Weekend Box Office (August 10 - 12, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND After being off the case for six years, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker raced back into theaters with their cross-cultural cop buddy action sequel Rush Hour 3 and captured the number one spot. The new fantasy film Stardust opened to disappointing results in fourth place while the weekend's other new titles Daddy Day Camp and Skinwalkers were virtually ignored by moviegoers. But overall, the North American box office remained robust posting a gain of more than 20% over last year for the third session in a row.

New Line hit the top spot for the first time in a year with its action-comedy franchise hit Rush Hour 3 which bowed to $49.1M, according to final studio figures. Playing ultrawide in 3,778 sites, the PG-13 film averaged a strong $12,996 per theater. It was the fourth biggest opening ever in the month of August trailing The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3M last weekend), Rush Hour 2 ($67.4M in 2001), and Signs ($60.1M in 2002). While a powerful debut, Rush Hour 3 showed that the franchise has suffered some audience erosion. The opening weekend gross was 27% smaller than Rush Hour 2's and factoring in six years of ticket price increases, the bow would be about 37% weaker.

In the new saga, Chan and Tucker reteam to fight a Chinese organized crime syndicate in Paris. Critics were overwhelmingly negative on the film stating that the characters have overstayed their welcome and that Tucker, who has not done any films over the last nine years other than the Rush Hour pics, held up part three because of his salary demands. But audiences came out for the action and the comedy and should soon push the film over the $100M mark in the coming weeks.

After its record-breaking opening, The Bourne Ultimatum dropped a reasonable 53% to $32.9M and boosted its ten-day tally to $131.6M. The hold was about even with the 54% decline that The Bourne Supremacy experienced in its sophomore session three years ago when it faced The Village which bowed to the same numbers as Rush Hour 3. Ultimatum marks the 13th summer film to cross the $100M mark this year compared to ten at this same point last year. With few good action pictures left this summer, the latest Matt Damon assassin pic should cruise to $210-220M making it the top-grossing installment in the popular spy series.

The Simpsons Movie fell another 55% in its third outing to $11.3M. That put the 17-day total at $152.4M for Fox with a final tally of around $175M likely.

The $70M fantasy adventure Stardust found little magic at the box office in its opening weekend and collected just $9.2M in ticket sales. Averaging a mild $3,610 from 2,540 locations, the PG-13 fairy tale pic starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, and Claire Danes found itself in fourth place. Reviews were mostly positive, but that did little to boost its performance at the cash registers.

The musical Hairspray once again enjoyed the best hold in the top ten dipping only 31% to $6.4M in its fourth frame. With a robust $92.1M in the bank, the New Line hit looks to reach the neighborhood of $110M. In its second weekend, Buena Vista's Underdog fell 45% to $6.4M as well to push its ten-day tally to $24.6M. A $40M final gross seems likely.

The Adam Sandler comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry followed with $5.9M, down 45%, for a cume of $103.8M becoming the comedian's eighth $100M+ hit. Look for Universal to conclude its run with about $117M. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix fell 43% to $5.4M lifting the domestic total to $272M making it the third biggest wizard pic after the first and fourth installments. Overseas, the latest Hogwarts tale hit the $550M mark propelling the global tally to an eye-popping $822M. Warner Bros. stablemate No Reservations was close behind with $3.9M, off 42%, for a $32M sum. Final grosses should reach $285M and $40M, respectively.

Sony saw almost no takers for its kidpic sequel Daddy Day Camp which flopped in its opening weekend grossing $3.4M from 2,332 theaters for a miserable $1,459 average. The PG-rated film stars Cuba Gooding Jr. stepping in for Eddie Murphy who is currently having daddy issues of his own. Murphy drove its predecessor Daddy Day Care to a $104.3M gross in 2003. Since its Wednesday opening, Camp has collected just $4.9M in its first five days which is less than what Care grossed in just its opening day alone.

Barely a blip on the radar in its opening weekend was the horror entry Skinwalkers with $753,520 from 745 theaters for an awful $1,011 average for After Dark Films.

Three pictures fell from the top ten over the weekend. The Paramount/DreamWorks sensation Transformers grossed $3.2M in its sixth frame, off 46%, and boosted its stellar cume to $302.9M. The $145M-budgeted blockbuster looks to end its domestic run with about $310M. Worldwide, it has already grossed over $600M with more markets still to open. Transformers currently sits at number 26 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters and hopes to surpass Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End to become the third biggest hit of the summer after Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third.

Two of last weekend's poor openers tumbled in their sophomore frames. The Andy Samberg comedy Hot Rod dropped 58% to $2.2M for a total of only $11M for Paramount. Lionsgate's girlpower flick Bratz stumbled 66% to $1.4M for a pitiful $7.6M sum. Final grosses should reach $14M and $10M, respectively.

The top ten films grossed $133.7M which was up 29% from last year when Talladega Nights remained in first place with $22.1M; and up 33% from 2005 when Four Brothers debuted in the top spot with $21.2M.

Compared to projections, Rush Hour 3 came in below my $61M forecast while Stardust was close to my $11M prediction. Daddy Day Camp and Skinwalkers also opened below my respective projections of $8M and $1.5M.

For a NEW review of Chak De India visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Superbad, The Invasion, and The Last Legion all open.

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

# Title Aug 10 - 12 Aug 3 - 5 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Rush Hour 3 $ 49,100,158 3,778 1 $ 12,996 $ 49,100,158 New Line
2 The Bourne Ultimatum 32,879,125 69,283,690 -52.5 3,686 2 8,920 131,552,425 Universal
3 The Simpsons Movie 11,269,651 25,110,873 -55.1 3,552 3 3,173 152,381,993 Fox
4 Stardust 9,169,779 2,540 1 3,610 9,169,779 Paramount
5 Hairspray 6,396,666 9,225,378 -30.7 2,805 4 2,280 92,139,670 New Line
6 Underdog 6,352,377 11,585,121 -45.2 3,013 2 2,108 24,643,289 Buena Vista
7 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry 5,877,915 10,626,345 -44.7 2,799 4 2,100 103,777,170 Universal
8 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 5,432,130 9,522,220 -43.0 2,585 5 2,101 272,047,388 Warner Bros.
9 No Reservations 3,855,029 6,588,375 -41.5 2,053 3 1,878 32,025,018 Warner Bros.
10 Daddy Day Camp 3,402,678 2,332 1 1,459 4,887,285 Sony
11 Transformers 3,236,060 6,021,472 -46.3 1,803 6 1,795 302,869,658 Paramount
12 Becoming Jane 2,902,117 972,066 198.6 601 2 4,829 4,502,593 Miramax
13 Ratatouille 2,373,416 3,987,800 -40.5 1,835 7 1,293 193,415,480 Buena Vista
14 Hot Rod 2,223,876 5,310,711 -58.1 2,607 2 853 11,016,352 Paramount
15 Bratz 1,420,336 4,208,455 -66.3 1,509 2 941 7,566,705 Lionsgate
16 El Cantante 1,401,148 3,202,035 -56.2 537 2 2,609 5,579,231 Picturehouse
17 Skinwalkers 753,520 745 1 1,011 753,520 Lionsgate
18 Live Free or Die Hard 685,463 2,132,768 -67.9 503 7 1,363 131,888,585 Fox
19 Talk to Me 401,942 674,089 -40.4 193 5 2,083 3,509,574 Focus
20 Chak De India 351,887 62 1 5,676 351,887 Yash Raj
Top 5 $ 108,815,379 $ 126,128,249 -13.7
Top 10 133,735,508 157,482,640 -15.1
Top 20 149,485,273 172,277,435 -13.2
Top 20 vs. 2006 149,485,273 121,197,450 23.3

Last Updated: August 13, 2007 at 7:15PM ET

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