Weekend Box Office (April 18 - 20, 2008)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND Audiences were fired up for the first-ever showdown between martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li as their new fantasy actioner The Forbidden Kingdom opened at number one at theaters across North America. Those in search of laughs powered the starless breakup comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall into second place with a strong debut of its own. Targeting different audiences, the one-two punch was enough to propel the overall box office ahead of last year's levels by a respectable margin.
Lionsgate scored its first top spot debut of the year with Kingdom which grossed $21.4M from 3,151 theaters over the weekend, according to final studio figures. The PG-13 adventure film averaged a solid $6,792 per location and saw much of its support from young male audiences and fans of martial arts movies. In the film, an American teen mysteriously travels back to ancient China and embarks on a quest to free the famed Monkey King. Chan and Li, who each got to play a double role, provided the starpower to pull in paying audiences. Reviews were mixed.
Opening in second place with a solid debut of its own was the raunchy relationship comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall which grossed $17.7M from 2,798 theaters. The R-rated pic about a man coping with being dumped by his celebrity girlfriend averaged a commendable $6,335 and played best to adult women. The Sarah bow was below what producer Judd Apatow has seen in the past with his R-rated summer comedies The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($21.4M), Knocked Up ($30.7M), and Superbad ($33.1M). However, it was stronger than the debuts of his latest offerings Walk Hard ($4.2M) and Drillbit Taylor ($10.3M). Since the surprise success of Virgin in 2005, studios have used Apatow's name and resume to market anything he remotely has been involved in.
Sony claimed three of the next four slots. Last weekend's number one film Prom Night crumbled by 58% to $8.7M and pushed its ten-day tally to $32.1M. A $45M final seems likely.
The Al Pacino crime drama 88 Minutes was rejected by moviegoers and collected only $7M in its opening weekend. The Sony release averaged a mild $3,209 from 2,168 locations and was panned by critics from coast to coast. The R-rated pic opened in numerous other countries around the world last year and was finally dumped into the late spring graveyard in the North American market.
The kid adventure Nim's Island grossed $5.7M, off 38%, giving Fox $32.9M to date. Sony's blackjack hit 21 followed dropping 47% to sixth place with $5.5M and upped its cume to $70M.
The Keanu Reeves cop thriller Street Kings tumbled in its second weekend falling 67% to $4.2M. With $20.1M in ten days, look for Fox Searchlight to finish with $25-27M. Toon smash Horton Hears a Who declined by just 41% to $3.5M leaving the year's top film with $144.4M. Next was was the George Clooney flop Leatherheads with $3M, down 51%, for a total of $26.6M.
Ben Stein's new documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was a surprise face in the top ten popping into the ten spot with $3M. Averaging a mild $2,824 from 1,052 locations, the PG-rated film about creationism was aimed at Christian audiences by distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures. Expelled was the only film in the top ten to see Saturday sales drop from Friday so a long life in theaters is not likely.
The top ten films grossed $79.7M which was up 16% from last year when Disturbia retained the top spot with $13M in its second weekend; but down 16% from 2006 when Silent Hill debuted at number one with $20.2M.
Compared to projections, The Forbidden Kingdom opened a few notches above my $17M forecast while Forgetting Sarah Marshall was very close to my $16M prediction. 88 Minutes also debuted close to my $8M projection.
For NEW reviews of The Forbidden Kingdom and Forgetting Sarah Marshall visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Baby Mama, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, and Deception all open.
Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:
|#||Title||Apr 18 - 20||Apr 11 - 13||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||The Forbidden Kingdom||$ 21,401,121||3,151||1||$ 6,792||$ 21,401,121||Lionsgate|
|2||Forgetting Sarah Marshall||17,725,330||2,798||1||6,335||17,725,330||Universal|
|7||Street Kings||4,179,505||12,469,631||-66.5||2,469||2||1,693||20,058,143||Fox Searchlight|
|8||Horton Hears A Who||3,511,834||5,920,566||-40.7||2,670||6||1,315||144,418,495||Fox|
|10||Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed||2,970,848||1,052||1||2,824||2,970,848||Rocky Mountain|
|15||Meet the Browns||700,271||1,555,182||-55.0||675||5||1,037||41,159,982||Lionsgate|
|16||10,000 B.C.||603,380||1,478,374||-59.2||855||7||706||92,826,810||Warner Bros.|
|17||Under the Same Moon||585,132||953,266||-38.6||454||5||1,289||11,187,306||Weinstein Co.|
|18||Shine A Light||567,933||960,469||-40.9||220||3||2,582||3,755,976||Par. Classics|
|19||The Bank Job||412,851||992,188||-58.4||473||7||873||29,206,841||Lionsgate|
|20||College Road Trip||406,528||865,026||-53.0||650||7||625||42,918,585||Buena Vista|
|Top 5||$ 60,441,103||$ 59,133,077||2.2|
|Top 20 vs. 2007||88,262,224||82,872,434||6.5|
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: April 21, 2008 at 10:00PM ET
Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.