Weekend Box Office (August 26 - 28, 2005)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Rising comedy star Steve Carell remained at number one for the second consecutive weekend with the hit film The 40-Year-Old Virgin which displayed a remarkably strong hold in its sophomore frame. The Matt Damon-Heath Ledger adventure The Brothers Grimm, which was widely expected to premiere on top, settled for a decent debut in the runnerup spot. Other new releases The Cave and Undiscovered saw disappointing results in their openings as moviegoers chose to catch up on holdover titles during the dog days of summer.

Universal enjoyed a surprisingly slim 24% decline for Virgin which held steady in the top spot with $16.3M, according to final studio figures. The R-rated sex comedy has parlayed strong reviews and positive word-of-mouth into a stellar box office run collecting $48.6M in only ten days. Budgeted at only $26M, Virgin may now find its way past the $100M mark. The hit film has become only the fourth title of the summer to spend back-to-back weekends at number one joining the mighty blockbusters Star Wars Episode III, Batman Begins, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Miramax debuted its period adventure tale The Brothers Grimm close behind in second place with $15.1M from 3,087 theaters. The PG-13 film about two con artists who swindle villagers averaged $4,889 per site. Directed by Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Monty Python and the Holy Grail), Grimm had its release date pushed back many times and was finally dumped into the final weekend of August. Though not spectacular, the opening weekend was respectable while reviews were mixed.

Wes Craven's airline thriller Red Eye enjoyed a good sophomore hold dropping just 36% to $10.3M. DreamWorks has grossed an impressive $32.6M over ten days and should find its way to $60-65M. That would make Red Eye the legendary director's highest-grossing film outside of the Scream trilogy. Mark Wahlberg placed fourth with his revenge drama Four Brothers which grossed $7.9M falling 37%. The Paramount pic has brought in a solid $55.4M in 17 days and should find its way to roughly $75M.

Sony suffered its sixth straight strikeout this summer with the weak launch for the suspense thriller The Cave which bowed to just $6.1M. The PG-13 tale of explorers who battle mysterious evil averaged only $2,801 per theater from 2,195 locations. Young males made up the primary audience as studio research showed that 53% of the crowd was male and 53% was under 25. Following disappointing results for XXX: State of the Union, Lords of Dogtown, Bewitched, Stealth, and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, the studio concluded an uncharacteristically underwhelming summer box office season. Sony's summer six-pack looks to conclude with a combined domestic gross of only $175M. That's a far cry from last summer's $515M, 2003's $520M, and 2002's $1 billion-plus summer tally.

New Line's Wedding Crashers enjoyed another robust weekend slipping only 24% in its seventh date to $6.1M. The Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn pic has become the year's top-grossing comedy with a cume of $187.5M and is on a course to reach $210M or more. Sliding 27%, its highest drop to date, was the animal documentary March of the Penguins with $4.7M in its tenth weekend. The Warner Independent release has grossed a stunning $55.9M to date and should find its way to at least $75M. Universal's supernatural thriller The Skeleton Key scared up $4.5M, off 41%, and boosted its cume to $38.1M. Look for a $48-50M final. Overseas, the Kate Hudson chiller has taken in $22.4M to date.

Disney's animated film Valiant declined 41% in its second weekend and collected $3.5M putting the ten-day cume at $11.7M. The Dukes of Hazzard followed with $3.1M, down 48%, pushing its sum to $74.5M. Final domestic totals should reach around $82M for the Warner Bros. action-comedy and about $22M for the pigeon pic.

The Lions Gate title Undiscovered remained unnoticed in its opening weekend pulling in a pathetic $676,048 from 1,304 theaters. Averaging a horrendous $518 per site, the Ashlee Simpson disaster recieved poor reviews and was aimed at female audiences not concerned about wasting their money. It was by far the worst opening of the year for a wide release.

Two kidpics fell from the top ten over the weekend. Disney, another studio that lacked firepower this summer, saw its super hero high school flick Sky High dip 31% to $2.8M for a $55.4M sum. A $63M final seems likely. The Mouse House has grossed just $207M from its summer slate of five wide releases.

The Warner Bros. juggernaut Charlie and the Chocolate Factory dropped 39% to $2.7M in its seventh weekend pushing its total to a sweet $197.6M. The $150M Johnny Depp comedy should end its domestic run with a massive $205M. The international tally stands at $126.8M and counting.

The top ten films grossed $77.6M which was off 2% from last year when Hero opened at number one with $18M; but up 3% from 2003 when Jeepers Creepers 2 opened in the top spot with $15.3M.

Compared to projections, The Brothers Grimm opened a few notches below my $18M forecast while The Cave debuted close to my $7M prediction. Undiscovered bowed weaker than my already-low $3M projection.

For a review of Red Eye visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Transporter 2, Underclassman, and The Constant Gardener all open over Labor Day weekend.

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

# Title Aug 26 - 28 Aug 19 - 21 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The 40-Year-Old Virgin $ 16,275,895 $ 21,422,815 -24.0 2,868 2 $ 5,675 $ 48,567,975 Universal
2 The Brothers Grimm 15,092,079 3,087 1 4,889 15,092,079 Miramax
3 Red Eye 10,289,104 16,167,662 -36.4 3,091 2 3,329 32,564,999 DreamWorks
4 Four Brothers 7,864,194 12,487,537 -37.0 2,649 3 2,969 55,370,515 Paramount
5 The Cave 6,147,294 2,195 1 2,801 6,147,294 Sony
6 Wedding Crashers 6,051,445 8,002,613 -24.4 2,737 7 2,211 187,519,203 New Line
7 March of the Penguins 4,743,822 6,487,696 -26.9 2,394 10 1,982 55,895,099 Warner Ind.
8 The Skeleton Key 4,537,875 7,725,495 -41.3 2,784 3 1,630 38,051,960 Universal
9 Valiant 3,505,126 5,914,722 -40.7 2,016 2 1,739 11,703,962 Buena Vista
10 The Dukes of Hazzard 3,118,036 5,978,292 -47.8 2,891 4 1,079 74,464,145 Warner Bros.
11 Sky High 2,786,835 4,034,895 -30.9 1,818 5 1,533 55,402,752 Buena Vista
12 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2,695,447 4,434,453 -39.2 2,005 7 1,344 197,578,822 Warner Bros.
13 Broken Flowers 1,692,199 2,349,001 -28.0 433 4 3,908 8,583,632 Focus Features
14 Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo 1,408,046 3,807,221 -63.0 1,673 3 842 20,395,714 Sony
15 Must Love Dogs 1,259,921 2,241,228 -43.8 1,232 5 1,023 41,245,462 Warner Bros.
16 The Great Raid 1,096,425 1,820,664 -39.8 868 3 1,263 8,409,911 Miramax
17 War of the Worlds 758,139 1,057,340 -28.3 579 9 1,309 231,806,280 Paramount
18 The Aristocrats 694,492 666,449 4.2 226 5 3,073 3,767,694 ThinkFilm
19 Fantastic Four 690,921 1,032,450 -33.1 667 8 1,036 151,777,039 Fox
20 Undiscovered 676,048 1,304 1 518 676,048 Lions Gate
Top 5 $ 55,668,566 $ 65,806,122 -15.4
Top 10 77,624,870 92,656,180 -16.2
Top 20 91,383,343 108,151,756 -15.5
Top 20 vs. 2004 91,383,343 97,068,683 -5.9

Last Updated : August 29, 2005 at 9:15PM EDT