Weekend Box Office (January 9 - 11, 2004)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND Final grosses released on Monday reversed the positions of the top two estimated films and saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King remain at number one for the fourth consecutive frame while Big Fish expanded nationally and took second. Sony's weekend estimate for Fish ended up being $689,000 too high while King advanced by $84,000 beyond New Line's weekend estimate.
With a weekend take of $14.2M, according to final studio figures, The Return of the King dropped 50% from last weekend, but managed to shoot its cume up to a staggering $312.3M. The trilogy ender blasted through the $300M mark on Friday, its 24th day of release and became the second fastest movie in box office history to reach that milestone trailing just Spider-Man which accomplished the feat in 22 days in May 2002. King now sits at number 13 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters between The Fellowship of the Ring ($314.2M including the recent re-release) and Star Wars Episode II ($310.7M including the Imax run). After 26 days of play, The Return of the King is still running 10% ahead of The Two Towers which had grossed $283.4M by the same point a year ago.
Collecting $13.8M in ticket sales, Sony's Big Fish successfully widened into national play after four robust weeks in limited release. The PG-13 film averaged a solid $5,740 from 2,406 playdates and brought its overall cume to $23.4M. Nominated for four Golden Globes, Big Fish stars Ewan McGregor as a young man who lives out the tall tales told by his older self played by Globe nominee Albert Finney. The $70M film skewed towards adult women with 55% of the audience being female and 65% under the age of 30, according to studio research.
Crossing the century mark in its 18th day of release was the Steve Martin family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen which dropped to third place with $11.8M. Down 46%, the Fox hit has now grossed $101.1M. Miramax's Cold Mountain followed in fourth with $7.9M, off 32%, for a $55.3M sum. Slipping 34% was Sony's Something's Gotta Give which took in $7.7M in its fifth frame raising the cume to $92.5M.
Opening in sixth place with a respectable sum of $7.5M was the parenting comedy My Baby's Daddy starring Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson, and Michael Imperioli. The Miramax pic about three men forced to become fathers after their girlfriends get pregnant averaged a solid $5,217 from only 1,447 theaters.
Pop singer Mandy Moore suffered her second flop in six months with the teen tale Chasing Liberty which bowed in seventh with only $6.1M. Playing wide in 2,400 theaters, the Warner Bros. release averaged a pitiful $2,534 per location and failed to attract a sizable crowd of young females. Moore's last film, July's How to Deal, debuted to just $5.8M before sputtering to just $14.1M.
The Ben Affleck sctioner Paycheck tumbled 48% to $5.1M giving the Paramount release $46.4M to date. Off a moderate 38% was The Last Samurai with $4.6M for a $97.2M total. Taking in $4.4M, but down 47%, was Sony's Mona Lisa Smile which lifted its sum to $56.9M.
Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Universal's fairy tale pic Peter Pan plunged 53% to $4.2M leading to a $40M total. The $100M film should find its way to a lukewarm $50M. Buena Vista's Calendar Girls slipped just 16% to $3.7M and a $12.4M cume. With the holiday season now gone, Bad Santa crumbled by two-thirds to $1M giving the Miramax title $58.6M. The Billy Bob Thornton comedy should end with about $60M.
The top ten films grossed $83.1M which was up just 1% from last year when Just Married opened at number one with $17.5M; and even with 2001 when The Fellowship of the Ring stayed on top for the fourth straight frame with $16.2M.
Compared to projections, Big Fish was very close to my $15M forecast. My Baby's Daddy was somewhat close to my $6M prediction while Chasing Liberty opened with about half of my $11M projection.
Be sure to read the NEW Studio Spotlight 2003 story which features a full wrapup of last year's box office news.
Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the opening weekend of Torque. In last week's survey, readers were asked which film would be number one this weekend. Of 1,200 responses, 78% selected The Return of the King, 17% picked Big Fish, 2.5% said Cheaper by the Dozen, while 1% each voted for Chasing Liberty and My Baby's Daddy.
For a review of Cheaper by the Dozen, visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Torque, Along Came Polly, and Teacher's Pet all open.
Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines
|#||Title||Jan. 9 - 11||Jan. 2 - 4||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||LOTR: The Return of the King||$ 14,209,098||$ 28,180,378||-49.6||3,532||4||$ 4,023||$ 312,320,936||New Line|
|3||Cheaper by the Dozen||11,751,349||21,644,537||-45.7||3,238||3||3,629||101,147,842||Fox|
|5||Something's Gotta Give||7,727,359||11,705,123||-34.0||2,876||5||2,687||92,515,314||Sony|
|6||My Baby's Daddy||7,548,819||1,447||1||5,217||7,548,819||Miramax|
|7||Chasing Liberty||6,081,483||2,400||1||2,534||6,081,483||Warner Bros.|
|9||The Last Samurai||4,550,419||7,373,719||-38.3||1,901||6||2,394||97,181,327||Warner Bros.|
|10||Mona Lisa Smile||4,383,072||8,300,794||-47.2||2,500||4||1,753||56,883,304||Sony|
|12||Calendar Girls||3,738,160||4,437,082||-15.8||957||4||3,906||12,427,655||Buena Vista|
|13||House of Sand and Fog||1,420,267||1,788,293||-20.6||596||4||2,383||7,476,800||DreamWorks|
|15||Stuck on You||1,021,673||2,802,420||-63.5||1,350||5||757||32,524,827||Fox|
|17||The Haunted Mansion||933,671||2,506,251||-62.7||931||7||1,003||71,750,420||Buena Vista|
|18||In America||914,429||1,229,445||-25.6||305||7||2,998||6,637,216||Fox Searchlight|
|20||Lost in Translation||747,470||499,543||49.6||342||18||2,186||32,520,705||Focus|
|Top 5||$ 55,380,726||$ 82,947,098||-33.2|
|Top 20 vs. 2003||99,152,613||103,341,654||-4.1|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Data source: Exhibitor Relations, EDI. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : January 12, 2004 at 6:00PM EST
Gitesh Pandya can be seen each Friday on "The Biz" airing at 12:30pm and 9:30pm ET on CNNfn.