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Traffic Thins for Rush Hour

August 13th, 2007

As expected, Rush Hour 3 took first place this weekend and helped the overall box office hit $155 million. This was 12% lower than last weekend, but the summer season is wrapping up, so week-to-week drop-offs like this are to be expected. More importantly, it was up nearly 20% from the same weekend last year.

Rush Hour 3 may have won the weekend race with ease, but it was a Pyhrric victory as it failed to live up to industry expectations. It was able to match our expectations nearly perfectly as it pulled in $49.10 million over the weekend. Looking at the positives, this was easily the best total this weekend, the fourth biggest August opening of all time and the movie should have no problem hitting $100 million before its run is over. Then again, it is also $18 million less than Rush Hour 2 opened with six years ago, which is a substantial drop-off even before taking ticket price inflation into account, and not an impressive opening for a film that cost a reported $180 million to make. Add in reviews that were at the horrendous level and the Sequel Effect and this film will likely collapse this coming weekend and disappear from theaters shortly afterward, most likely before it can top Rush Hour's total of $141 million. I can't see the studio making another installment in this franchise, which is bad news for its fans and terrible news for Chris Tucker.

Second place went to The Bourne Ultimatum, which was able to recover from downbeat weekday numbers to add $32.88 million over the weekend for a total of $131.55 million after 10 days. This puts the film on course to hit $200 million, more or less. It might not make it there without a small boost from the studio, but I think it will come close enough that they will help it over the top. This would make it the eighth film to hit $200 million (assuming Ratatouille makes it there first), and that would tie the record with at least a few fall / winter releases looking to break the mark set in 2005.

The Simpsons Movie was able to match expectations nearly perfectly, sort of. On Thursday we said it would drop 55%, which it did, adding $11.27 million over the weekend. However, we also said that with a 55% drop-off it would make $14 million over the weekend, but I'm chalking that up to a simple math error. At this pace, the film will end its run with roughly $175 million, which is enough to earn a profit before taking into account international or home market numbers. On the other hand, it will become the first film to open with more than $70 million and not reach $200 million at the box office.

Next up is Stardust with $9.17 million, which was a disappointing opening especially in light of its strong reviews. As much as I would like to find positives about this film's opening, I just can't. It was weaker than The Brothers Grimm and even with weak competition, it won't last long in theaters. On the other hand, early word is positive on the international market and it should find a second life on DVD.

Hairspray managed to climb a spot to fifth with $6.40 million over the weekend for a total of $92.14 million. This makes $100 million academic at this point while it might give studios the impression that movie musicals are staging a comeback.

The next wide release was Daddy Day Camp, which bombed with just $3.40 million over the weekend and $4.89 million since Wednesday. Given its reviews, its legs will be short and it might not make $10 million during its entire run. Hopefully this will put an end to sequels missing the original star, but with reports of Ace Ventura, Jr. in the works, I fear it won't be.

The final wide release was Skinwalkers, although at just 737 theaters, it is not a true wide release. However, its advertising campaign was more aggressive than most of the true wide releases and some thought it could challenge for a spot in the top ten. It couldn't. In fact, with $754,000 over the weekend, it was closer to missing the top 20 than reaching the top ten. Factoring in reviews suggests it will be all but gone by next Friday.

Moving onto the sophomore class, there was only one such film that performed moderately well. Underdog was down less than 50% to $6.35 million for the weekend and $24.64 million in total. This isn't enough to be a career highlight for anyone involved, but not as bad as expected. On the other hand, Hot Rod is doing worse than expected, down more than 58% to $2.22 million over the weekend and $11.02 million in total. Only a low production budget will save this film from being a career killer. The same can be said for Bratz as it was down more than 66% to $1.42 million over the weekend and $7.57 million in total. Its run so far makes Material Girls look like Mean Girls. El Cantante was close behind with $1.40 million over the weekend and $5.58 million in total, which precludes any expansion.

A couple of final notes. Firstly, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry reached $100 million over the weekend. Secondly, The Transformers managed to reach $300 million. The latter milestone was more significant as it was the fourth film to reach that milestone this year, which is a new record.


Filed under: Transformers, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Simpsons Movie, Rush Hour 3, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Hairspray, Underdog, Stardust, Hot Rod, Daddy Day Camp, Bratz, El Cantante, Skinwalkers