Box office analysis: Feb. 24

The Queen of the Damned was king of the box office with a royal opening of $15.2 million.

Also driving the weekend were John Q, transplanted to second place with $12.5 million, and Dragonfly buzzing in third place with $10.4 million.

Families continued turning out for Return to Never Land, which finished fourth with $9.0 million. But fewer fans flocked to Britney SpearsCrossroads, which plunged 51 percent to fifth place with $7.1 million.

Key films — those grossing $500,000 or more — did about $106 million, up nearly 27 percent from last year’s $83.8 million.


(NOTE: Today’s percentage comparisons are against the three day — Friday to Sunday — portion of last week’s four day holiday period.)

Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow’s R rated vampire thriller The Queen of the Damned kicked off in first place with a bloody good ESTIMATED $15.16 million at 2,511 theaters ($6,035 per theater).

Queen‘s average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.

Directed by Michael Rymer, it stars Stuart Townsend and the late recording artist Aaliyah.

“It’s the largest three day February opening in our company’s history,” Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning.

Warners’ previous February record, he said, was “$15.057 million a couple of weeks ago with Collateral Damage. And A Walk to Remember was the largest January opening we ever had (with $12.18 million the weekend of Jan. 25-27). So we’ve opened three movies (in a row) and we’ve been very effective with all three. And we’re very optimistic about Showtime, which is coming up on Mar. 15 (an action comedy directed by Tom Dey and starring Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy and Rene Russo).”

Focusing on Queen‘s strong arrival, Fellman said, “We’re thrilled about it. The audience was predominantly ethnic. It was about 33 percent females under the age of 25 drawn

to the movie by their loyalty, a little curiosity and a desire to see Aaliyah on the big screen, which they did and they liked it.”

New Line’s John Q slid one slot to second place in its second week with a still healthy ESTIMATED $12.53 million (-38%) at 2,505 theaters (+39 theaters; $5,400 per theater). Its cume is approximately $41.1 million, heading for $70-75 million in domestic theaters.

Directed by Nick Cassavetes, it stars Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, James Woods, Anne Heche, Kimberly Elise and Ray Liotta.

“I think the hold’s terrific,” New Line Distribution president David Tuckerman said Sunday. “It shows that the exit polling and the CinemaScores were (right). We’re just happy campers.”

Universal and Spyglass Entertainment’s PG-13 afterlife thriller Dragonfly winged into third place with an okay ESTIMATED $10.39 million at 2,507 theaters ($4,145 per theater).

Directed by Tom Shadyac, it stars Kevin Costner.

“Considering that it’s a departure for Tom Shadyac — something other than the big comedies that he’s done — he obviously acquitted himself nicely here. The picture plays very, very well, especially to women — to young women, to older women. And we hope it will be around for a while,” Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning.

Buena Vista/Disney’s G rated animated Return to Never Land fell one peg to fourth place in its second week, holding well with an ESTIMATED $9.0 million (-25%) at 2,626 theaters (+21 theaters; $3,414 per theater). Its cume is approximately $27.2 million.

Paramount’s PG-13 rated comedy Crossroads dropped three notches to fifth place in its second week with a less funny ESTIMATED $7.1 million (-51%) at 2,381 theaters (+1 theater; $2,982 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.3 million.

Directed by Tamra Davis, it stars Britney Spears.

“Frankly, it’s not unexpected,” Paramount Distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. “It’s pretty much where I thought it would be coming off the holiday weekend. Any time you have a movie that appeals to a young group like this they show up en masse right away.”

Asked where it’s heading in domestic theaters, Lewellen replied, “It’s maybe $40 million. It’ll be profitable given the

cost of the film. It’s only a $10-12 million production. We had a lot of partners in it. We won’t make a lot of upside, but we will make a nice profit on it.”

Universal’s PG rated family comedy Big Fat Liar fell two rungs to sixth place in its third week, still showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $6.74 million (-23%) at 2,437 theaters (-97 theaters; $2,765 per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.6

Directed by Shawn Levy, it stars Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes.

Liar, which was made for only about $15 million, should be very profitable for Universal.

Universal, DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainment’s PG-13 rated drama A Beautiful Mind, which received eight Oscar nominations, held on to seventh place in its 10th week with a still solid ESTIMATED $5.26 million (-35%) at 2,089 theaters (-12 theaters; $2,540 per theater). Its cume is approximately $132.6 million, heading for $150 million-plus, depending on how well it does Oscar night.

Directed by Ron Howard, the Brian Grazer production stars Russell Crowe, Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly.

“It continues to be strong, as we predicted ,” Universal’s Nikki Rocco said. “We know for the next couple of weeks it’s just a wait-and-see for the Academy Awards.”

MGM’s R rated World War II drama Hart’s War dipped three spots in its second week to a dull ESTIMATED $4.55 million (-41%) at 2,459 theaters (theater count unchanged;
$1,851 per theater). Its cume is approximately $13.9 million.

Directed by Gregory Hoblit, it stars Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell.

Fox Searchlight Pictures’ R rated comedy Super Troopers showed good second week legs, holding on to ninth place with an ESTIMATED $3.91 million (-37%) at 1,805 theaters (+25 theaters; $2,166 per theater). Its cume is approximately $12.5 million.

Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, it stars andrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan.

“It’s an excellent result and we’re very pleased with it,” Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said

Sunday morning.

Searchlight picked up Troopers for only $3.25 million at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, making it a nicely profitable release for the studio.

Warner Bros. and Bel-Air Entertainment’s R rated terrorist action adventure Collateral Damage, which was fifth last week, tied for tenth place in its third week with a slow ESTIMATED $3.73 million (-56%) at 2,410 theaters (-414 theaters; $1,548 per theater). Its cume is approximately $34.5 million.

Directed by Andrew Davis, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Revolution Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ R rated drama Black Hawk Down, which was eighth last week, tied for tenth place in its ninth week of release via Columbia Pictures with a calm ESTIMATED $3.7 million (-41%) at 1,802 theaters (-348 theaters; $2,053 per theater). Its cume is approximately $101.4 million, heading for $115-120 million. Hawk hit the $100 million mark Saturday night.

Directed by Ridley Scott — a best director Oscar nominee and also a Directors Guild nominee — it stars Josh Hartnett.


This weekend also saw the arrival of USA Films’ R rated romantic comedy Monsoon Wedding with a spicy ESTIMATED $0.068 million at 2 theaters in New York ($34,096 per theater).

Directed by Mira Nair, it was produced by Nair and Caroline Baron.

Paramount Classics’ R rated soccer comedy Mean Machine kicked off to a nasty ESTIMATED $0.018 million at 6 theaters ($3,081 per theater).

Directed by Barry Skolnick, it stars Vinnie Jones.


This weekend saw Miramax hold sneak previews Saturday night of its R rated romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Directed by Michael Lehmann, it stars Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Miramax did not provide any details about the sneaks and other distribution executives said they had no sense of how the film’s sneaks went.

40 Days opens this Friday (Mar. 1) at 1,500-plus theaters.


On the expansion front this weekend Miramax’s R rated drama In the Bedroom, which received five Oscar nominations, widened quietly in its 14th week with an ESTIMATED $2.35 million (-11%) at 1,103 theaters (+101 theaters; $2,130 per theater. Its cume is approximately $26.3 million.

Directed by Todd Field, it stars Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl and Marisa Tomei.

Lions Gate Films’ R rated drama Monster’s Ball, which

received two Oscar nominations, expanded in its ninth week with an okay ESTIMATED $2.0 million (-27%) at 553 theaters (+80 theaters; $3,615 per theater). Its cume is approximately $10.7 million.

Directed by Marc Forster, it stars Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Heath Ledger and Peter Boyle.

Miramax’s R rated romantic comedy Italian for Beginners widened in its sixth week to a hopeful ESTIMATED $0.35 million at 56 theaters (+34 theaters; $6,160 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.1 million.

Directed by Lone Scherfig, it stars Anders Berthelsen.


Universal’s international division reported that A Beautiful Mind opened in 10 more countries this weekend, including the U.K., Spain and Argentina. The Universal/ DreamWorks co-production from Imagine Entertainment is being distributed internationally by UIP for DreamWorks. Universal is releasing the film domestically.

In the U.K. Mind opened with a platform release of 22 playdates, grossing $0.18 million for two days. The film expands to a wide release at approximately 300 theaters next week.

In Spain, Mind grossed $0.83 million on 200
playdates. It ranked second to Monsters, Inc. in its second weekend with $1.1 million on 300 playdates, and was ahead of the opening of Black Hawk Down with $0.45 million at 270 theaters.

In Argentina, Mind grossed $0.18 million on 50 playdates and ranked third, just behind Lord of the Rings with $0.19 million on 100 playdates.

In its second weekend in Brazil, Mind was second to the opening of Ocean’s Eleven. Mind grossed an estimated $0.37 on 175 playdates, bringing its cume for 9 days to $1.5 million.


Key films — those grossing more than $500,000 — took in approximately $106.11 million, up about 26.69 percent from last year when they totaled $83.75 million.

Key films for this three day weekend cannot be compared to the previous weekend of this year, which was a four day holiday weekend.

Last year, MGM’s third week of Hannibal was first with $15.77 million at 3,292 theaters ($4,789 per theater); and Paramount’s second week of Down to Earth was second with $11.21 million at 2,521 theaters ($4,447 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $27.0 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $27.7 million.