Weekend Box Office (November 11 - 13, 2005)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Despite a handful of new films hitting the box office, Disney's animated hit Chicken Little remained the top choice for moviegoers this weekend spending its second consecutive weekend at number one. Targeting specific audience segments and displaying respectable debuts were the frame's three new pics - the sci-fi adventure Zathura, the Jennifer Aniston thriller Derailed, and the 50 Cent drama Get Rich or Die Tryin'. The period piece Pride & Prejudice also made a stellar bow in the top ten despite opening in limited release. For the sixth straight weekend, ticket sales were down compared to last year. But the marketplace did show impressive breadth this weekend as five films grossed over $10M a piece.

Dropping only 21% from its powerful debut frame, Chicken Little easily held onto the top spot with $31.7M, according to final studio figures. Disney proved that it could satisfy audiences in the world of computer-animated toons as the sophomore decline was relatively low. After ten days of release, the G-rated comedy has grossed $80.4M. Although the figure does not beat out the ten-day figures of Pixar hits like The Incredibles ($143.3M), Finding Nemo ($144M), and Monsters, Inc ($122.2M), it does exceed the performances of the studio's non-Pixar animated films like Brother Bear ($44M), Lilo & Stitch ($77.1M), and Dinosaur ($73.5M). Given its strength, Chicken Little might find its way to the neighborhood of $170M domestically.

Sony's high-priced sci-fi pic Zathura opened in second place this weekend with $13.4M from 3,223 theaters. Averaging a decent $4,166, the PG-rated film about children who find a game that send them across the galaxy witnessed a debut similar to what the studio saw two weeks ago with The Legend of Zorro which bowed to $16.3M and a $4,639 average. According to studio research, 71% of the audience consisted of families. The strong hold witnessed by Chicken Little certainly contributed to Zathura not flying higher and with next weekend's Harry Potter film energizing kids of all ages, it will be a challenge to stay strong in the weeks ahead. Reviews were generally positive, however.

Jennifer Aniston delivered a respectable debut in third with her romantic thriller Derailed which opened to $12.2M. Playing in 2,443 theaters, the Weinstein Company's first wide release averaged a solid $4,999 per theater. Publicity surrounding Aniston's personal life, and her availability to the media in recent weeks, certainly helped to bring more attention to the $22M film. Clive Owen co-starred in Derailed which drew few good reviews.

Shooting up a strong opening in fourth place was Paramount's urban action drama Get Rich or Die Tryin' which collected $12M over the three-day period despite playing in the fewest theaters among the weekend's three big openers. The semi-autobiographical film starring hip hop superstar 50 Cent averaged a muscular $7,277 from only 1,652 theaters and captured $17.7M since its Wednesday launch. According to studio data, African Americans made up 75% of the audience while 53% was under the age of 25. The gender split was virtually even with females slightly edging out the guys with 51% of those polled. Reviews were mostly bad, but the rapper's loyal following was counted on to show up on opening weekend. Paramount hopes it can now broaden the film's appeal to non-fans and those who normally do not spend money on urban fare.

Suffering the worst fall in the top ten was Universal's war drama Jarhead which tumbled 58% to $11.7M boosting the ten-day tally to $46.5M. The $72M production should end its run with $70-75M. Lions Gate collected $9.1M for its horror sequel Saw II which dropped 46% raising the sum to a brutal $73.9M.

Sony's adventure flick The Legend of Zorro followed with $6.4M, down 36%, giving the PG-rated pic $39.3M to date. Overseas, the Antonio Banderas-Catherine Zeta-Jones actioner has done much better with an international tally of $73M putting the worldwide figure at $112M. Universal's Prime enjoyed another good hold slipping just 25% to $3.9M for a $18.9M total. DreamWorks took ninth place with the horse tale Dreamer which grossed $3.7M, off only 22%, giving the Dakota Fanning family pic $28.9M thus far.

Rounding out the top ten was the potent debut of the period drama Pride and Prejudice which bowed in only 215 theaters but grossed a healthy $2.9M for a sparkling $13,326 average. The Focus release has already collected an impressive $40M internationally including $25.3M back home in the U.K. where it held the number one spot for four weeks this fall. The release on this side of the Atlantic will widen in the weeks ahead as Focus uses a release pattern similar to those used by parent Universal on previous British imports opening in November like Love Actually and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Those films began with 500-600 theaters and averaged $11,955 and $16,385, respectively, on their opening weekends before adding more screens throughout the holiday season.

Debuting in limited release, Roadside Attractions' comedy Sarah Silverman - Jesus is Magic impressed with $124,475 from only seven sites for a stellar $17,782 per theater. Fox Searchlight opened its Richard Gere drama Bee Season and collected $120,544 from 21 theaters for a $5,740 average per location.

Four adult-skewing films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck slipped just 18% to $2.5M to boost its cume to $14.5M. Warner Independent will increase its run from 668 to about 850 theaters on Friday. Steve Martin's Shopgirl slipped only 29% to $1.8M as its cume rose to $6.1M. Per-theater averages for the two films were $3,745 and $3,655, respectively.

The Weather Man declined 39% to $1.8M giving Paramount a weak $11.4M in 17 days. The Nicolas Cage comedy should end with a disappointing $15M. The Jodie Foster pic Flightplan, the highest-grossing film of the September-October corridor, grossed $1.6M this weekend and lifted its total to $86.7M. The action thriller should reach its final destination with around $91M putting it close to her last thriller Panic Room which scared up $95.3M in 2002.

The top ten films grossed $107M which was down 18% from last year when The Incredibles stayed at number one with $50.3M; and down 8% from 2003 when Elf climbed into the top spot in its second weekend with $26.3M.

Compared to projections, Zathura and Get Rich or Die Tryin' both opened below my respective forecasts of $18M and $16M while Derailed debuted a bit higher than my $11M prediction.

For a NEW review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Walk the Line both open.

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

# Title Nov 11 - 13 Nov 4 - 6 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Chicken Little $ 31,653,590 $ 40,049,778 -21.0 3,658 2 $ 8,653 $ 80,401,485 Buena Vista
2 Zathura 13,427,872 3,223 1 4,166 13,427,872 Sony
3 Derailed 12,211,986 2,443 1 4,999 12,211,986 Weinstein Co.
4 Get Rich or Die Tryin' 12,020,807 1,652 1 7,277 17,723,544 Paramount
5 Jarhead 11,738,160 27,726,210 -57.7 2,448 2 4,795 46,539,505 Universal
6 Saw II 9,125,604 16,853,399 -45.9 2,949 3 3,094 73,876,511 Lions Gate
7 The Legend of Zorro 6,381,648 10,023,822 -36.3 3,053 3 2,090 39,270,385 Sony
8 Prime 3,874,375 5,143,630 -24.7 1,781 3 2,175 18,918,950 Universal
9 Dreamer 3,728,510 4,794,741 -22.2 2,735 4 1,363 28,853,998 DreamWorks
10 Pride & Prejudice 2,865,017 215 1 13,326 2,865,017 Focus
11 Good Night, and Good Luck 2,501,496 3,066,046 -18.4 668 6 3,745 14,489,880 Warner Independent
12 Shopgirl 1,802,032 2,520,844 -28.5 493 4 3,655 6,118,672 Buena Vista
13 The Weather Man 1,754,301 2,870,706 -38.9 1,250 3 1,403 11,377,751 Paramount
14 Flightplan 1,585,755 2,290,690 -30.8 1,041 8 1,523 86,650,911 Buena Vista
15 Capote 1,190,112 1,014,007 17.4 264 7 4,508 6,517,371 Sony Classics
16 Wallace & Gromit 959,813 2,099,102 -54.3 1,012 6 948 54,298,093 DreamWorks
17 North Country 933,009 2,152,420 -56.7 1,044 4 894 17,350,237 Warner Bros.
18 The Fog 823,143 1,970,735 -58.2 787 5 1,046 29,212,109 Sony
19 Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang 785,842 400,213 96.4 169 4 4,650 2,107,243 Warner Bros.
20 Elizabethtown 702,592 1,633,235 -57.0 730 5 962 26,360,263 Paramount
Top 5 $ 81,052,415 $ 99,796,839 -18.8
Top 10 107,027,569 115,339,866 -7.2
Top 20 120,065,664 129,060,236 -7.0
Top 20 vs. 2004 120,065,664 140,228,988 -14.4

Last Updated : November 15, 2005 at 2:00AM EST