Weekend Box Office (July 3 - 5, 2009)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The Independence Day holiday frame saw a close race for first place between two summer sequels but final grosses showed that Paramount's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen edged out Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs over the Friday-to-Sunday span. Universal's gangster drama Public Enemies opened in third with strong results as studios provided many different moviegoing options which ticket buyers were excited to see.

The robots of Transformers dropped a steep 61% to $42.3M, according to final studio figures, in the second weekend giving Paramount an eye-popping $293.4M total after just 12 days. That puts Michael Bay's tentpole pic at number 31 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list right behind 1999's The Sixth Sense. Ticket prices, of course, were much lower a decade ago when Haley Joel Osment was seeing dead people. Fallen also flew past Pixar's Up to become this year's largest grosser and will top the $300M mark on Monday or Tuesday.

Saturday's Fourth of July holiday hit Transformers and all movies hard since outdoor activities take people away from the multiplexes. With Friday being a day off for most people, ticket sales for the top ten surged to $63M. Saturday fell a sharp 36% to $40M while Sunday bounced back with a 23% jump to $50M. Compared to the Optimus Prime pic's daily grosses from last weekend, Friday dropped 51%, Saturday tumbled 73%, and Sunday is estimated to fall by 57%. Revenge of the Fallen could find its way to a jaw-dropping domestic final of $380-390M.

Fox reported a $41.7M Friday-to-Sunday tally for its new 3D animated picture Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs with a healthy $66.7M in ticket sales since opening on Wednesday. The PG-rated film averaged $10,171 from 4,099 sites over the three-day weekend period. Despite three years of ticket price increases and extra surcharges theaters are collecting for the 3D presentation, the toon basically needed five days to gross a bit less than what its predecessor Ice Age: The Meltdown did in its first three days. That film bowed in March 2006 with $68M from 3,964 theaters on its way to $195.3M. Pixar's 3D flick Up grossed a similar $68.1M in its first three days.

Mature audiences spent some cash too this holiday weekend. Johnny Depp's gangster drama Public Enemies attracted a solid turnout opening in third place with $25.3M over the weekend and $40.1M over the five days since its Wednesday launch. The Universal release averaged a strong $7,580 from 3,334 locations over the weekend. The performance was on par with past R-rated star-driven summer dramas from director Michael Mann. Collateral bowed to $24.7M in 2004 while 2006's Miami Vice opened to $25.7M. Both launched on a Friday so comparisons are not exact. Final grosses for those two reached $100M and $63.5M, respectively.

Co-starring Christian Bale, Enemies earned good but not stellar reviews from critics. With so many films playing to kids and teens at the moment, the studio connected with older adults looking for serious fare over the holiday weekend. Men made up 53% of the audience while the CinemaScore grade was a so-so B.

Two comedies aimed at adult audiences followed with the best holds in the top ten. The Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds pic The Proposal dipped only 31% to $12.9M boosting the 17-day tally to $94.3M. The Hangover broke the $200M mark over the weekend. The raunchy comedy collected $11.3M, off only 34%, pushing its total to $205M.

Pixar's Up upped its total to a sensational $264.8M following its $6.5M take in its sixth frame. With Ice Age marching into multiplexes and stealing away 3D screens, the flying house flick lost 831 playdates but dropped a reasonable 50%. The film became the second biggest hit ever for the animation leader and trails only Finding Nemo which banked $339.7M in 2003. Up also rose to number 40 on the all-time blockbusters list ranking just behind Shrek which grossed $267.7M in 2001.

The Cameron Diaz-Abigail Breslin tearjerker My Sister's Keeper fell 54% in its second weekend to $5.8M for seventh place. The Warner Bros. release has grossed $26.5M in ten days and could find its way to a decent $40M. Sony's hostage thriller The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 fell 54% to $2.5M lifting the cume to $58.5M.

Two comedies dabbling with history rounded out the top ten. Sony's Year One tumbled 61% to $2.3M and has taken in $38.3M to date while Fox's Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian dropped 44% to $2M for a $167.7M cume.

The top ten films grossed $152.6M which was up 2% from last year when Hancock opened in the top spot with $62.6M ($103.9M in 5 days); but down 5% from 2007 when Transformers debuted at number one with $70.5M ($155.4M over 6.5 days).

Compared to projections, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opened a few notches below my five-day forecast of $72M while Public Enemies was on target with my five-day prediction of $41M.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

View the UPDATED box office charts for the Top Films of 2009 and the Top 50 Blockbusters of All-Time.

For a NEW review of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and a NEW DVD review of Inkheart visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when the comedies Brüno and I Love You, Beth Cooper both open.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Jul 3 - 5 Jun 26 - 28 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Transformers: ROTF $ 42,320,877 $ 108,966,307 -61.2 4,234 2 $ 9,995 $ 293,355,885 Paramount
2 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 41,690,382 4,099 1 10,171 66,732,868 Fox
3 Public Enemies 25,271,675 3,334 1 7,580 40,141,080 Universal
4 The Proposal 12,857,482 18,578,541 -30.8 3,099 3 4,149 94,335,111 Buena Vista
5 The Hangover 11,268,413 17,022,166 -33.8 3,070 5 3,670 205,038,233 Warner Bros.
6 Up 6,521,389 13,061,737 -50.1 2,656 6 2,455 264,816,694 Buena Vista
7 My Sister's Keeper 5,788,327 12,442,212 -53.5 2,606 2 2,221 26,518,582 Warner Bros.
8 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 2,534,228 5,451,107 -53.5 1,908 4 1,328 58,508,070 Sony
9 Year One 2,323,843 6,022,444 -61.4 2,240 3 1,037 38,304,392 Sony
10 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smith. 2,043,288 3,643,522 -43.9 1,419 7 1,440 167,706,959 Fox
11 Star Trek 1,769,967 3,711,968 -52.3 1,148 9 1,542 249,838,139 Paramount
12 Away We Go 1,098,212 1,709,313 -35.8 506 5 2,170 6,077,303 Focus
13 Whatever Works 960,061 359,805 166.8 355 3 2,704 1,911,001 Sony Classics
14 Kambakkht Ishq 768,542 100 1 7,685 768,542 Eros
15 Angels & Demons 492,347 1,091,953 -54.9 370 8 1,331 131,324,373 Sony
16 Cheri 388,994 405,701 -4.1 140 2 2,779 1,023,909 Miramax
17 Land of the Lost 306,025 1,195,685 -74.4 385 5 795 47,622,470 Universal
18 Terminator Salvation 296,372 1,088,392 -72.8 311 7 953 122,678,310 Warner Bros.
19 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 296,352 310,167 -4.5 303 10 978 178,341,745 Fox
20 Imagine That 278,244 942,273 -70.5 409 4 680 14,780,593 Paramount
Top 5 $ 133,408,829 $ 170,070,963 -21.6
Top 10 152,619,904 190,609,317 -19.9
Top 20 159,275,020 197,419,282 -19.3
Top 20 vs. 2008 159,275,020 157,139,483 1.4

Last Updated: July 6, 2009 at 4:30PM ET