bourne2.jpgSUNDAY AM: Universal told me that #1 The Bourne Ultimatum rocked the North American box office by opening to $24.5 million Friday and $25.4 million Saturday for a $70.1 mil weekend from 3,660 theaters. (Rival studios pegged the total at $69 mil.) That’s 42% market share in theaters crowded with summer blockbusters for the near perfectly reviewed pic and a bigger domestic debut than any Bond pic. Though Matt Damon has transformed himself from Pretty Boy to Danger Guy, 57% of moviegoers said he was the main reason for seeing The Bourne Ultimatum, skewing female, while 68% said it was the action, especially among younger males. Other Saturday night exit polling showed the movie attracted an audience 52% male and 48% female, made significant inroads with minorities (13% African Americans, 12% Hispanics, 7% Asians), and skewed age 30 and older (57% vs 43% under 30). The vast majority of the audience (94+%) had seen prior Bourne movies and 60% said that was the main reason for seeing the threequel. It did more than twice the June 2002 original The Bourne Identity (which opened to $27 mil) and way more than the July 2004 sequel The Bourne Supremacy (which debuted to $53 mil). Ratings of the movie broke down to 80% “Excellent/Very Good”, 40% “Excellent”, and 55% “Definitely Recommend”. Another strong sign was this PG-13 pic’s per screen average Saturday, a healthy $6,950. The only bad news is that I hear script tweaks and reshoots made the price of this Bourne creep upwards to $110 mil. But its domestic and international ticket receipts should hand Universal a hefty profit, nonetheless.

bart.jpgBourne doesn’t start to roll out until next weekend internationally where The Simpsons Movie continues to dominate the rest of the world. It is still No. 1 in most territories with some of the Industry’s best 2nd weekend ever #s (except France and Spain where Disney / Pixar’s Ratatouille opened this weekend) and boasts 40% market share. Homer, Marge and the rest of the family made $47.3 mil from 75 overseas markets this weekend for a $187 international total. In North America, 20th Century Fox told me Simpsons raked in another $25.6 mil weekend (-65% from last) from 3,926 theaters for a new gross of $128.5 million in just one week’s time. Though a four-quadrant hit, the toon is drawing heavily on kids since it went up 19% from Friday ($8.1 mil) to Saturday ($9.6 mil) when matinees rule.

underdog.jpgNo. 3 was the live action Underdog, which Disney told me opened to $4.1 mil Friday and $4.3 mil Saturday in 3,013 dates for a $12 mil weekend. Universal’s other movie in the Top 10, #4 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, the Adam Sandler-Kevin James laugher, had a weekend take of $10.5 mil from 3,290 runs to pull off a 17-day cume of $91.6 mil. No. 5 went to Warner’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix whose hot new cume is now $260.9 mil after squeezing out another $9.4 mil weekend starting its 4th week in release. In 6th place is New Line’s Hairspray, starring John Travolta in drag, which slowed to a $9.1 mil weekend from 3,115 theaters for a new cume of $78.9 mil. Warner’s holdover chick flick with Catherine Zeta-Jones, No Reservations, clung to #7 after cooking up only $6.4 mil weekend (-45% from last) from 2,425 plays for a weak new cume of $19.7 mil.

hotrod.JPGNo. 8 went to the Paramount and DreamWorks pic Transformers, which has finally run out of steam after five incredible weeks at the box office. The battling bots added another $5.9 mil weekend from 2,419 dates for a huge new cume of $296.3 mil, the studio said. It should break the near-impossible $300 mil domestic barrier by next weekend. In 9th place, Paramount’s poorly reviewed comedy Hot Rod, starring Saturday Night Live’s Andy Samberg as an accident-prone stuntman, barely opened. the studio said it made just $5 mil this weekend from 2,607 theaters. Saturday’s per screen average was a pathetic $665, lowest of the Top 10, showing Samberg ain’t no young Adam Sandler. And, bringing up the rear of the Top 10, Bratz was the Lionsgate flop everyone thought it would be. The tweener pic barely opened with $1.7 mil Friday and Saturday from 1,509 runs for what was a poor $4.5 mil weekend.

elencantante.jpgFinally, El Cantante, starring Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony in the Picturehouse biopic of Puerto Rican salsa sensation Hector Lavoe, debuted at No. 12. Platforming in just 542 theaters, it scored $1 mil Friday and Saturday for a $2.9 mil weekend. The film did so-so with a Saturday per screen average of 1,990, the 4th highest of the weekend. Only Bourne, Simpsons and Miramax’s No. 16 film Becoming Jane (playing in 100 venues) did better per screen.