Weekend Box Office (May 11 - 13, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Peter Parker suffered a massive sophomore slide, but Spider-Man 3 still dominated the box office around the globe spending a second weekend at number one with no other film coming anywhere near its stellar numbers. Among the frame's four new releases, the zombie thriller 28 Weeks Later fared best with a decent bow in the runnerup spot while the Jane Fonda-Lindsay Lohan pic Georgia Rule was mostly ignored and opened with disastrous results. Two other new comedies Delta Farce and The Ex barely registered a blip on the radar.

Sony was still crushing its competitors this weekend with Spider-Man 3 which tumbled 62% to $58.2M in its second try in theaters according to final studio figures. After ten days, the PG-13 hit has amassed a stunning $240.2M from North America and is still running ahead of its two predecessors. Ten-day cumes for 2002's Spider-Man and 2004's Spider-Man 2 were $223M and $225M, respectively. However the new Venom installment is eroding faster as is often the case with the third part of a franchise. After the first three days, Spider-Man 3 was an impressive 32% ahead of the first webslinger pic which opened on the exact same weekend in 2002. After seven days the lead was cut to 20% and now after ten days the gap has been reduced to 8%.

For the weekend, Spider-Man 3 accounted for a stellar 62% of the box office for the top ten and grossed $17.1M on Friday (down 72% from its record-shattering opening day last week), $25M on Saturday (down 51% from last Saturday), and $16M on Sunday (down 60% from a week ago). The 62% second weekend drop is not uncommon for high-profile tentpole sequels with mammoth debuts. Some other sophomore drops include 53% for X2: X-Men United, 54% for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 63% for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and 67% for X-Men: The Last Stand.

Where is part 3 headed in the long run? It would make sense to look at other action films that kicked off the summer movie season on the first weekend of May. The shares of the total cume collected in the first ten days were 64% for last year's Mission: Impossible III, 69% for 2003's X2, and 71% for 2004's Van Helsing. Based on its trajectory and the competitive road ahead, Spider-Man 3 could be headed for a finish of about $340-360M domestically. That would make it the lowest-grossing Spidey film in North America, however the overseas markets are a different story.

Spider-Man 3 grossed an estimated $85.4M internationally this weekend to boost its overseas haul up to a mammoth $380M for a colossal global gross of $620M. Next weekend, the Sandman entry will surpass the international takes of $418M and $410M for the first two Spider-Man flicks to become the top performer of the franchise outside of North America. With the Spider-Man fan base already maxed out domestically, Sony made a strategic move to grow the brand around the world by hosting several star-studded international red carpet premieres and opening the film in most countries days ahead of the United States leading to a substantial increase in moviegoer excitement in all markets. Spider-Man 3 still stands a very good chance of becoming the biggest grossing film of the trilogy on a global scale with the North American shortfall being overshadowed by gains overseas. With a reported production budget of $258M, the super hero film should surpass the $900M mark worldwide this summer.

Flesh-eating zombies took control of second place this weekend as the horror sequel 28 Weeks Later opened with $9.8M representing a solid, but somewhat weaker-than-expected debut. The R-rated gorefest averaged a decent $4,258 from 2,303 playdates and delivered a gross almost equal to the $10.1M that 28 Days Later achieved in its opening frame in June 2003. That sleeper hit bowed in a thousand fewer locations with 1,260 theaters and scored a more potent $7,986 average. Adjust for four years of ticket price increases and Weeks generated an opening weekend average half that of Days. The new chapter earned very high praise from most critics, but being the fourteenth horror film of 2007 probably hurt its cause as many genre fans have overdosed on frightfests.

The star-driven chick flick Georgia Rule was dead on arrival at the box office debuting to $6.8M from 2,523 theaters for a flimsy $2,685 average. Directed by Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride), the R-rated film stars Lindsay Lohan as a rebellious teen left with her no-nonsense grandmother (Jane Fonda) for the summer. Felicity Huffman plays the alcoholic middle mom in the family. Georgia played more to the Fonda crowd than to the Lohan audience. Studio research from Universal showed that a whopping 81% of the turnout was female, 79% was white, and 70% was over the age of 30.

Georgia Rule imploded at the box office since it repelled its two main consumer groups. Older women pay attention to reviews and critics were brutal in reviewing the dramedy. And younger teen girls who track Lohan obsessively couldn't get in thanks to the harsh rating. The opening was less than half the amount that the studio saw earlier this year when it targeted the same audience with the same number of theaters with the Diane Keaton-Mandy Moore pic Because I Said So which bowed to $13.1M over Super Bowl weekend. The Fonda flick was released over the Mother's Day frame, but most daughters chose to give their moms the gift of not seeing Georgia Rule.

Paramount's hit teen thriller Disturbia enjoyed the best legs in the top ten dipping only 19% to $4.7M. Although in its fifth weekend, the Shia LaBeouf hit has the second largest theater count of any film and is playing in 3,106 locations that are still holding onto the durable thriller. Cume to date is $66.2M.

The military comedy Delta Farce bombed in its opening weekend grossing only $3.4M landing in fifth place. The PG-13 pic averaged a dismal $1,771 from 1,931 locations for Lionsgate. Reviews were understandably pitiful.

New Line's Anthony Hopkins-Ryan Gosling drama Fracture dipped only 20% to $3M in its fourth frame and upped its cume to $31M. The horror flick The Invisible dropped to seventh with $2.3M, down 29%, for a $15.7M total.

In eighth with $1.8M was the Disney animated hit Meet the Robinsons which fell 31% for a sturdy $94.3M cume. The 3D comedy will enjoy its status as the year's top-grossing toon for just one more week since Shrek the Third, which opens on Friday, could march past it after only one weekend in theaters. Nicolas Cage followed with his sci-fi flop Next which took in $1.7M, down 40%, for a total of $14.7M. Sliding only 23% in its third round was the action-comedy Hot Fuzz with $1.7M for Focus putting the sum at $19M.

Debuting with miserable results outside of the top ten was the Zach Braff-Amanda Peet comedy The Ex which opened to $1.4M from 1,009 locations for a pathetic $1,382 average. The PG-13 date flick was released by MGM and earned poor reviews. With The Ex, Hollywood has now seen a disturbing twelve wide releases over the last eight weeks fail to open to at least $5M .Numerous movies with little to offer paying moviegoers are being slaughtered in an overcrowded marketplace.

Three star-driven vehicles dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Will Ferrell's blockbuster comedy Blades of Glory grossed $1.5M in its seventh lap and boosted its cume to $113.9M. Off 40%, the $60M-plus DreamWorks/Paramount pic looks to skate to a $116-118M finish. Ice Cube's comedy sequel Are We Done Yet? fell 46% to $940,504 giving Sony $47.3M to date. The family film looks to end with just under $50M putting it 40% behind its predecessor Are We There Yet? which pulled in $82.3M two years ago. Warner Bros. has collected a measly $4.8M in ten days for its Eric Bana-Drew Barrymore poker pic Lucky You and will probably fold with an embarrassing $7M.

Arthouse darling Waitress starring Keri Russell expanded successfully in its second weekend serving up $656,988 from 65 sites for a solid $10,108 average. Fox Searchlight widened the acclaimed film from just four locations last weekend and pushed its cume to $808,932. A special Mother's Day gift bag promotion across the country is expected to strengthen Sunday sales. This Friday, the comedy expands in its existing markets adding 57 theaters and on May 25 it will widen to 400-500 total theaters nationwide for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The top ten films grossed $93.4M which was up 16% from last year when Mission: Impossible III stayed at number one with $25M; and up a scant 3% from 2005 when Monster-in-Law debuted on top with just $23.1M.

Compared to projections, both 28 Weeks Later and Georgia Rule opened below my forecast of $13M for each. Delta Farce was on target with my $4M prediction while The Ex debuted below my $3M projection.

For a NEW review of Georgia Rule visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Shrek the Third arrives to claim its crown.

Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines

# Title May 11 - 13 May 4 - 6 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Spider-Man 3 $ 58,166,256 $ 151,116,516 -61.5 4,252 2 $ 13,680 $ 240,236,828 Sony
2 28 Weeks Later 9,807,292 2,303 1 4,258 9,807,292 Fox
3 Georgia Rule 6,773,870 2,523 1 2,685 6,773,870 Universal
4 Disturbia 4,732,839 5,844,363 -19.0 3,106 5 1,524 66,220,865 Paramount
5 Delta Farce 3,420,645 1,931 1 1,771 3,420,645 Lionsgate
6 Fracture 2,953,145 3,696,060 -20.1 2,202 4 1,341 31,032,946 New Line
7 The Invisible 2,315,286 3,261,374 -29.0 1,943 3 1,192 15,659,122 Buena Vista
8 Meet the Robinsons 1,802,543 2,619,654 -31.2 1,640 7 1,099 94,296,510 Buena Vista
9 Next 1,738,056 2,892,335 -39.9 2,017 3 862 14,738,075 Paramount
10 Hot Fuzz 1,716,670 2,219,346 -22.6 1,240 4 1,384 18,991,668 Focus
11 Blades of Glory 1,450,594 2,409,106 -39.8 1,436 7 1,010 113,874,366 Paramount
12 The Ex 1,394,229 1,009 1 1,382 1,394,229 MGM
13 Lucky You 1,195,342 2,710,445 -55.9 2,525 2 473 4,818,316 Warner Bros.
14 Are We Done Yet? 940,504 1,744,619 -46.1 1,010 6 931 47,342,077 Sony
15 Vacancy 817,962 1,546,033 -47.1 906 4 903 17,894,639 Sony
16 Wild Hogs 701,479 909,524 -22.9 717 11 978 161,049,135 Buena Vista
17 Waitress 656,988 92,034 613.9 65 2 10,108 808,932 Fox Searchlight
18 The Namesake 418,003 486,033 -14.0 271 10 1,542 12,070,226 Fox Searchlight
19 Black Book 370,351 430,815 -14.0 192 6 1,929 2,282,722 Sony Classics
20 Perfect Stranger 322,969 575,757 -43.9 346 5 933 23,380,738 Sony
Top 5 $ 82,900,902 $ 166,810,648 -50.3
Top 10 93,426,602 178,513,818 -47.7
Top 20 101,695,023 186,059,010 -45.3
Top 20 vs. 2006 101,695,023 94,604,219 7.5

Last Updated: May 15, 2007 at 1:30AM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.