Weekend Box Office (June 27 - 29, 2003)

THIS WEEKEND The butt-kicking ladies of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle took over the number one spot at the North American box office during an overall sluggish session which also saw last week's champ The Hulk collapse with an incredible thud. Moviegoers sick of Hollywood's big-budget, heavily-hyped summer event films lined up for the modestly-priced British horror flick 28 Days Later which opened with strong results in moderate release. Pleasant weather across much of the country may have kept many consumers occupied with outdoor activities and away from theaters after several weeks of gloomy unsummerlike weekends. Overall, the top ten slumped to its lowest level in seven weeks with numerous films dropping 50% or more.

With an opening weekend take of $37.6M, according to final studio figures, Full Throttle topped the charts in its much-hyped debut. Reuniting Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and director McG, the PG-13 film averaged a solid $10,880 from an ultrawide 3,459 theaters. Though good enough for pole position, the bow failed to beat the $40.1M opening, and $13,213 average from 3,037 theaters, of the first Charlie's Angels from November 2000.

To be fair, the first weekend of November is a less competitive frame than late June so an event pic can truly dominate. However, given Full Throttle's bigger marketing campaign, more theaters, higher ticket prices, and added starpower of Demi Moore and Bernie Mac, most industry obervers had expected a more powerful launch. These days, numerous event sequels are given stronger marketing pushes and open higher than their predecessors like Rush Hour 2 (up 104% from the first), The Mummy Returns (up 57%), X2 (up 57%), 2 Fast 2 Furious (up 26%), MI2 (up 25%), and Austin Powers in Goldmember (up 33%).

With students out of school and the lucrative Independence Day holiday weekend on the horizon, Angels 2 could still manage to reach the $125.3M domestic gross of the first installment. A year ago, Sony unleashed its Adam Sandler comedy Mr. Deeds on this weekend and grossed a similar $37.2M on its way to $126.3M, despite a sophomore slide of 50%. Female-skewing films generally display slightly better holds than male-driven ones so those fans looking for glossy girlpower, but were too busy with other summer fun this weekend, may still come and catch Drew and her galpals in the coming weeks. The studio reported that Full Throttle attracted an audience that was 60% female, according to exit polls.

As opposed to domestic, the Angels sequel is easily outpacing the original in international markets as the stunt-driven actioner debuted at number one over the weekend in nine markets across Asia and Europe. In Japan, Full Throttle doubled the bow of the first one with $6.2M. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark all registered top spot launches while South Korea and Hong Kong saw runner-up premieres. A flood of additional markets get their Angels next weekend. The overall weekend estimate overseas was $13.2M and Sony hopes that worldwide sales will eventually reach the $264M of the first pic.

Suffering the worst second-weekend drop for a major film this year, Universal's comic book pic The Hulk fell to its knees tumbling 70% from its record bow to $18.8M. After ten days of release, the Ang Lee actioner did manage to cross the century mark finishing the frame with $100.6M. Poor to lukewarm word-of-mouth and a hardcore fan following that came out almost entirely on opening weekend are to blame for much of the decline. The Hulk carries a production budget of $137M, plus tens of millions more in marketing expenses, and should find its way to $130-140M in grosses from the North American market.

Angels and Hulk will have to work hard in order to keep their audiences during the coming week. With the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Friday, the next wave of releases will be unleashed on the public on Wednesday. MGM offers the Reese Witherspoon comedy sequel Legally Blonde 2 while DreamWorks counters with the animated adventure film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. invades over 3,400 theaters with its tentpole actioner T3: Rise of the Machines starring Arnold Schwarzenegger which gets a headstart on Tuesday night with previews beginning at 8pm.

Still going strong in its fifth weekend was the Disney/Pixar smash Finding Nemo which took in $14M for third place. The animated adventure continues to be one of the most durable titles as it became the first film released this year to gross more than $10M over five straight weekends. The last to do so was last December's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers which brought in $10.3M in its fifth frame on its way to $339.3M overall. Nemo has raised its cume to $254M putting the G-rated winner at number 24 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters right behind fellow Pixar sensation Monsters, Inc. which scared up $255.9M two years ago.

Opening impressively in fourth place was the British horror hit 28 Days Later which grossed $10.1M from only 1,260 theaters. Averaging a lethal $7,986, the R-rated virus thriller drew primarily from young males and benfitted from an aggressive (and inexpensive) underground marketing campaign including a heavy internet push. The $8M film was directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and after Bend It Like Beckham is the second 2002 number-one hit from the United Kingdom to be turned into a North American winner by Searchlight this year.

Universal's street racing sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious skidded 44% to $6.2M in its fourth lap to boost its cume to $114M. A cash prize of about $130M seems to be waiting at the finish line. The studio's Bruce Almighty followed with $6.2M as well pushing the blockbuster cume to $221.3M. The Jim Carrey hit now sits at number 37 on the all-time list after Rush Hour 2 which grabbed $226.1M in 2001. Bruce should find its way to $240-245M.

Paramount claimed the seventh and eighth slots with The Italian Job which held steady with $5.5M and Rugrats Go Wild which fell to an estimated $3.6M. The Mark Wahlberg heist pic slipped just 24%, lifted its total to $76.8M, and is headed for $95-100M. The animated kidpic tumbled 48% for a $31M sum with a final target of around $40M in sight.

Harrison Ford's action-comedy Hollywood Homicide continued to crumble losing nearly half of its audience with a weekend take of $3.1M in its third frame. With just $27.3M in the bank, the Sony release should finish with a disappointing $35M making it one of the lowest-grossing films of Ford's career. Warner Bros. rounded out the top ten with the romantic comedy Alex & Emma which fell a steep 57% in its second weekend to $2.6M. The Kate Hudson-Luke Wilson pic has collected only $11.5M in ten days and should finish with a measly $15-20M.

A pair of AOL Time Warner franchise flicks fell from the top ten over the weekend. The Matrix Reloaded dropped 35% to $2.6M in its seventh journey pushing its stellar cume to $269M. The Warner Bros. sequel sits at number 18 on the all-time domestic list ahead of Shrek which hauled in $267.7M in 2001. Reloaded, which cost more than $150M to produce, should finish its domestic run with roughly $275M (including Imax grosses) and has already taken in nearly $400M overseas. The final chapter in the trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions, is slated for a November 5 release.

New Line's comedy prequel Dumb and Dumberer has grossed $24.2M in 17 days but is fading fast. A final take of about $28M seems likely. Sony added 500 locations back into the run of Eddie Murphy's Daddy Day Care which should now be able to cross the $100M mark. The family comedy grossed $2.3M, up 117%, and lifted its total to $97.8M.

Sophomore From Justin To Kelly crashed an unbelievable 77% to $625,469 for a ten-day sum of $4.6M. Fox's $12M production should be wiped out of theaters very soon with not much more.

The top ten films grossed $107.7M which was down 14% from last year when Mr. Deeds debuted at number one with $37.2M; and also down 5% from 2001 when A.I. opened in the top spot with $29.4M.

Compared to projections, Charlie's Angels did not come close to my bullish forecast of $58M while 28 Days Later doubled my $5M prediction.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on upcoming Marvel Comics sequels. In last week's survey, readers were asked to predict the opening weekend gross of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Of 5,380 responses, 57% correctly guessed Under $50M, 26% picked $50-60M, and 17% thought Over $60M.

For a film review of The Hulk and a book review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend's holiday frame which will see the debuts of T3, Legally Blonde 2, and Sinbad.

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

# Title Jun 27 - 29 Jun 20 - 22 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle $ 37,634,221 3,459 1 $ 10,880 $ 37,634,221 Sony
2 The Hulk 18,847,620 62,128,420 -69.7 3,674 2 5,130 100,593,300 Universal
3 Finding Nemo 13,968,116 21,138,752 -33.9 3,333 5 4,191 253,991,677 Buena Vista
4 28 Days Later 10,061,858 1,260 1 7,986 10,061,858 Fox Searchlight
5 2 Fast 2 Furious 6,225,570 11,099,835 -43.9 2,817 4 2,210 113,996,055 Universal
6 Bruce Almighty 6,190,085 9,806,060 -36.9 2,651 6 2,335 221,329,795 Universal
7 The Italian Job 5,462,902 7,165,943 -23.8 2,021 5 2,703 76,758,011 Paramount
8 Rugrats Go Wild 3,639,293 6,942,766 -47.6 3,008 3 1,210 30,979,792 Paramount
9 Hollywood Homicide 3,061,550 5,930,260 -48.4 2,425 3 1,262 27,315,347 Sony
10 Alex & Emma 2,622,483 6,111,074 -57.1 2,310 2 1,135 11,539,947 Warner Bros.
11 The Matrix Reloaded 2,575,427 3,942,492 -34.7 1,488 7 1,731 268,979,763 Warner Bros.
12 Daddy Day Care 2,302,668 1,060,103 117.2 1,540 8 1,495 97,823,238 Sony
13 Dumb and Dumberer 1,665,283 4,357,873 -61.8 2,102 3 792 24,158,991 New Line
14 Whale Rider 977,791 602,332 62.3 163 4 5,999 2,303,543 Newmarket
15 X2: X-Men United 932,196 1,350,996 -31.0 1,150 9 811 211,317,905 Fox
16 Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon 672,891 60 1 11,215 672,891 Rajshri
17 From Justin To Kelly 625,469 2,715,848 -77.0 1,969 2 318 4,584,577 Fox
18 Bend It Like Beckham 566,929 740,573 -23.4 303 16 1,871 23,878,254 Fox Searchlight
19 Holes 419,413 231,283 81.3 400 11 1,049 64,886,550 Buena Vista
20 Winged Migration 348,597 370,535 -5.9 79 11 4,413 4,074,492 Sony Classics
Top 5 $ 86,737,385 $ 111,339,010 -22.1
Top 10 107,713,698 138,623,475 -22.3
Top 20 118,800,362 146,775,883 -19.1
Top 20 vs. 2002 118,800,362 138,813,925 -14.4

Last Updated : June 30, 2003 at 10:00PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya