Weekend Box Office (August 29 - September 1, 2003)
THIS WEEKEND The final weekend of summer was ruled by another horror franchise as Jeepers Creepers 2 debuted at number one replacing two-week champ Freddy vs. Jason. A record Labor Day weekend gross helped the summer box office pull ahead of last year's record pace, even though total admissions lagged. Meanwhile, with the lucrative season ending, four titles managed to sneak past the $100M mark raising the summer's population of blockbusteters to sixteen.
Beating a record set two years ago by its predecessor, MGM's horror film Jeepers Creepers 2 enjoyed the largest Labor Day weekend opening ever collecting $18.4M over the long Friday-to-Monday span, according to final studio figures. Attacking 3,124 theaters, the R-rated tale of a flesh-eating monster hunting a group of high schoolers averaged a solid $5,879. The first Jeepers Creepers bowed to a four-day gross of $15.8M averaging $5,378 from 2,944 theaters. Older teens and young adults were the primary audience for the $17M sequel.
Between the beginning of May and Labor Day, the domestic box office collected an estimated $3.9 billon in ticket sales representing a 2% increase over the summer 2002 gross but also a 2% decrease in admissions, according to Exhibitor Relations. Without a megahit the size of Spider-Man, or a surprise smash like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the current summer trailed last year but witnessed strong results in the final weeks to edge out 2002.
Back-to-schoolers lined up for the Disney body-switching comedy Freaky Friday which jumped back up to second place for the holiday weekend and grossed $12.6M over four days. The cume thus far is a terrific $90.8M. The studio's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean enjoyed the biggest percentage jump in sales and climbed three spots putting it at $10.8M for the long weekend and a cume of an eye-popping $275M.
In fourth place, Sony's S.W.A.T. captured $10.8M as well and pushed its cume to $102.7M. Buena Vista's Kevin Costner western Open Range posted its third solid weekend with $10.75M and has put its sum at $43.5M after 18 days.
Climbing a notch to sixth place was Universal's horse racing saga Seabiscuit with $9.1M in its sixth lap for a cume of $104.6M. Two-time chart-topper Freddy vs. Jason was close behind with $8.7M in its third hunt for a bloody total of $73.9M. The New Line horror pic suffered the largest drop of any film in the top ten.
Sony's Jackie Chan starrer The Medallion fell to $6.2M in its second weekend pushing the 11-day total to $16.9M. MGM's comedy Uptown Girls followed with $5.6M in its third frame for a respectable sum of $30.4M to date. Universal's American Wedding raised its total to $97.7M after a weekend gross of $4.8M.
Beneath the top ten, Paramount re-expanded its action hit The Italian Job and made off with $3.9M in extra cash pushing the total for the Mark Wahlberg heist pic to $100.9M. The fourth film of the weekend to join the century club was Sony's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle which took in an estimated $440,568 from 334 locations for a cume to date of $100.3M.
With summer blockbusters fading away, more attention was put on smaller films in limited release. Fine Line's American Splendor widened from 32 to 88 theaters in its third weekend and collected $1.1M in four days. The R-rated pic averaged a robust $12,674 and has banked $2.1M total. The Project Greenlight film The Battle of Shaker Heights grossed $140,459 from only a dozen theaters for a $11,704 average. The Miramax release has taken in $214,176 thus far. Fox Searchlight expanded its teen angst drama Thirteen from 5 to 73 theaters and grossed $839,277 for a solid $11,496 per venue. With $1.1M to date, the acclaimed film widens to over 110 runs on Friday.
Elsewhere in the arthouses, Artisan collected $608,156 from 76 theaters for its surfing documentary Step Into Liquid which climbed to $1.8M to date. Fox Searchlight went nationwide with Le Divorce but grossed only $2.1M for a mild $2,955 average. Total stands at $6.3M.
The top ten films grossed $97.6M over four days which was up 15% from last year when Signs remained number one with $17M; and up 11% from 2001 when the first Jeepers Creepers opened in the top spot with $15.8M.
Compared to projections, Jeepers Creepers 2 debuted a few notches better than my $14M four-day forecast. The Italian Job came in a little below my $5M prediction.
Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on sequels to this summer's hits. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether Jeepers Creepers 2 would open stronger than its predecessor. Of 2,839 responses, 61% correctly said Yes while 39% voted No.
For a review of Freddy vs. Jason visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Dickie Roberts and The Order both debut.
Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines
|#||Title||Aug 29 - Sep 1||Aug 22 - 24||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Jeepers Creepers 2||$ 18,365,222||3,124||1||$ 5,879||$ 18,365,222||MGM|
|2||Freaky Friday||12,602,252||9,304,643||35.4||3,067||4||4,109||90,844,347||Buena Vista|
|3||Pirates of the Caribbean||10,818,785||7,275,447||48.7||2,227||8||4,858||275,018,547||Buena Vista|
|5||Open Range||10,748,196||9,481,315||13.4||2,244||3||4,790||43,482,974||Buena Vista|
|7||Freddy vs. Jason||8,660,070||13,152,967||-34.2||2,929||3||2,957||73,944,569||New Line|
|11||My Boss's Daughter||4,515,119||4,855,798||-7.0||2,206||2||2,047||11,616,469||Miramax|
|12||The Italian Job||3,946,271||133,086||1,964||14||2,009||100,890,875||Paramount|
|13||Spy Kids 3-D||3,736,260||2,790,690||33.9||2,385||6||1,567||107,420,532||Miramax|
|14||Finding Nemo||2,337,618||1,038,919||125.0||838||14||2,790||332,722,962||Buena Vista|
|15||Le Divorce||2,071,851||1,368,317||51.4||701||4||2,956||6,262,588||Fox Searchlight|
|16||Bad Boys II||1,958,752||2,031,469||-3.6||869||7||2,254||135,072,491||Sony|
|18||Dirty Pretty Things||1,411,642||691,098||104.3||383||7||3,686||4,672,544||Miramax|
|19||Lara Croft Tomb Raider II||1,368,153||1,503,624||-9.0||1,030||6||1,328||63,983,372||Paramount|
|20||American Splendor||1,115,379||454,375||145.5||88||3||12,675||2,053,107||Fine Line|
|Top 5||$ 63,314,750||$ 50,631,576||25.0|
|Top 20 vs. 2002||121,586,593||106,920,264||13.7|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Data source: Exhibitor Relations, EDI. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : September 2, 2003 at 5:45PM 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.