Weekend Box Office (February 29 - March 2, 2008)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND Will Ferrell scored another number one hit but attracted smaller-than-expected crowds to his new basketball comedy Semi-Pro leading the North American box office to slump to its worst showing in three months. Opening in semi-national release, the period romance The Other Boleyn Girl performed well but the comedy Penelope stumbled and barely made the top ten.
Ferrell's latest attempt to mine laughs out of sports came in the form of Semi-Pro which opened atop the charts this weekend to $15.1M. The New Line release averaged a decent $4,830 from 3,121 sites but did not match the numbers of the funnyman's other recent debuts like Blades of Glory ($33M), Talladega Nights ($47M), and Anchorman ($28.4M). Those were all rated PG-13 allowing the comedian's teen fans to buy tickets while Semi-Pro carried the more restrictive R which most likely affected ticket sales. It was the lowest gross for a number one film since Jodie Foster's The Brave One which debuted to $13.5M last September.
Sony's hit assassination thriller Vantage Point fell to second place but enjoyed a good hold dropping 44% to $12.8M. The ensemble actioner has banked a terrific $40.8M in ten days and has benefited from a highly effective marketing push by the studio. Look for a domestic final of $70-75M.
Holding up even better was the fantasy adventure The Spiderwick Chronicles with $8.7M. The Paramount pic slipped only 34% and is taking advantage of a marketplace lacking other options for families. Cume is $55M.
Sony scored a solid debut for its period drama The Other Boleyn Girl which bowed to $8.2M from only 1,166 locations for an impressive $7,035 average. It was the best per-theater performance of any film in the Top 20. Starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana, the PG-13 film played overwhelmingly to young women. Studio research indicated that the audience was 72% female and 66% under 35. Reviews were not very positive.
Jumper jumped down to fifth dropping 40% to $7.6M giving Fox $66.8M to date. Buena Vista's urban dance pic Step Up 2 The Streets followed with $5.7M, off 40%, for a $48.6M cume. The Matthew McConaughey-Kate Hudson reunion pic Fool's Gold grossed $4.4M, down only 33%, and raised its sum to $58.8M for Warner Bros.
Oscar king No Country For Old Men expanded from 1,101 to 2,037 sites to capitalize on its Academy Award attention and climbed back into the top ten with $4.1M. Miramax has grossed $69.7M to date and should be headed past the $80M mark domestically. Summit debuted its Christina Ricci pic Penelope in 1,196 locations to $3.8M and averaged a mild $3,179. The PG-rated film appealed to a more female audience and saw direct competition from the solid launch of Boleyn. Reviews were mixed. Definitely, Maybe followed with $3.4M, down 35%, for a $26.7M sum.
Academy Award winner Juno placed eleventh with $3.3M, down just 21%, and upped its total to $135M. Fox Searchlight's indie sensation jumped up to number 16 on the list of top-grossing 2007 releases surpassing its parent studio's expensive summer action sequels Live Free or Die Hard and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Ellen Page's Juno is also the highest-grossing female-led film since 2002's Academy Award-winning musical Chicago which was headlined by Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee Zellweger.
The top ten films grossed $73.8M which was down a troubling 28% from last year when Wild Hogs opened at number one with $39.7M; and off 5% from 2006 when Madea's Family Reunion remained in the top spot with $12.6M in its second weekend.
For NEW reviews of The Other Boleyn Girl and the Beowulf DVD visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when 10,000 B.C., College Road Trip, and The Bank Job all open.
Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:
|#||Title||Feb 29 - Mar 2||Feb 22 - 24||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Semi-Pro||$ 15,075,114||3,121||1||$ 4,830||$ 15,075,114||New Line|
|3||The Spiderwick Chronicles||8,700,378||13,100,192||-33.6||3,654||3||2,381||55,028,942||Paramount|
|4||The Other Boleyn Girl||8,203,061||1,166||1||7,035||8,203,061||Sony|
|6||Step Up 2 The Streets||5,742,479||9,605,703||-40.2||2,528||3||2,272||48,621,711||Buena Vista|
|7||Fool's Gold||4,418,229||6,554,284||-32.6||2,845||4||1,553||58,800,790||Warner Bros.|
|8||No Country For Old Men||4,114,994||2,404,682||71.1||2,037||17||2,020||69,680,625||Miramax|
|12||Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins||2,646,570||4,158,700||-36.4||1,393||4||1,900||39,128,395||Universal|
|13||Be Kind Rewind||2,089,157||4,050,655||-48.4||810||2||2,579||7,123,561||New Line|
|14||The Bucket List||1,693,430||2,511,368||-32.6||1,565||10||1,082||87,604,043||Warner Bros.|
|15||There Will Be Blood||1,547,177||2,687,229||-42.4||1,248||10||1,240||37,572,245||Par. Vantage|
|17||Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus||948,075||1,591,644||-40.4||531||5||1,785||63,167,101||Buena Vista|
|Top 5||$ 52,366,260||$ 64,843,883||-19.2|
|Top 20 vs. 2007||89,463,866||117,691,293||-24.0|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: March 3, 2008 at 10:45PM ET
Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.