Weekend Box Office (July 18 - 20, 2003)

THIS WEEKEND In his third decade as a superproducer, Jerry Bruckheimer continued to give moviegoers exactly what they crave by opening his latest action hit, the cop buddy sequel Bad Boys II, at the top of the charts while his blockbuster adventure film Pirates of the Caribbean ranked second displaying tremendous strength in its second weekend. Together, the two Bruckheimer pics sold over $80M worth of tickets at North American theaters accounting for more than half of the entire marketplace.

Audiences lined up to see Martin Lawrence and Will Smith reunite in Bad Boys II which debuted with $46.5M, according to final studio figures, to lead all films at the box office. Directed by Michael Bay, the Sony release bowed in 3,186 theaters and averaged an explosive $14,602 per location. With bullets and expletives flying, Bad Boys II wore its R rating proud telling the story of a pair of narcotics cops in Miami trying to bust the city's biggest dealer of Ecstacy. Gabrielle Union and Joe Pantoliano co-star. It was the third R-rated action sequel this summer to open at number one after The Matrix Reloaded and Terminator 3.

The opening for the pricey sequel tripled the $15.5M bow of the first Bad Boys which opened in April 1995 in a thousand less theaters. That film went on to gross $65.8M and over $140M worldwide. The sequel skewed younger as 59% of the audience was under the age of 25 while males and females were about equally represented, according to studio research. African Americans came out in strong numbers representing 35% of the crowd.

For Sony, Bad Boys II became its industry-leading fifth number-one debut of the year giving the studio an edge over Warner Bros., Fox, and Disney which have each had four. The Mouse House, however, continues to lead in total weekends in the top spot with seven compared to Sony's six. For Bruckheimer, Bad Boys II became his third number-one of the year following last week's Pirates and January's Kangaroo Jack. Next up for the producer is October's thriller Veronica Guerin from director Joel Schumacher and King Arthur which is preparing for a Christmas 2004 release.

Generating the smallest second weekend decline of any wide release this summer, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean slipped just 27% and grossed $34M for second place. The Disney adventure film crossed the $100M mark on Friday, its tenth day of release, and has collected a mighty $133M in only twelve days. Playing in 3,359 theaters, the Johnny Depp actioner averaged a potent $10,132 per venue.

The remarkable staying power due to strong word-of-mouth allowed Pirates to buck the trend this summer of massive dropoffs suffered by top titles and should allow it to become one of the year's highest-grossing films. Produced for an estimated $130M, the Gore Verbinski-directed blockbuster could find its way to a domestic haul of $250-275M giving The Matrix Reloaded a serious challenge for the summer's silver medal. Pirates also helped Buena Vista become the first distributor this year to surpass $900M in year-to-date box office with the billion dollar barrier looking to fall before the summer ends.

Falling a steep 56% in its second weekend, Fox's action adventure film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen took in $10.2M in its sophomore session and lifted its ten-day cume to $42.5M. With a production cost of just under $80M, the Sean Connery vehicle should finish its domestic run with $65-70M with an international run that could bring in somewhat more. League became the tenth summer film to drop by more than 55% in its second weekend illustrating how little staying power there is in this season's crop of offerings. It is double the amount from this time last summer.

T3 dropped 52% and claimed fourth place with $9.3M in its third weekend. After 19 days of release, the Warner Bros. sci-fi sequel has amassed $127.9M and should find its way to the vicinity of $150M. By comparison, its predecessor T2 grossed $204.8M in 1991 becoming the top-grossing film of that year.

Opening in fifth place was Universal's British import Johnny English starring Rowan Atkinson which grossed $9.1M from 2,236 theaters. The PG-rated comedy averaged a good $4,085 per location and followed a successful international release that has already brought in over $117M. Budgeted at $35M, English finds the comedian playing a bumbling secret agent.

Enjoying the smallest decline in the top ten and swimming into triple-century territory, the Disney/Pixar sensation Finding Nemo collected $7.3M in its eighth weekend slipping just 14%. The G-rated toon boosted its cume to an eye-popping $303.8M and is on course for at least $330M in domestic coin.

MGM's Legally Blonde 2 dropped 49% to $6.1M in its third frame and placed seventh. Reese Witherspoon's signature sequel has taken in $75.5M to date and should conclude its run with around $90M or a bit shy of the $96.4M that the first Legally Blonde charmed up two summers ago.

Teen girls were not exactly rushing to the multiplexes to see Mandy Moore's new film How to Deal which opened with a disappointing $5.8M. Released by New Line, the PG-13 pic about a high school girl who gives up on love averaged a poor $2,505 from 2,319 theaters. The melodrama was produced for $16M.

Another femme flick was nestled into ninth place. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle fell 47% to $3.8M pushing its total to $89.2M. The Sony sequel looks to finish with around $100M, or 20% less than the $125.3M of 2000's first Charlie's Angels.

Fox Searchlight rounded out the top ten with the horror hit 28 Days Later which grossed $2.5M, off 40%, for a cume of $33.4M. The distributor is making the unorthodox move of adding a four-and-a-half-minute alternate ending to its prints this Friday hoping to bring fans back for another scare. A final gross of $40-45M should result depending on how successful this technique is. On the following weekend, Searchlight will take its independent smash Bend It Like Beckham into full national release widening to about 1,200 locations. This weekend, the British-Indian comedy grossed $304,874 from 156 theaters for a $1,954 average in its 19th weekend and pushed its overall gross to a rosy $25.9M.

Elsewhere in limited release, Miramax opened the London-set crime thriller Dirty Pretty Things in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed $101,512 for a stellar $20,102 average. Starring Amelie's Audrey Tautou, the R-rated drama expands on August 1.

Paramount Classics grossed $102,890 after expanding the James Woods drama Northfork from 5 to 14 theaters. Averaging $7,349, the PG-13 film has taken in $191,674 to date and will continue to slowly add more markets.

Disney offered sneak previews on Friday in just under 1,000 theaters for its family comedy Freaky Friday starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. The studio reported that most shows were near capacity or sold out with 90% of those polled calling the PG-rated pic "excellent" or "very good". The audience for the mother-daughter switcheroo film was understandably more female (69%) with two-thirds being familes. Freaky Friday opens on Wednesday, August 6 and will face Sony's male-skewing actioner S.W.A.T. that weekend.

Three summer films fell from the top ten over the weekend. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas tumbled 56% in its third weekend to $1.9M bringing the total for the animated adventure to $23.4M. Budgeted at $60M, the DreamWorks title should finish with a dismal $26-28M. Making off with $1.7M, but sliding only 37%, was Paramount's hit actioner The Italian Job. The $65M film looks to conclude with an encouraging $97-100M.

Universal's $137M comic book gamble The Hulk fell 58% to $1.5M in its fifth outing for a $128.1M sum. The Ang Lee film has fallen by more than 55% each weekend and is likely to end its domestic run with $130-132M. Overseas, the green giant has punched up $71M for a worldwide haul of just under $200M.

The top ten films grossed $134.7M which was up 43% from last year when Road to Perdition climbed into the number-one spot with $15.4M; and up just 3% from 2001 when Jurassic Park III opened in the top spot with $50.8M.

Compared to projections, Bad Boys II opened stronger than my $36M forecast while Johnny English debuted very close to my $8M prediction. How to Deal bowed below my $9M projection.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. In last week's survey, readers were asked if they felt there were too many sequels this summer. Of 3,417 responses, 75% said Yes while 25% thought No.

For a review of Bad Boys II visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Tomb Raider, Spy Kids 3-D, and Seabiscuit all open.

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

# Title Jul 18 - 20 Jul 11 - 13 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Bad Boys II $ 46,522,560 3,186 1 $ 14,602 $ 46,522,560 Sony
2 Pirates of the Caribbean 34,034,597 46,630,690 -27.0 3,359 2 10,132 133,007,414 Buena Vista
3 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 10,158,545 23,075,892 -56.0 3,002 2 3,384 42,532,642 Fox
4 T3: Rise of the Machines 9,327,409 19,477,207 -52.1 3,404 3 2,740 127,893,786 Warner Bros.
5 Johnny English 9,134,085 2,236 1 4,085 9,134,085 Universal
6 Finding Nemo 7,275,723 8,465,110 -14.1 2,480 8 2,934 303,795,720 Buena Vista
7 Legally Blonde 2 6,122,444 12,030,319 -49.1 3,205 3 1,910 75,454,096 MGM
8 How to Deal 5,809,960 2,319 1 2,505 5,809,960 New Line
9 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle 3,811,962 7,145,900 -46.7 2,261 4 1,686 89,234,967 Sony
10 28 Days Later 2,541,940 4,249,700 -40.2 1,310 4 1,940 33,398,474 Fox Searchlight
11 Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas 1,890,171 4,310,834 -56.2 2,017 3 937 23,425,641 DreamWorks
12 The Italian Job 1,726,204 2,736,905 -36.9 953 8 1,811 92,081,792 Paramount
13 The Hulk 1,543,240 3,670,035 -58.0 1,319 5 1,170 128,143,315 Universal
14 Bruce Almighty 1,424,250 2,379,285 -40.1 996 9 1,430 235,941,390 Universal
15 Whale Rider 1,356,525 1,089,334 24.5 442 7 3,069 7,749,206 Newmarket
16 Swimming Pool 849,166 690,088 23.1 137 3 6,198 2,356,272 Focus
17 2 Fast 2 Furious 790,020 1,520,710 -48.0 650 7 1,215 124,028,375 Universal
18 The Matrix Reloaded 717,468 1,112,311 -35.5 275 10 2,609 275,254,281 Warner Bros.
19 Winged Migration 420,034 390,278 7.6 144 14 2,917 5,947,843 Sony Classics
20 Rugrats Go Wild 399,976 822,620 -51.4 706 6 567 37,740,370 Paramount
Top 5 $ 109,177,196 $ 109,679,218 -0.5
Top 10 134,739,225 131,792,592 2.2
Top 20 145,856,279 140,799,231 3.6
Top 20 vs. 2002 145,856,279 115,028,471 26.8

Last Updated : July 21, 2003 at 6:00PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya

Gitesh Pandya can be seen each Friday on "The Biz" airing at 12:30pm and 9:30pm ET on CNNfn.