"The Wedding Planner" marched down theater aisles this weekend, celebrating in first place with $14 million.
The PG-13-rated romantic comedy from Columbia Pictures and Intermedia Films easily captured the top spot on Super Bowl Weekend with a sexy ESTIMATED $14.0 million at 2,785 theaters ($5,027 per theater).
"Planner" had the highest per-theater average for any film playing in over 1,000 theaters last weekend.
"Great news for us this weekend," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning, noting that Sony had four of the top ten films ("Planner," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Finding Forrester" and "Snatch").
"$14 million is allowing for an over 50% drop on Sunday because we (should) do a little better than the rest of the world (against) the Super Bowl," Blake explained. "We got a real clear mix of an audience. It was almost evenly divided under-25 and over-25 and clearly a large part of the under-25 crowd was driven by Jennifer Lopez, who couldn't be hotter right now with both her album and now her No. 1 movie. I think, certainly, the attraction of the over-25 crowd was that this is also a very romantic movie and Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey make a very romantic couple. I think that will be a key as we go forward into February. I think we look like the romantic choice for the next couple of weeks through Valentine's Day."
Sony is very pleased, Blake noted, with the opening of "Planner," which is "a co-production between Columbia and Intermedia. Columbia has all domestic rights and Intermedia is selling the foreign territories. The negative cost is $28 million, so this is one we can really do well on."
Paramount's PG-13-rated teen appeal drama "Save the Last Dance" from MTV Films fell one slot to second place in its third week with an okay ESTIMATED $10.00 million (-35%) at 2,561 theaters (+22 theaters; $3,905 per theater). Its cume is approximately $59.5 million.
"I think it gets to around $80 million (in domestic theaters)," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "We're assuming like everyone else that we get a pretty good hit (from the Super Bowl) today, or at least we don't hold up as well.
"It basically hurts everything pretty well. But the female-oriented stuff seems to hold up a little better. And by that I mean, maybe we're down 50% to 60% over yesterday (Saturday), whereas the male-oriented stuff will be down 70%-80% over yesterday."
20th Century Fox's PG-13-rated drama "Cast Away" slid one peg to third place in its sixth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $8.94 million (-20%) at 2,890 theaters (-171 theaters; $3,092 per theater). Its cume is approximately $194.1 million, heading for $215 million-plus in domestic theaters.
"We had a heck of a weekend," Fox distribution executive vice president, sales Rick Myerson said Sunday morning. "Off only 20%. It will probably go a little bit north of $215 million and you can't tell (yet) what happens with Academy Awards. That's sensational."
USA Films' R-rated Oscar contender drama "Traffic" dropped one rung to fourth place in its fifth week, still showing great legs with an ESTIMATED $6.49 million (-24%) at 1,580 theaters (+9 theaters; $4,105 per theater). Its cume is approximately $56.3 million.
"Traffic," which won Golden Globes for best screenplay (Stephen Gaghan) and best supporting actor (Benicio Del Toro), is considered a likely contender in the Oscar race. Its director, Steven Soderbergh, is a Directors Guild nominee for both "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich."
New Line's opening of its PG-13-rated youth appeal cheerleaders drama "Sugar & Spice" placed fifth with a not-so-spicy ESTIMATED $6.03 million at 2,150 theaters ($2,802 per theater).
Insiders had been anticipating a more exciting launch in the area of $8 million for "Spice," given word that it was flying higher on the Hollywood radar screen.
Sony Pictures Classics continued to expand its critically-acclaimed PG-13-rated action adventure "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which rose two slots to sixth place in its eighth week with a very encouraging ESTIMATED $5.1 million (-16%) at 869 theaters (+32 theaters; $5,846 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.5 million.
"Tiger," which won Golden Globes for best director (Ang Lee) and best foreign language film, is considered a likely contender in the Oscar race. Lee is a DGA nominee.
Columbia Pictures' PG-13-rated drama "Finding Forrester," which was sixth last week, tied for seventh place in its sixth week, holding well considering the weekend's Super Bowl competition with an ESTIMATED $4.8 million (-28%) at 2,002 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,398 per theater). Its cume is approximately $35.9 million.
"It continues to hang in there," Sony's Blake said Sunday morning. "I think we'll continue to be one of the top adult choices going forward."
Sony's Screen Gems label's R-rated drama "Snatch," which was fourth last week, tied for seventh place in its second week with a less exciting ESTIMATED $4.8 million (-40%) at 1,444 theaters (theater count unchanged; $3,324 per theater). Its cume is approximately $15.8 million.
"Clearly, the picture's still got a good chance to get to, perhaps, $30 million and, certainly, $25-30 million and will be very profitable for us, especially with already being in profit out of the international markets," Sony's Blake said.
Paramount's PG-13-rated romantic comedy "What Women Want" from Icon Productions slid four rungs to ninth place in its seventh week with a less sexy ESTIMATED $4.3 million (-37%) at 2,611 theaters (-414 theaters; $1,647 per theater). Its cume is approximately $169.5 million.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Warner Bros. and Castle Rock Entertainment's PG-13-rated comedy "Miss Congeniality," down three slots in its sixth week with a still okay ESTIMATED $4.01 million (-36%) at 2,409 theaters (-194 theaters; $1,665 per theater). Its cume is approximately $93.1 million.
"We're (heading for) between $105-110 million," Warner Bros. Distribution's Jeff Goldstein said Sunday morning. "We're tracking very positively against 'Analyze This,' which came in at $106 million. Right now we're 12% ahead of that. I think we comfortably get to $105 million and we could get to $110 million, too."
OTHER OPENINGS There were no other wide openings this weekend.
SNEAK PREVIEWS There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
EXPANSIONS On the expansion front, Warner Bros. and Franchise Pictures' R-rated thriller "The Pledge" went wider, placing 12th with a calm ESTIMATED $3.57 million (-38%) at 1,410 theaters (+135 theaters; $2,528 per theater). Its cume i approximately $11.0 million.
Miramax's PG-13-rated romantic comedy drama "Chocolat," a likely contender for Oscar nominations, went wider in its seventh week, placing 13th with a still hopeful ESTIMATED $3.2 million at 1,203 theaters (+545 theaters; $2,660 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17.3 million.
"Obviously, our Sunday's going to be hurt from the Super Bowl, a little bit," Miramax senior vice president, marketing David Kaminow said Sunday morning. "But the holdover runs are doing great, even as we're expanding these markets. Whatever happens on the 13th (of February with Academy Award nominations), I think this is still a movie that's going to be a crowd pleaser and that's going to stick around for a while."
Buena Vista/Touchstone went wider with its PG-13-rated dark comedy "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," placing 16th in its sixth week with an okay ESTIMATED $2.3 million at 547 theaters (+128 theaters; $4,205 per theater). Its cume is approximately $12.6 million.
Lions Gate Films' R-rated drama "Shadow of the Vampire" went wider, placing 18th with a calm ESTIMATED $2.0 million at 513 theaters ($3,890 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.6 million.
"We're going to hold at this level of screens for a few weeks and then we're going to expand once more on Feb. 16, the weekend after the Academy nominations, when we're expecting a couple to come our way," Lions Gate co-president Tom Ortenberg said Sunday morning.
WEEKEND COMPARISONS Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the three days -- took in approximately $93.93 million, up about 55.13% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $60.55 million.
This weekend's key film gross was down about 13.06% from the previous weekend this year when key films grossed $108.04 million.
Last year, Destination Films' opening week of "Eye of the Beholder" was first with $5.96 million at 1,751 theaters ($3,403 per theater); and New Line's third week of "Next Friday" was second with $5.75 million at 1,335 theaters ($4,309 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $11.8 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $24.0 million.