Monday, July 17, 2006

Clash of the Colossal Comedies


Following a week that broke most of the box office records, Walt Disney Pictures' Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, starring Johnny Depp et all, came back down to earth with a second weekend gross of $62.2 million, a drop of 54% from its opening weekend. While it's only the third highest grossing second weekend after Spider-Man and Shrek 2, its current gross of $258 million in a mere ten days puts it ahead of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith for that record, as well as making it the highest grossing movie of '06. It's already taken the record for the fastest movie to gross $200 million, and the way things are going, it will likely be the fastest to gross $300 million, which it should make by next Saturday. Dead Man's Chest also earned an additional $58 million internationally, pushing its overseas total to $125 million. It has collected $383.2 million worldwide.

The real story of the weekend though was the tight race between two critically-panned comedies, both which apparently hoped to capitalize on the succcess of other dumb comedies this year.

Kenan Ivory Wayans and the Wayans Brood returned with Little Man, released by Sony Pictures into just over 2,500 theatres, where it grossed $21.7 million, an average of $8,566 per theatre. By comparison, Universal's comedy alternative, You, Me and Dupree, a third wheel "home intruder" comedy with Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon, made $21.3 million in over 500 more theatres, averaging $6,815. It might come down to the actual weekend grosses, reported on Monday afternoon, to see whether the Wayans are able to hold off Wilson, although the fact that both movies made more than $21 million is a good sign for the strength of comedies at the box office. Then again, the release of two more comedies this coming Friday might put an end to the current trend.

Bryan Singer and Warner Bros' Superman Returns took a smaller hit in its third weekend as it dropped down to fourth place, earning $11.6 million and bringing its total gross to $163.6 million. It has earned slightly more than the WB's Batman Begins in the same period, but it still has quite a bit to go if it wants to be considered profitable, since it cost so much more to make.

20th Century Fox's fashionable comedy The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, continues to do well, and a third weekend drop-off of 30% is showing that it has definite legs. Grossing $10.5 million in its third weekend brings its total gross to $83.5 million, more than twice its $35 million production budget, making it one of the more profitable summer releases.

The Disney/Pixar animated-comedy Cars, also featuring the voice of Owen Wilson, made an additional $7.5 million in its sixth weekend in theatres, pulling ahead of Adam Sandler's Click while dropping to sixth place. Cars' total gross of just under $220 million currently makes it the third highest grossing movie of 2006 with a chance of pulling ahead of X-Men: The Last Stand by summer's end, though it faces three back-to-back animated comedies in the coming weeks. Click added another $7 million to its box office take of $119.7 million, dropping from fourth down to seventh this weekend with the introduction of the new comedies.

The only other significant move in the Top 10 is the romantic drama The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock pulling ahead of Jack Black's Nacho Libre in their respective fifth weekends. The latter made nearly twice as much as the former their opening weekend.

Richard Linklater's animated adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly expanded into 217 theatres, allowing it to enter the Top 10 with $1.18 million, an average of $5,846 per theatre.

Meanwhile, Al Gore's environmental doc An Inconvenient Truth added another $1.1 million to its box office take of just under $17 million, keeping it in the Top 12 for an eighth week. The former Vice President's cover story in the new Entertainment Weekly should continue the movie's impressive run.