Weekend Box Office (September 2 - 5, 2005)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND The four-day Labor Day frame resulted in a strong close to an otherwise disappointing summer box office with Fox's action sequel Transporter 2 posting a new opening weekend record for the holiday session. Former number one The 40-Year-Old Virgin remained strong and Focus also saw solid results for its new thriller The Constant Gardner. The trio helped the marketplace climb above year-ago levels making it the second best Labor Day weekend ever.
Jason Statham topped the charts with Transporter 2 which opened to $20.1M over the Friday-to-Monday span, according to final studio figures, to set a new record for the summer-ending holiday. Fox averaged a solid $6,087 from 3,303 theaters for the PG-13 pic which found the action star battling a kidnapping ring. The figure beat the former Labor Day opening weekend record held by 2003's Jeepers Creepers 2 which bowed to $18.4M over four days. Studios typically do not use this particular holiday to launch big movies so powerful debuts are not common. By next weekend, Transporter 2 will surpass the $25.3M domestic take of The Transporter from its entire theatrical run. That film opened with $9.1M and a $3,540 average in October 2002.
Two-time champ The 40-Year-Old Virgin made about as much over the long weekend as it did last weekend over three days. The Universal hit grossed $16.5M boosting its tally to $71.9M after 18 days.
Focus Features generated a powerful launch for its international conspiracy thriller The Constant Gardner which grossed $11M from only 1,346 locations. Averaging a scorching $8,144 per site, the R-rated film stars Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz and played to an upscale adult audience. Reviews were very favorable. It was effective counterprogramming to the low brow films Transporter which played to the male action crowd and Virgin which catered to the female comedy crowd. Since its Wednesday launch, Gardner has grossed $12.7M in six days.
The Wes Craven thriller Red Eye followed with a four-day take of $9.4M to boost the total to $45.5M for DreamWorks. Falling sharply in its second weekend was the Miramax adventure The Brothers Grimm with $9M putting the 11-day cume at $28.7M.
Paramount followed with its Mark Wahlberg hit Four Brothers which grossed $6.4M for a solid $64.4M tally. The durable comedy smash Wedding Crashers posted another good hold and took in $5.8M in its eighth frame. The New Line blockbuster has now reached $195.8M.
Another popular late summer hit, March of the Penguins, saw its four-day take rise from last weekend's three-day gross collecting $5.6M. Warner Independent has amassed $63.6M to date for the hit doc. Universal's supernatural thriller The Skeleton Key scared up $4M lifting its cume to $43.8M. Sony's The Cave rounded out the top ten with $3.8M giving the action thriller just $11.8M in 11 days.
A pair of summer leftovers bombed in their debuts. Miramax opened its Nick Cannon cop pic Underclassman to $3.1M from 1,132 theaters for a poor four-day average of $2,726. Warner Bros. tossed out its action dud A Sound of Thunder with virtually no marketing support and collected a mere $1.2M. The Ed Burns-Ben Kingsley film averaged a pitiful $1,459 from 816 locations.
Two August titles fell from the top ten over the weekend. The Disney toon Valiant took in $3M in its third frame raising its sum to only $16M. Look for an underwhelming $23-25M final. Warner Bros. captured $2M for The Dukes of Hazzard giving the remake $77.5M to date. The $53M comedy should finish with a commendable $80M.
The top ten films grossed $91.6M over four days which was up 22% from last year's Labor Day frame when Hero remained at number one with $11.5M; but down 6% from 2003 when Jeepers Creepers 2 opened in the top spot with a then-record $18.4M.
Compared to projections, Transporter 2 and The Constant Gardner both debuted stronger than my respective four-day forecasts of $14M and $6M. Underclassman was close to my $4M projection while A Sound of Thunder came in near $2M forecast.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Man both open.
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|#||Title||Sep 2 - 5||Aug 26 - 28||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Transporter 2||$ 20,104,608||3,303||1||$ 6,087||$ 20,104,608||Fox|
|2||The 40-Year-Old Virgin||16,535,700||16,275,895||1.6||2,901||3||5,700||71,886,455||Universal|
|3||The Constant Gardener||10,961,311||1,346||1||8,144||12,683,307||Focus|
|5||The Brothers Grimm||9,025,567||15,092,079||-40.2||3,098||2||2,913||28,725,497||Miramax|
|7||Wedding Crashers||5,825,100||6,051,445||-3.7||2,416||8||2,411||195,801,693||New Line|
|8||March of the Penguins||5,561,872||4,743,822||17.2||2,506||11||2,219||63,566,739||Warner Ind.|
|9||The Skeleton Key||4,043,120||4,537,875||-10.9||2,414||4||1,675||43,779,225||Universal|
|13||Sky High||2,733,546||2,786,835||-1.9||1,614||6||1,694||59,345,282||Buena Vista|
|14||Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||2,377,332||2,695,447||-11.8||1,457||8||1,632||201,335,082||Warner Bros.|
|15||The Dukes of Hazzard||2,010,708||3,118,036||-35.5||2,011||5||1,000||77,521,769||Warner Bros.|
|16||Broken Flowers||1,386,480||1,692,199||-18.1||426||5||3,255||10,560,460||Focus Features|
|17||A Sound of Thunder||1,190,791||816||1||1,459||1,190,791||Warner Bros.|
|18||Must Love Dogs||887,895||1,259,921||-29.5||788||6||1,127||42,607,694||Warner Bros.|
|19||The Great Raid||737,336||1,096,425||-32.8||841||4||877||9,535,650||Miramax|
|Top 5||$ 66,065,416||$ 55,668,566||18.7|
|Top 20 vs. 2004||109,704,765||103,588,268||5.9|
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. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : September 7, 2005 at 1:45AM EDT