MONDAY AM: Saturday’s Fourth Of July box office was even lower across the board than the studios expected. But the 5-day domestic holiday weekend blasted off with something for everyone: families, fanboys, and adults fed up there’s been almost nothing for them in movie theaters. Fox’s Ice Age 3-D: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opened very promisingly with $13.8 million Wednesday, $11.2M Thursday, $17.1M Friday, and $11.3M Saturday, and $13.1 Sunday from 4,099 venues for a $41.6M 3-day weekend — in a photo finish with Transformers 2. The battle was decided by Monday’s actuals. Rival studios claimed Ice Age 3-D wasn’t tracking well with young boys, and that’s why 20th sneaked it at 330 theaters recently. But Fox said it “added an additional marketing layer prior to the onslaught of TF2“. And the studio was right to pursue that strategy. With the public clearly not tiring of 3-D toons, the threequel should come out on top with a $67.5M 5-day holiday even though Saturday grosses were weak.
Internationally, Ice Age 3-D opened with a humongous $148M from 101 markets. Of a total of 11,652 screens, 3D represented 18% or 2,126 screens, contributing an estimated $51M, or 34% of the total opening. This made for the highest grossing animated film opening weekend ever, the highest grossing 3-D film ever, and the 6th highest grossing opening weekend of all time. The threequel still has not opened in China, Japan, Korea and Italy. With the estimated domestic cume of $67.5M, the global opening weekend gross is an estimated $215M.
The toon stayed neck and neck all weekend with the $42.5M July Fourth weekend and $65M five-day holiday for Paramount’s Tranformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen. The robot sequel took in $10.9 million Wednesday from its still gigantic release into 4,234 dates (-82% from its record-smashing opening day a week ago), and took back the No. 1 title with $11.5M Thursday and $17.9M Friday, only to lose it Saturday with $10.6M but gain it back Sunday with $13.6. So even though the pic has been panned, it’s clearly got strong legs. The actioner’s domestic cume is now a huge $300.5M for 12 days and just passed Up and Star Trek to become the highest-grossing pic of 2009. This weekend it scored $55M overseas so that’s over $300.5M from international, and a new worldwide total of a staggering $593.9M.
Despite strong tracking and positive reviews, Universal had been nervous about the debut of Public Enemies because so many adult-oriented pics have failed in recent weeks. (So were exhibitors. According to a report slipped to me by a rival studio, they were disappointed with the story, felt it lacked the promised action, and squirmed when it was too long.) But the well marketed combination of Michael Mann and Johnny Depp is luring adult filmgoers hungry for another original and artistic crime saga which is a rarity in this summer of remakes, reboots and reheated sequels. The expensive gangster pic opened to $8 million Wednesday, $6.7M Thursday, $10.1M Friday, and $6.8M Saturday from 3,334 runs. That’s $26.1M for the July Fourth weekend and $41M for the 5-day holiday (a little more than Uni had projected in order to lower expectations). But you won’t hear audible sighs coming from Black Tower unless Public Enemies shows legs and passes $100M domestic.
Disney’s The Proposal came in #4 with $12.7M this weekend from 3,099 plays and a new cume of $94.2M. In 5th place, Warner Bros’ The Hangover just keeps going on and on and for a $10.4 weekend from 3,070 venues for a new cume of $204.1M. Close for #6, Pixar/Disney’s Up made $6.5M this weekend from 2,656 theaters for a new cume of $264.8M. New Line/Warner Bros’ My Sisters Keeper came in No. 7 and took in $5.2M this weekend from 2,606 runs for a new cume of $25.9M.
Sony’s The Taking Of Pelham 123 was 8th with $2.5M this weekend from 1,908 theaters and cume of $58.4M. Sony’s bomb Year One came in #9 with $2.1M this weekend from 2,240 dates for a $38M cume. And, rounding out the Top 10, Fox’s Night at the Museum 2: Battle Of The Smithsonian earned $2.1M this weekend from 1,419 runs for new cume of $167.7M.
In Week 2 of its llimited release, Summit Entertainment’s well received The Hurt Locker earned received $126,000 this weekend from 9 theaters including NY & LA. It’s cume to date is $365K. The pic expands into 17 more markets on July 10th.
This weekend, total box office looks like $162M, slightly up 1.4% from last year and close to the 2004 record. But, again, the July Fourth drop-off experienced Saturday can’t be exaggerated.