Weekend Box Office (August 24 - 26, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Booze and babes were still in high demand as the teen sex comedy Superbad ruled the North American box office for the second straight weekend despite the arrival of a handful of new releases. Most of the debuting films were met with disappointing sales since ticket buyers spent their time and money catching up on popular holdover titles which commanded the top three spots.

The supercool kids of Superbad remained the leaders of the pack with a weekend gross of $18M, according to final studio figures, falling 45% from last weekend. After ten days, the Sony smash has taken in an impressive $68.6M and could be on its way to $120M or more. That would give the raunchy hit a domestic gross nearly seven times its production cost of $18M. Superbad is the first summer film to spend back-to-back weekends at number one since Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End which bowed over Memorial Day weekend in May. Sony has now claimed the number one film nine times in 2007, more than any other studio.

Rising one spot to second place was Matt Damon's latest assassin flick The Bourne Ultimatum which slipped only 37% to $12.5M. It was the third best fourth-weekend gross of any summer film this year after the threequel smashes Shrek the Third ($15.3M) and Spider-Man 3 ($14.3M). With $185.3M in the bank for Universal, Bourne has now outgrossed every James Bond film domestically (in nominal dollar terms), both previous Bourne films, and two of the three Mission: Impossible pics. Ultimatum is still on track to hit the $200M mark by the end of Labor Day weekend and will give a serious challenge to this decade's top action films that are not driven by special effects - Rush Hour 2 ($226.2M in 2001) and Mission: Impossible 2 ($215.4M in 2000).

New Line's action-comedy sequel Rush Hour 3 fell 45% to $11.7M in its third mission. The Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker threequel has collected $108.5M in 17 days and is on track to finish with $140-145M.

In a tight race among new releases, the family film Mr. Bean's Holiday edged out the action film War for fourth place. Universal's G-rated comedy opened to $9.9M from 1,714 theaters for a solid $5,770 average. The Rowan Atkinson starrer has already grossed a stellar $189M internationally. Debuting a hair behind with $9.8M was the R-rated crime drama War which averaged a mediocre $4,313 from 2,277 locations. Starring Jet Li and Jason Statham, the Lionsgate release opened close to the numbers of the last films from the two actors. Last September, Li's Fearless bowed to $10.6M and a $5,857 average while Statham's Crank launched with $10.5M over three days and a $4,158 average. Putting the two together did little to broaden the audience, however.

MGM landed in sixth place with a disappointing opening for the comedy The Nanny Diaries which grossed $7.5M. Playing in 2,629 theaters, the PG-13 pic based on the popular novel averaged just $2,846 per site.

The year's top-grossing non-rat toon The Simpsons Movie dropped 37% to $4.3M in its fifth frame boosting the cume to $173.4M for Fox. Paramount's fantasy adventure Stardust grossed $3.9M, off only 32%, for a total of $26.4M.

Moviegoers kept going back for more musical fun as New Line's Hairspray dipped a mere 28% in its sixth session to $3.3M and raised its overall cume to $107.3M. Rounding out the top ten was the sci-fi flop The Invasion which tumbled 48% in its second weekend to $3.1M. The Warner Bros. release has taken in just $11.5M in ten days and should end with a miserable $16-18M.

Three national releases dumped into the late-August abyss debuted outside of the top ten with weak results. Yari Film Group's well-reviewed boxing drama Resurrecting the Champ starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett opened with $1.7M from 1,605 theaters for a poor $1,034 average. Universal's Latino crime drama Illegal Tender bowed to $1.4M from 512 sites for a mild $2,785 average. The most miserable results came from the Jon Voight film September Dawn which grossed $901,857 from 857 playdates for an embarrassing $1,052 per-theater average for Slowhand Releasing.

In limited release, the Mandy Moore drama Dedication got off to a moderate start collecting $23,832 from only four venues for an average of $5,958 on its opening weekend for The Weinstein Co.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix grossed $2.4M, down 34%, lifting the domestic haul to $283.2M. Despite the midweek launch in July, the fifth wizard pic should end up with a final take nearly identical to the $290M taken in by the last installment Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which had a Friday opening in November which has been the most common type of launch for the franchise.

Buena Vista's family film Underdog fell 35% to $2.5M and put its sum at $36.9M. A $42-44M final seems likely. Adam Sandler's latest comedy blockbuster I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry grossed $2M, down 44%, and gave Universal a total of $114.3M to date. The comedian has now generated $100M blockbusters over six consecutive years trailing only Tom Cruise whose streak is currently at seven straight years. Look for Chuck to end its run with roughly $120M.

The top ten films grossed $84M which was up 10% from last year when Invincible opened in first place with $17M; and up 8% from 2005 when The 40-Year-Old Virgin remained in the top spot with $16.3M.

Compared to projections, Mr. Bean's Holiday opened higher than my $6M forecast while War bowed below my $14M prediction. The Nanny Diaries was close to my $7M projection while Resurrecting the Champ and September Dawn both launched below my respective forecasts of $3M and $1.5M.

For a NEW review of Balls of Fury visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Balls of Fury, Death Sentence, and Halloween all open.

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

# Title Aug 24 - 26 Aug 17 - 19 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Superbad $ 18,044,369 $ 33,052,411 -45.4 2,948 2 $ 6,121 $ 68,616,643 Sony
2 The Bourne Ultimatum 12,472,215 19,874,370 -37.2 3,679 4 3,390 185,253,615 Universal
3 Rush Hour 3 11,706,643 21,353,361 -45.2 3,408 3 3,435 108,469,646 New Line
4 Mr. Bean's Holiday 9,889,780 1,714 1 5,770 9,889,780 Universal
5 War 9,820,089 2,277 1 4,313 9,820,089 Lionsgate
6 The Nanny Diaries 7,480,927 2,629 1 2,846 7,480,927 MGM
7 The Simpsons Movie 4,317,689 6,829,648 -36.8 2,600 5 1,661 173,354,858 Fox
8 Stardust 3,872,560 5,651,343 -31.5 2,339 3 1,656 26,374,432 Paramount
9 Hairspray 3,265,384 4,502,455 -27.5 2,016 6 1,620 107,271,846 New Line
10 The Invasion 3,093,428 5,951,409 -48.0 2,776 2 1,114 11,468,121 Warner Bros.
11 Underdog 2,516,604 3,848,791 -34.6 2,209 4 1,139 36,909,933 Buena Vista
12 Harry Potter and the Order... 2,402,412 3,656,379 -34.3 1,322 7 1,817 283,230,934 Warner Bros.
13 I Now Pronounce You Chuck... 2,033,570 3,601,545 -43.5 1,529 6 1,330 114,267,615 Universal
14 Becoming Jane 1,911,867 2,935,129 -34.9 1,210 4 1,580 12,702,495 Miramax
15 Resurrecting the Champ 1,659,756 1,605 1 1,034 1,659,756 Yari Film Group
16 Illegal Tender 1,425,915 512 1 2,785 1,425,915 Universal
17 No Reservations 1,273,404 2,363,459 -46.1 1,117 5 1,140 1,273,404 Warner Bros.
18 Ratatouille 1,168,729 1,643,850 -28.9 956 9 1,223 199,064,945 Buena Vista
19 Transformers 1,148,876 1,948,099 -41.0 826 8 1,391 308,597,165 Paramount
20 Death at a Funeral 1,080,827 1,282,973 -15.8 261 2 4,141 2,937,578 MGM
Top 5 $ 61,933,096 $ 87,061,199 -28.9
Top 10 83,963,084 108,321,712 -22.5
Top 20 100,585,044 124,844,363 -19.4
Top 20 vs. 2006 100,585,044 94,507,935 6.4

Last Updated: August 27, 2007 at 8:30PM ET

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