Weekend Box Office (June 23 - 25, 2006)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Moviegoers grabbed their remote controls and flocked to the multiplexes to see Adam Sandler's latest comedy Click which became the comedian's eighth number one hit thanks to its $40M opening, according to final studio figures. Sony launched the PG-13 film in 3,749 theaters and averaged a healthy $10,673 per location. It was the second best opening of the year for a live-action comedy after the $40.2M bow of Scary Movie 4 in April. With this latest film, the funnyman has become the only actor to score $30M+ openings in each of the last five years proving what a consistent box office draw he continues to be. A-listers like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Jim Carrey cannot claim the same feat.

In Sandler's latest vehicle, he plays a man who gets a magical remote control that gives him power over all others around him. Frank Coraci, who directed the comedian's 1998 hits The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, helmed this latest pic which co-starred Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, and David Hasselhoff. Sony's $83M production played to a broad audience. According to studio research, 51% of the crowd was female and 50% were under 25. Sandler has always been a strong draw with young guys, but with his role as a husband and father in Click, the actor was able to appeal evenly across the board to all four quadrants.

Reviews were poor, as expected, but audiences didn't seem to care. Click is a marketing-driven film and starpower and concept sold it to those looking for some harmless summer laughs. The opening was right in the middle of the $37-43M range that five of Sandler's previous comedies have debuted in. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, Click could very well go on to become the star's seventh $100M blockbuster.

Following its two-week run in the top spot, the animated comedy Cars slipped to second place but displayed solid staying power. The G-rated film eased only 31% to $23.3M pushing the 17-day total to $156.7M. The decline was smaller than the third-weekend drops experienced by the most recent Disney/Pixar films The Incredibles (47% in November 2004) and Finding Nemo (39% in June 2003). Despite opening weaker, Cars is now holding up better and continues to benefit from word-of-mouth from family audiences. After 17 days of release, Cars is running 12% behind the pace of Incredibles and 18% behind Nemo. Competition for kids from Superman and Pirates in the weeks ahead will be fierce, but the racing toon could still drive to a final domestic haul of over $240M making it bigger than any other film released up to this point in the year.

After a stellar opening, the Jack Black comedy Nacho Libre stumbled 55% and placed third with $12.7M. Paramount has grossed a solid $53.2M in ten days and is heading for the $70-80M range. Nacho cost $35M to produce.

Slamming on the brakes, the action sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift suffered the worst decline in the top ten crashing 59% to $9.8M in its sophomore frame. With $43.1M in its tank, Universal's $75M franchise pic has been performing exactly like another of the studio's recent June action sequels - 2004's Vin Diesel pic The Chronicles of Riddick. That film opened to a similar $24.3M, dropped 61% in the second frame, and generated a ten-day cume of $42.5M before finishing with $57.6M. Tokyo Drift should cross the finish line near the $60M mark as well.

The franchise's last installment, 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious, performed in a similar way tumbling 63% in its second lap so Drift's huge drop was expected. Overseas, the latest street racing pic remained at number one in the United Kingdom for a second straight weekend and pushed its international gross to $15.6M from a dozen countries. The studio projected number one openings this weekend in Indonesia, Finland, Portugal, Romania, and Trinidad. Japan, expected to be a big market for Tokyo Drift, does not open until September 18.

Tyrese Gibson flexed some muscle with his new actioner Waist Deep which opened impressively in fifth with $9.4M from just 1,004 theaters. The Focus Features release averaged a sizzling $9,367 per location. Reviews for the kidnapping drama were mostly negative, but audiences responded to the starpower and the action.

The Keanu Reeves-Sandra Bullock romance The Lake House enjoyed a good second date grossing $8.8M dropping 35%. After ten days, the Warner Bros. drama has taken in $29.8M and looks headed for the neighborhood of $60-65M. Lake bowed at number two in the U.K. this weekend with an estimated $1.5M from 343 locations. The film's international roll-out will be spread out over the coming months.

Holding up well in seventh place was another film targeting adult women, The Break-Up starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. The Universal release grossed $6.6M, off only 33%, for a $104.2M cume. The unromantic comedy became the seventh film of 2006 to cross the $100M mark. Eight films had joined the century club at this point last year.

Fox's kidpic sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties dropped just 29% in its second weekend and collected $5.2M. With a mere $16.5M in ten days, the PG-rated film looks to reach a disappointing $30-35M domestically or less than half of the $75.4M of its 2004 predecessor.

The year's two highest-grossing films rounded out the top ten. Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand took in $4.8M, down 38%, pushing its cume to $224.5M. The Da Vinci Code grossed $4.1M, off only 23%, giving Sony $205.6M to date. Collectively, the top five summer films have grossed $863M trailing last summer's corresponding blockbusters by 5% at this same point in the season.

Two summer hits fell from the top ten over the weekend. Paramount's release of the DreamWorks animated film Over the Hedge grabbed $2.9M this weekend. Off 33%, the PG-rated toon boosted its total to $144.7M and should reach around $152M by the end of its run. Fox's remake of The Omen has had no legs and tumbled another 60% to $2.3M this weekend. The $25M film has scared up a solid $52.1M and looks to end with about $55M.

Debuting in limited release, the docudrama The Road to Guantanamo opened to $61,138 from 15 theaters for a mediocre $4,076 average. The Roadside Attractions release tells the story of a group of Pakistani men from England who are captured and taken prisoner by the American military.

Paramount Vantage kept expanding its global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which widened from 403 to 514 theaters this weekend and grossed $2M. Averaging a decent $3,923 per site, the Al Gore pic has upped its sum to $9.6M and counting. Further expansions are planned for the coming weeks.

IFC Films expanded its crossword puzzle doc Wordplay from two to 45 theaters down and across the country. The film collected $325,245 for a robust $7,228 average pushing the cume to $376,725.

The top ten films grossed $124.7M which was up 10% from last year when Batman Begins remained at number one with $27.6M; but down 3% from 2004 when Fahrenheit 9/11 opened in the top spot with $23.9M.

Compared to projections, Click opened a couple of notches below my $43M forecast while Waist Deep debuted stronger than my $6M prediction.

For NEW reviews of Superman Returns, Waist Deep, and The Road to Guantanamo visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday for a special early weekend preview for next weekend when Superman Returns and The Devil Wears Prada both open nationally.

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

# Title Jun 23 - 25 Jun 16 - 18 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Click $ 40,011,365 3,749 1 $ 10,673 $ 40,011,365 Sony
2 Cars 23,285,367 33,731,634 -31.0 3,949 3 5,897 156,664,916 Buena Vista
3 Nacho Libre 12,699,864 28,309,599 -55.1 3,083 2 4,119 53,221,306 Paramount
4 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift 9,801,835 23,973,840 -59.1 3,030 2 3,235 43,144,240 Universal
5 Waist Deep 9,404,180 1,004 1 9,367 9,404,180 Focus
6 The Lake House 8,832,259 13,616,196 -35.1 2,645 2 3,339 29,774,472 Warner Bros.
7 The Break-Up 6,596,625 9,831,145 -32.9 2,906 4 2,270 104,235,420 Universal
8 Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties 5,209,818 7,288,977 -28.5 2,981 2 1,748 16,483,101 Fox
9 X-Men: The Last Stand 4,841,950 7,820,253 -38.1 2,408 5 2,011 224,506,162 Fox
10 The Da Vinci Code 4,050,844 5,266,560 -23.1 1,911 6 2,120 205,589,742 Sony
11 Over the Hedge 2,889,574 4,339,015 -33.4 2,007 6 1,440 144,651,903 Paramount
12 A Prairie Home Companion 2,300,426 2,846,704 -19.2 752 3 3,059 12,575,667 Picturehouse
13 The Omen 2,256,627 5,640,849 -60.0 2,107 3 1,071 52,137,199 Fox
14 An Inconvenient Truth 2,016,408 1,911,747 5.5 514 5 3,923 9,630,014 Par. Vantage
15 Mission: Impossible III 719,349 1,342,803 -46.4 552 8 1,303 131,525,369 Paramount
16 Krrish 643,000 59 1 10,898 643,000 Adlabs
17 Poseidon 427,467 633,288 -32.5 337 7 1,268 57,325,847 Warner Bros.
18 RV 380,777 603,441 -36.9 385 9 989 67,233,597 Sony
19 Ice Age: The Meltdown 367,496 361,739 1.6 342 13 1,075 193,418,469 Fox
20 Scary Movie 4 352,632 75,053 369.8 555 11 635 89,628,856 Weinstein Co.
Top 5 $ 95,202,611 $ 109,462,414 -13.0
Top 10 124,734,107 139,818,068 -10.8
Top 20 137,087,863 148,839,647 -7.9
Top 20 vs. 2005 137,087,863 123,406,386 11.1

Last Updated : June 26, 2006 at 6:45PM EDT

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