Sunday, August 06, 2006

Will Ferrell Drives Home a Talladega Hit


The big story of the weekend is Will Ferrell having his highest-opening movie ever with Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, reteaming him with director Adam McKay (Anchorman) for a comedy set in the world of NASCAR. It made an estimated $47 million over the weekend in over 3,800 theatres, an average of roughly $12,300 per theatre. Its the eighth-highest opening movie of 2006 and the third-highest comedy behind the animated Ice Age: The Meltdown and Cars. It's also the third-highest opening movie for the month of August after Rush Hour 2 and M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, doing slightly better than 2001's American Pie 2. It should be a nice feather in the cap for Ferrell, having opened a comedy higher than Click, the last comedy from Ferrell's former SNL castmate Adam Sandler, and with that kind of opening, it's highly likely that Talladega Nights will hold the top spot at the box office for two weeks in a row.

Paramount and Nickelodeon Films released the third computer animated movie in a row, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals, which made $16 million over the weekend, almost twice as much as last week's Warner Bros. release The Ant Bully but less than the opening of Sony Pictures' animated-comedy Monster House. (Just over a month ago, The Ant Bully moved to Barnyard's original release date of July 28, forcing Paramount to move it back a week, which ended up paying off.)

In its fifth weekend, Disney's action sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest dropped down to third with an additional $11 million. This bring its grand total to just under $380 million, putting it on the right track to cross the $400 million mark by the end of summer. Currently, it's the eighth-highest grossing movie domestically, and it will soon pass Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith on its way to try to pass Spider-Man.

On Friday, Neil Marshall's 2005 UK thriller The Descent was released Stateside by Lionsgate into over 2,000 theatres, taking advantage of the company's strength with horror, to gross $8.8 million, an average of $4,200, for fifth place.

Fox's surprise comedy hit John Tucker Must Die also took a massive tumble, dropping three places into sixth, just slightly ahead of Sony's animated comedy Monster House, both of them making roughly $6 million. Tucker has grossed $28.6 million to date, while Monster House has earned nearly twice that amount.

Warner Bros.' animated offering The Ant Bully, featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, followed last week's other new movies, dropping 53% and three places to #8 with $3.9 million over the weekend and a total of just $18.2 million in its first ten days.

The Owen Wilson-Kate Hudson comedy You, Me and Dupree remained in the Top 10, earning another $3.6 million to bring its total to $66.8 million. According to estimates, it grossed a mere $3,000 more than the new Robin Williams thriller The Night Listener, based on Armistead Maupin's bestseller, which opened in less than 1,400 theatres on Friday.

The Top 12 was rounded out by Fox's The Devil Wears Prada, which added another $3 million to its impressive $112 million box office take, while M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water continued to flounder, dropping another 62% with just $2.7 million. After its third weekend, the fantasy-thriller has only grossed $38.7 million, still less than the director's previous movie The Village made its opening weekend.

Fox Searchlight's road comedy, Little Miss Sunshine continued to bring in business as it added 51 theatres, averaging over $25 thousand, for a second weekend gross of $1.4 million. Having already grossed $2.1 million, it will continue to expand next weekend until its wide release on August 18.

Also opening in limited release, another Sundance favorite, the Mexican coming-of-age film QuinceaƱera, was released by Sony Pictures Classics into 8 theatres in New York and Los Angeles where it made $97 thousand.