Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Racin' and Rasslin' Rule the Box Office


On Friday, Jack Black's Mexican wrestling comedy Nacho Libre earned close to $11 million, slightly more than Universal's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and two million more than Disney/Pixar's latest animated feature, Cars, but the Pixar movie used the family business over the weekend to make up the difference, enough to eek out a second weekend at #1.

With a 48% drop-off, possibly the worst decline for a Pixar movie to date, Cars ended up with an estimated $31.2 million in its second weekend, bringing its total to $114.5 million. At this point, it doesn't look like it will be replicating the box office success of Pixar's previous movies, but it could end up making over $160 million.

Directed by Napoleon Dynamite helmer Jared Hess, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon's PG comedy Nacho Libre made roughly $27.5 million over the weekend, enough for a solid second place, while becoming Jack Black's highest opening comedy to date with an average of $8,961 in its 3,070 theatres.

Its prime competition for teen and older males, Univeral's street racing threequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, lost another director and another star, but it earned just over $24 million its opening weekend. That might seem like chump change compared to the previous installment's $50 million opening, but it's still impressive considering the amount of competition for its audience this time around, but it still averaged $1,000 less per theatre than Nacho Libre.

Univeral's romantic comedy The Break-Up, starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, dropped down to 5th place with an additional $9.5 million, a 53% drop-off, which brought its box office total to $91.9 million in three weeks.

The bottom half of the Top 10 featured a trio of 20th Century Fox sequels and remakes:

With an estimated $7.2 million, the family sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, starring Jim Davis' popular comic strip cat, once again voiced by Bill Murray, was a tragic disappointment compared to the $21.7 million opening of the original movie, which went on to gross over $75 million over the summer of '04. It would have the honor of being Fox's first sequel of 2006 to fail miserably.

On the other hand, Fox's successful sequel, X-Men: The Last Stand, added another $7.1 million to end up in 6th place just below Garfield. Its $215 million gross in less than a month keeps it well ahead of the pack in terms of being 2006's highest grossing movie.

While the ironic 66.6% drop for The Omen may be great for Fox's marketing campaign for the horror remake, it's not a very good sign of the movie's long-term appeal. It grossed roughly $5.3 million in its second weekend to bring its box office take to just under $47 million.

Sony's controversial The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, declared a more pronounced victory over its regular sparring partner, DreamWorks' Over the Hedge in their fifth weekend in theatres. Although the former added another $5 million to its box office take, it's yet to cross the $200 million mark, but it's within strinking distance with $198.5 million so far. Rounding out the Top 10, Over the Hedge added another $4 million, a 60% drop due to the influx of more family films, to bring its total to $139 million.

Just outside the top 10, Robert Altman's movie based on Garrison Keillor's radio show A Prairie Home Companion added another $2.6 million, a 43% decline from its impressive opening weekend, while the global warming doc An Inconvenient Truth, starring former Vice President Al Gore, expanded into 404 theatres and added another $1.7 million, bringing its total to $6.4 million in four weeks of what is still considered a limited release.

Opening in two theatres in New York City, the popular Sundance documentary Wordplay, chronicling the appeal of the New York Times crossword puzzle, earned $35 thousand this weekend, almost twice as much as Kevin Bacon's directorial debut Loverboy, which opened in twice as many theatres.