Sunday, November 06, 2005

Chicken Not So Little at Box Office


The success last weekend of Lions Gate's horror sequel Saw II was a fine harbinger for things to come, carrying over to the first weekend in November, which saw two more significant box office hits.

Walt Disney's computer-animated Chicken Little, their first self-produced computer animated film in five years, brought in huge family business to the tune of an estimated $40 million, making it Disney's highest opening in-house animated film to date.

That's not to take anything away from the Sam "American Beauty" Mendes-directed military drama Jarhead which opened in roughly 1,000 fewer theatres, but gave Chicken Little a run for the top spot on Friday. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard, the powerful and relevant film had a strong opening weekend earning roughly $28.7 million in 2,411 theatres, an average of just under $12 thousand per theatre, the highest average for any movie this weekend.

Lions Gate probably won't be too disappointed with the second weekend showing of Saw II. Despite dropping to third place, it earned an estimated $17.2 million, a minimal drop-off of 46%, which is quite impressive for a sequel to a long-awaited film, let alone a horror sequel the week after Halloween. It has grossed roughly $60 million to date compared its $4 million production budget.

Sony Pictures' sequel The Legend of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, also held up well in its second weekend, earning roughly $10 million to bring its total over the $30 million mark.

Making it three for three, the Meryl Streep-Uma Thurman romantic comedy Prime rounded off the Top 5 with a terrific second weekend gross of $5.2 million, off only 15% from its opening weekend. It seems that Universal Pictures may have a decent word-of-mouth hit.

In sixth place, DreamWorks' own crowd pleaser Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, with Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, earned another $4.8 million bringing its box office take to just under $24 million.

George Clooney's Good Night, And Good Luck and Steve Martin's Shopgirl each doubled the number of theatres they were playing in this weekend, allowing both to enter the Top 10. Clooney's drama starring David Strathairn as newsman Edward Murrow moved up to #7 with $3.1 million, bringing its total earnings to about $11 million. The Steve Martin-penned drama starring Claire Danes made roughly $2.5 million in 493 theatres, averaging just over $5 thousand in each, for a move up to ninth place.

Paramount's The Weather Man, starring Nicholas Cage and Michael Caine, filled in the gap in eighth place with just under $3 million while Jodie Foster's thriller Flightplan held onto its place in the Top 10 for a second week with $2.3 million, bringing its total to an impressive $84 million.

The Charlize Theron drama North Country dropped out of the Top 10 with $2.1 million in its third weekend, while Sony's remake of John Carpenter's The Fog rounded out the Top 12 with an additional $2 million, bringing its total to $28 million after four weeks.

DreamWorks and Aardman Studios' Claymation film Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit hit the $50 million mark on Thursday, but it ended up dropping from #5 to #13 due to the presence of Disney's own G-rated animated film.

Despite the increase in box office from last week, the sum total of the Top 10 was still slightly down from the same weekend last year when Disney released Pixar's The Incredibles to a $70 million opening.