Box Office News

Box Office Analysis, May 8: 'M:i III' Opens to Tepid Numbers

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May 08, 2006 | 5:50am EDT

Mission: Impossible III achieved its mission by taking the box office this weekend--but it wasn’t exactly a slam dunk. The Tom Cruise actioner, which garnered plenty of positive reviews, grossed $48 million--far below its predicted huge opening that would kick off the summer blockbuster line up, and almost $10 million lower than the franchise's previous installments.

Some prognosticators are attributing M:i III’s low numbers to Cruise’s recent overexposure in the media.

"Expectations were really high for this film. I think it's a good number, but people were obviously expecting better numbers," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told The Associated Press. "There's a lot to be said for how a star's public persona can affect a movie's box office."

The third M:I installment wasn’t able to top its predecessor. Mission: Impossible II opened in 2000 with $57.8 million. Even Cruise’s War of the Worlds debuted last summer with $64.8 mil. But comparisons are difficult, since both of those movies opened over long holiday weekends, when Sunday grosses typically are much stronger than during a regular weekend.

The weekend's other wide releases had fair to poor openings. An American Haunting, starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland in a 19th century supernatural tale, debuted in third place with $6.4 million. The family film Hoot, adapted from Carl Hiaasen's novel about teenagers trying to save endangered owls, tied for ninth place with $3.4 million.

The Top 12 films this week grossed an estimated $100.2 million, up 11.15 percent from last weekend’s total of $90.1 million and up 27.70 percent from last year's draw of $78.4 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: 20th Century Fox’s Kingdom of Heaven, which debuted at No. 1 with $19.6 million in 3,216 theaters, averaging $6,106 per theater; Warner Bros. House of Wax, which debuted in second place with $12 million in 3,111 theaters, averaging $3,882 per theaters; and Buena Vista’s The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which dropped to third place in its second week with $9.7 million in 3,133 theaters, averaging $3,126 per theaters (Click here to read last year's box office report).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: Mission: Impossible III (Paramount, PG-13)

• Gross: $48 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 4,054

• Per-theater average: $11,840

No. 2: R.V. (Sony Pictures, PG)

• Gross: $16.4 million (-32%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 3,651 (+12)

• Per-theater average: $3,040

• Cume to date: $31 million

No. 3: An American Haunting (Freestyle Releasing, PG-13)

• Gross: $6.3 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 1,667

• Per-theater average: $3,827

No. 4: Stick It (Buena Vista, PG-13)

• Gross: $5.5 million (-49%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,044 (+6)

• Per-theater average: $2,702

• Cume to date: $17.9 million

No. 5: United 93 (Universal, R)

• Gross: $11.6 million (-55%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 1,819 (+24)

• Per-theater average: $2,859

• Cume to date: $20.1 million

No. 6: Ice Age: The Meltdown (20th Century Fox, PG)

• Gross: $4 million (-44%)

• Weeks opened: 6

• Theaters: 2,426 (-696)

• Per-theater average: $1,649

• Cume to date: $183.2 million

No. 7: Silent Hill (Sony Pictures, R)

• Gross: $3.9 million (-58%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 2,556 (+6)

• Per-theater average: $1,526

• Cume to date: $40.8 million

No. 8: Scary Movie 4 (Weinstein Co., PG-13)

• Gross: $3.7 million (-52%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 2,537 (-255)

• Per-theater average: $1,483

• Cume to date: $83.7 million

No. 9 (TIE): Hoot (New Line, PG)

• Gross: $3.4 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,018

• Per-theater average: $1,127

No. 10 (TIE): Akeelah and the Bee (Lions Gate, PG)

• Gross: $3.4 million (-43%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,195 (unchanged)

• Per-theater average: $1,549

• Cume to date: $10.6 million

OTHER OPENINGS

Art School Confidential (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

• Gross: $142,157

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 12

• Per-theater average: $11,846

Down in the Valley (ThinkFilm, R)

• Gross: $26,310

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3

• Per-theater average: $8,770

The Promise (Warner Independent, PG-13)

• Gross: $271,000

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 213

• Per-theater average: $1,272

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