Sunday, August 03, 2008

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Fraser's Fanaticism

Who cares about opening at the top of the box office when you can have two titles in the Top 5? Right? How cool is that? Ok, fine. I’m sure THE DARK KNIGHT folks are tickled purple that they narrowly held off the competition to secure a rare three consecutive weekends at the top of the heap. But, I’ll tell you who doesn’t care … Brandon Fraser, that’s who. This guy puts out one mind numbing, crowd-pleasing hit after another and consistently delivers the cash. And now, with the number two debut of THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR and the slight 29% drop for JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3D, Fraser finds himself headlining two big hits at the same time.

Meanwhile, THE DARK KNIGHT camp continues to command the attention of every man, woman and child on the planet (not surprisingly, the Batman sequel is doing boffo business overseas as well). It drops off a very respectful 42% in its third week and is will close in on $400 million before Monday is up.

THE MUMMY (above) people should be happy they managed as well as they did. This may not be the kind of movie that people read reviews for but this is by far one of the worst reviewed films of the year. It’s supposed to be worst than THE LOVE GURU people! (I cannot back this up as I have carefully avoided both titles.) The $42 million take is a far cry from the $65+ million take of the last mummy movie from seven years ago. In fact, this debut marks the worst for the series, which falls perfectly in line with the critical consensus.

The only other debut the Top 10 saw this weekend is barely worth mentioning. Opening in sixth place and soon to be forgotten in the Kevin Costner starring, SWING VOTE. There, that’s about as much attention as it deserves.

Moving on, the Top 10 saw very strong holds for a number of its titles. This might mean that summer is slowing down and some might be finally catching up with the titles they missed or perhaps just that these films are that good. Who knows? Still, the numbers don’t lie and five titles in this week’s Top 10 saw drops below 40%. The aforementioned JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, WALL-E and MAMMA MIA! saw drops even lower, under 30%. Meanwhile, THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE must have found its few scant believers last weekend as the film, which only made $10 million last weekend, fell off over 65% this weekend. Maybe Mulder & Scully could investigate the unsolved case of why no one cared about their movie. They aren't doing anything else anyway.

Below the Top 10, the art house scene is finally alive and well after being overshadowed by the summer blockbusters. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED (above) continues its successful, aggressive expansion. Adding over 150 screens pushed its business nearly 250% and it might even find itself sitting comfortably in the Top 10 next weekend when it adds another chunk of screens across the country. If you thought an increase of 250% was impressive, how about 280%. This is a feat boasted by Sundance favorite, AMERICAN TEEN. The documentary about today’s teens added 34 screens and will continue to roll out in the weeks to come. Meanwhile, the highest per screen average of any film playing belongs to TRANSSIBERIAN, a Brad Anderson thriller starring Woody Harrelson. In its third week, the film pulled in an average of $15K per screen on just two screens.

NEXT WEEK: Opening early on Wednesday, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS looks to hit the young, both the stoned and the sober but they best be quick because the “highly anticipated” THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 is opening two short days later. All the girls from the original have returned but unfortunately, the jeans have been worn out.

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