentless avenger of justice.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13 romantic comedy How To Lose a Guy, about a magazine columnist whose assignment is to meet, woo and then do all the wrong things to lose a guy in 10 days, still managed to offer an alternative to superhero action. Last week's winner at the box office (and fourth best February opening) came in second with an ESTIMATED $19 million (-20%) at 2,923 theaters ($6,500 per theater). Its total haul so far is approximately $47.7 million.
Holding on to its third place spot, Miramax Films opened the PG-13 Chicago to its first wide release and watched it sing and dance its way to an ESTIMATED $12.6 million (+17%) at 2,268 theaters (+427 theaters; $5,556 per theater). Hoping to gain some serious momentum after its recent 13 Academy Award nominations, the film, now in its eighth week, has accumulated approximately $80.7 million to date.
The other newcomer on the block, Buena Vista's G-rated animated The Jungle Book 2, took fourth place, boogying to the tune of an ESTIMATED $11.9 million at 2,808 theaters ($4,238 per theater).
In the sequel to the 1967 original The Jungle Book, Mowgli and his friends are back for more adventures as the young boy tries to adjust to his new life in a human village while missing his old animal pals back in the jungle.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
In its second week, Buena Vista's PG-13 Shanghai Knights got karate-chopped from second to fifth place with an ESTIMATED $11.4 million (-42%) at 2,755 theaters (+2 theaters; $4,138 per theater). Its cume is approximately $34.6 million.
Yet another Buena Vista stayed in the top 10, the PG-13 The Recruit, which dropped from two spots to No. 6 with an ESTIMATED $6.8 million (-26%) at 2,336 theaters (-40 theaters; $2,911 per theater). The spy thriller about a CIA recruit trying to figure out whom to trust has made approximately $38.8 million in its first three weeks.
Whether or not you can cheat Death, New Line Cinema's R-rated Final Destination 2 still managed to scare up some box office business, sliding from fifth to seventh with an ESTIMATED $6.2 million (-26%) at 2,238 theaters (-596 theaters; $2,782 per theater). Its cume is approximately $36.1 million.
Focus Features' R-rated Deliver Us From Eva fell a few rungs to No. 8 with an ESTIMATED $4.3 million (-34%) at 1,139 theaters ($3,830 per theater). The romantic comedy about taming one badass shrew has brought in approximately $12.2 million.
Incredibly, Warner Bros.' PG-rated Kangaroo Jack stayed on the top 10, dropping a couple notches to ninth place with an ESTIMATED $4 million (-34%) at 2,535 theaters (-313 theaters; $1,584 per theater). The raucous comedy about a kangaroo's intent to spend some mob money has made approximately $57.9 million in its five weeks in theaters.
Despite losing some of its theaters, the tenth spot belonged to New Line's R-rated About Schmidt, whose move up one notch with an ESTIMATED $3.5 million (+18%) at 1,208 theaters (-32 theaters; $2,939 per theater) was probably fueled by its recent Academy Award nods. The film's approximate take so far is $53 million in 10 weeks.
Fueled by Daredevil, this weekend's top 12 totals saw a 27 percent increase from last weekend with a haul of $130.1 million, as well as a 21 percent increase from the same weekend last year, which took in $106.7 million.
This time last year, New Line's PG-13 John Q toppled the competition in its opening with a total of $23.6 million, followed by other newcomers, Paramount's PG-13 Crossroads at $17 million, and Buena Vista's G-rated Return to Neverland at $15.6 million.
Other big President's Day weekend openers included New Line's PG-13 The Wedding Singer, which opened Feb. 13, 1998, and took in $21.9 million over four days and Paramount's PG-13 Down to Earth, which opened Feb. 16, 2001, gaining a four-day total of $20 million.