Weekend Box Office (June 8 - 10, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Hollywood served up more of the same dishes and moviegoers said enough is enough and found their weekend entertainment elsewhere. The latest star-studded heist sequel Ocean's Thirteen managed to open at number one, but with the weakest debut of the franchise. Surf's Up, the second animated penguin movie in seven months, attracted a mild debut while the horror sequel Hostel Part II was butchered on its opening weekend. Overall, the marketplace generated the worst showing for the second weekend of June since 2003.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Al Pacino made off with the North American box office crown with Ocean's Thirteen which debuted on top with $36.1M, according to final studio figures. Averaging a solid $10,136 from 3,565 locations, the Warner Bros. release bowed a bit below the openings of the previous installments in the heist franchise. 2001's Ocean's Eleven debuted to $38.1M and a $12,393 average while its 2004 sequel premiered to $39.2M and a $11,901 average. Both opened in early December.

Thirteen's top spot debut marked the sixth consecutive weekend when a threequel ruled the charts. Given higher ticket prices, additional theaters, the more high-profile summer launch, and the publicity generated from the much-hyped world premiere at Cannes, Ocean's Thirteen was expected to open stronger by some in the industry. However, competition for adults was stronger with this chapter with holdovers Pirates and Knocked Up grossing a combined $41M. Plus the non-stop assault of sequels may have made some moviegoers sick of paying to see the same characters in the same situations again and again. Reviews were mostly upbeat for the PG-13 caper pic. Overseas, Ocean's Thirteen opened in 30 markets with top spot bows in nearly all of them grossing a combined $28M from 4,200 prints.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End tumbled another 52% in its third frame and dropped down to second place with $21.1M pushing its cume to $253.4M. Both previous Captain Jack films, 2003's The Curse of the Black Pearl and 2006's Dead Man's Chest, did better in their third weekends with $23.1M and $35.2M, respectively. The latest Disney pic now stands at number 38 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters after 2001's Monsters, Inc. which grossed $255.9M. At its current rate of decline, At World's End now has no guarantee of reaching the $300M mark which was always seen as an easy milestone before the film's release. As with the Spider-Man franchise, the third chapter should become the lowest-grossing installment in the series domestically.

But just like with the webslinger, international business is on fire for the latest Pirates which grossed an estimated $51.3M overseas this weekend, down 50%. That puts the overseas tally at $493.5M and the global gross at a colossal $747M.

Universal's hot comedy Knocked Up delivered a solid hold in its second weekend thanks to strong word-of-mouth. The R-rated pic collected $19.6M, off 36%, for a ten-day cume of $65.9M. By comparison, director Judd Apatow's last film The 40-Year-Old Virgin opened weaker and dipped only 24% to $16.3M in its second weekend for a total of $48.6M in its first ten days. Knocked Up is proving that a film that is good and original can attract a large paying audience and should go on to gross more than Ocean's Thirteen this summer despite having a smaller budget and no bankable stars. A final gross of about $120-130M could result for the pregnancy comedy quadrupling its $30M production cost.

The penguin toon Surf's Up opened in fourth place with a mediocre launch. Sony's big summer family pic took in $17.6M from an ultrawide 3,528 theaters for a decent $5,000 average. The PG-rated film tells of a young penguin who competes in a surfing competition and was made in a mockumentary style. The debut was weaker than last year's animated releases from the studio - Open Season ($23.6M) and Monster House ($22.2M). Surf's Up also bowed to less than half of the $41.5M that last November's penguin pic Happy Feet took in on its debut frame. Sony saw a six-week gap between the openings of the summer megatoons Shrek the Third and Pixar's Ratatouille and positioned its entry right in the middle.

Close behind in fifth was rival toon Shrek the Third with $15.3M in its fourth frame. Off a reasonable 45%, the Paramount release has grabbed $281.5M to date putting it at number 29 on the all-time domestic list. A final gross of around $320M seems likely. The latest ogre now stands as the second biggest DreamWorks film ever after Shrek 2 ($436.7M) and the third largest hit in Paramount history after Titanic ($600.8M) and Forrest Gump ($329.7M).

Yet another horror failure followed in sixth place. Lionsgate's Hostel Part II opened to $8.2M from 2,350 theaters for a weak $3,491 average. That was less than half of the $19.6M bow that the first Hostel generated in January 2006 on its way to a solid $47.3M domextic gross. The R-rated sequel once again examines the torture of American students in Slovakia, only with female victims this time. Part II even opened weaker than other recent horror sequels like 28 Weeks Later and The Hills Have Eyes II which both bowed to just under $10M each. With so many fright flicks flooding the multiplexes recently and moviegoers ignoring most of them, Lionsgate has to be a bit worried about getting genre fans back into theaters for the fourth consecutive Halloween with its Saw IV.

The Kevin Costner thriller Mr. Brooks fell 51% to $4.9M and placed seventh with a $18.6M total. Spider-Man 3 dropped 43% to $4.3M in its sixth mission giving Sony $325.6M to date. That keeps the third webslinger adventure at number 17 on the all-time domestic list just behind The Lion King's lifetime cume of $328.5M. A $335M final seems likely.

Enjoying the smallest decline in the top ten once again was Keri Russell's comedy Waitress which dipped only 21% to $1.6M pushing the cume to $12M for Fox Searchlight. Paramount's Disturbia rounded out the top ten with $523,504, down 53%, giving the thriller $77.8M to date.

The top ten films grossed $129.4M which was down 11% from last year when Cars opened at number one with $60.1M; and off 4% from 2005 when Mr. and Mrs. Smith debuted in the top spot with $50.3M.

Compared to projections, Ocean's Thirteen opened on target with my $37M forecast. Surf's Up and Hostel Part II both debuted below my respective predictions of $24M and $12M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Nancy Drew both open.

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# Title Jun 8 -10 Jun 1 - 3 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Ocean's Thirteen $ 36,133,403 3,565 1 $ 10,136 $ 36,133,403 Warner Bros.
2 Pirates of the Caribbean: AWE 21,143,905 44,206,660 -52.2 4,002 3 5,283 253,441,723 Buena Vista
3 Knocked Up 19,643,080 30,690,990 -36.0 2,876 2 6,830 65,867,020 Universal
4 Surf's Up 17,640,249 3,528 1 5,000 17,640,249 Sony
5 Shrek the Third 15,317,614 28,020,991 -45.3 3,925 4 3,903 281,460,065 Paramount
6 Hostel Part II 8,203,391 2,350 1 3,491 8,203,391 Lionsgate
7 Mr. Brooks 4,911,319 10,017,067 -51.0 2,453 2 2,002 18,593,620 MGM
8 Spider-Man 3 4,304,986 7,578,055 -43.2 2,570 6 1,675 325,585,149 Sony
9 Waitress 1,600,600 2,012,857 -20.5 707 6 2,264 11,967,049 Fox Searchlight
10 Disturbia 523,504 1,112,533 -52.9 568 9 922 77,768,967 Paramount
11 Gracie 514,057 1,355,904 -62.1 1,093 2 470 2,453,515 Picturehouse
12 Once 494,340 434,923 13.7 95 4 5,204 1,739,619 Fox Searchlight
13 Paris Je T'aime 441,235 401,789 9.8 136 6 3,244 2,067,126 First Look
14 Wild Hogs 428,028 879,839 -51.4 228 15 1,877 165,158,099 Buena Vista
15 28 Weeks Later 404,339 1,214,942 -66.7 437 5 925 27,624,093 Fox
16 Away From Her 301,136 425,481 -29.2 243 6 1,239 3,735,014 Lionsgate
17 300 244,225 263,242 -7.2 303 14 806 209,960,532 Warner Bros.
18 Are We Done Yet? 210,886 274,096 -23.1 287 10 735 48,968,665 Sony
19 Fracture 193,389 497,843 -61.2 307 8 630 38,467,642 New Line
20 La Vie En Rose 179,848 8 1 22,481 2,046,848 Picturehouse
Top 5 $ 109,878,251 $ 120,513,763 -8.8
Top 10 129,422,051 127,496,396 1.5
Top 20 132,833,534 131,948,114 0.7
Top 20 vs. 2006 132,833,534 150,323,646 -11.6

Last Updated: June 11, 2007 at 9:30PM ET

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