Weekend Box Office (August 12 - 14, 2005)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Revenge ruled the box office as Paramount's Mark Wahlberg drama Four Brothers beat three other new releases to open at number one. The Kate Hudson thriller The Skeleton Key bowed in second with strong results while the Rob Schnieder comedy Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo and the war drama The Great Raid both attracted only mild business.

Once-struggling Paramount scored its third hit of the summer with Four Brothers which topped the charts with $21.2M from 2,533 sites, according to final studio figures. Directed by John Singleton, the R-rated film about a quartet of men out to avenge their mother's death averaged a fantastic $8,360 per theater. Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin co-starred. It was the first top spot debut for Wahlberg since 2001's Planet of the Apes. Adult women made up the largest audience segment according to studio research. 53% of the crowd was female and 58% was age 25 or older. Four Brothers cost just over $40M to produce and receive mixed reviews from critics.

Another solid debut was enjoyed by the supernatural thriller The Skeleton Key which opened in second place with $16.1M. The PG-13 film starring Kate Hudson as a nurse living in a haunted house averaged a commendable $5,795 from 2,771 playdates for Universal. Key attracted a more female audience with studio research showing that 59% of the crowd consisted of women. Those under the age of 25 made up 51% so the film's appeal was even across a broad age range. The $43M pic opened overseas two weeks ago and has already grossed an additional $9.5M internationally from markets such as France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The Dukes of Hazzard crumbled 58% in its second weekend falling from first to third place with $13M. The $53M Warner Bros. release has made off with $57.5M in its first ten days and is headed for about $90M.

Yet another superb hold was enjoyed by former number one Wedding Crashers which slipped only 26% in its fifth date to $11.8M pushing the cume up to a remarkable $163.9M. It was the best fifth-weekend gross of any film since last summer's behemoth Shrek 2 which captured $13.9M over the June 18-20 session. The R-rated New Line blockbuster is sure to become one of the rare comedies to break the $200M mark.

Another disappointing summer film from Sony landed in fifth place. The Rob Schneider comedy sequel Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo opened to $9.6M from 3,127 theaters for a poor $3,078 average. The R-rated pic did not stand a chance next to The Dukes of Hazzard and Wedding Crashers which have been playing to much the same audience. European Gigolo debuted weaker than the $12.2M and $5,683 average of its predecessor Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo which Buena Vista released in December 1999. It went on to reach $65.5M. Produced for $22M, European Gigolo found an even gender mix as its audience was 51% female while 60% were in the 18-30 age group.

Two favorites with kids followed. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory slipped only 32% in its fifth adventure to $7.4M and saw its total climb to $183.9M for Warner Bros. Meanwhile, indie arm Warner Independent added 196 more theaters to the sleeper hit March of the Penguins and grossed $6.8M for a slender 4% dip. With $37.7M in the bank, the G-rated crowd-pleaser should remain a resident of the top ten for weeks to come.

Another family film, Sky High, followed in eighth place with $6.3M in its third outing. Off 30%, the Disney comedy has reached a very respectable $43.5M and has been showing good legs. Warner Bros. has also seen good holds for its romantic comedy Must Love Dogs which dropped 38% to $4.6M for a 17-day total of $34.6M.

Rounding out the top ten was the war film The Great Raid which launched with $3.4M from 819 theaters for a decent $4,122 average. Miramax's long-delayed World War II rescue pic starred Benjamin Bratt and Joseph Fiennes.

Four big-budget summer action films dropped out of the top ten including a pair of smashes and a pair of mega-flops. Fox's super hero saga Fantastic Four fell 45% in its sixth frame to $2.3M boosting the cume to $148.5M. The $100M flick should end its run with a solid $153-155M putting it in the same neighborhood as 2000's X-Men which grossed $157.3M a half-decade ago. Tom Cruise's biggest hit ever, War of the Worlds, dropped 39% to $2.2M and lifted its total to $228.6M. The second biggest hit of 2005 now sits at number 45 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters behind 1997's The Lost World ($229.1M) and looks to reach about $235M overall in North America. The Paramount/DreamWorks co-production was budgeted at $132M.

The forgettable disasters Stealth and The Island generated weak grosses of $2.2M and $1.3M, respectively. Sony's runaway plane pic tumbled 64% and put its sum at $29.7M while the DreamWorks sci-fi thriller declined 59% for a $34.1M cume. Costing well over $100M, Stealth will finish with around $34M and the $125M The Island won't do much better with a dismal $37M trajectory.

In limited release, Focus Features expanded its Bill Murray comedy Broken Flowers from 27 to 118 theaters and grossed $1.7M for a red hot average of $14,553 per theater. ThinkFilm's foul-mouthed doc The Aristocrats widened from nine to 83 theaters and took in $867,171 for a strong $10,083 average. Cumes for each stand at $2.9M for Flowers and $1.6M for Aristocrats.

The top ten films grossed $100.2M which was down 16% from last year when Alien vs. Predator opened at number one with $38.3M; and down 21% from 2003 when Freddy vs. Jason debuted in the top spot with $36.4M.

Compared to projections, Four Brothers and Skeleton Key both opened better than my respective forecasts of $11M and $10M. Deuce Bigalow bowed below my $13M prediction and The Great Raid was close to my $2.5M projection.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Red Eye, Valiant and Supercross all open.

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# Title Aug 12 - 14 Aug 5 - 7 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Four Brothers $ 21,176,925 2,533 1 $ 8,360 $ 21,176,925 Paramount
2 The Skeleton Key 16,057,945 2,771 1 5,795 16,057,945 Universal
3 The Dukes of Hazzard 13,011,202 30,675,314 -57.6 3,785 2 3,438 57,459,025 Warner Bros.
4 Wedding Crashers 11,834,614 16,035,177 -26.2 3,131 5 3,780 163,860,730 New Line
5 Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo 9,626,287 3,127 1 3,078 9,626,287 Sony
6 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 7,412,391 10,968,363 -32.4 3,304 5 2,243 183,940,297 Warner Bros.
7 March of the Penguins 6,848,205 7,117,206 -3.8 2,063 8 3,320 37,723,310 Warner Ind.
8 Sky High 6,309,670 9,005,945 -29.9 2,807 3 2,248 43,499,197 Buena Vista
9 Must Love Dogs 4,575,046 7,357,405 -37.8 2,420 3 1,891 34,604,972 Warner Bros.
10 The Great Raid 3,376,009 819 1 4,122 3,376,009 Miramax
11 Fantastic Four 2,342,797 4,266,519 -45.1 1,617 6 1,449 148,511,764 Fox
12 War of the Worlds 2,158,694 3,548,295 -39.2 1,340 7 1,611 228,570,693 Paramount
13 Stealth 2,151,768 5,923,794 -63.7 2,040 3 1,055 29,668,413 Sony
14 Broken Flowers 1,717,306 780,408 120.1 118 2 14,553 2,903,891 Focus Features
15 The Island 1,277,881 3,117,486 -59.0 1,107 4 1,154 34,126,850 DreamWorks
16 Batman Begins 1,050,497 1,822,445 -42.4 710 9 1,480 201,149,986 Warner Bros.
17 Hustle and Flow 961,526 2,508,734 -61.7 810 4 1,187 20,654,561 Par. Classics
18 Bad News Bears 941,149 2,746,321 -65.7 1,240 4 759 31,484,219 Paramount
19 The Aristocrats 867,171 239,478 262.1 86 3 10,083 1,622,217 ThinkFilm
20 Mr. & Mrs. Smith 817,703 1,304,441 -37.3 576 10 1,420 182,521,560 Fox
Top 5 $ 71,706,973 $ 74,042,204 -3.2
Top 10 100,228,294 98,015,504 2.3
Top 20 114,514,786 110,083,981 4.0
Top 20 vs. 2004 114,514,786 130,596,967 -12.3

Last Updated : August 15, 2005 at 8:15PM EDT