SUNDAY AM: America liked this filthy yet funny comedy as Knocked Up laughed its way to $29.2 million its first weekend and scored the fifth biggest R-rated comedy opening ever. It jumped a highly unusual +18% from Friday to Saturday, an indication of the film’s good word of mouth and reviews. knockedup2.jpgThe second-place pic not only knocked on Jack Sparrow’s door this weekend, it entered in many parts of the country. On Friday, it shocked fatiguing Pirates 3 by finishing as the No. 1 movie in America’s Midwest and central South. Johnny Depp and the gang managed only the 19th best second weekend opening with $43.2 million domestically this weekend despite playing in 4,362 venues (-62.4%). It’s lagging behind P2 in the franchise, which had 3rd best second weekend debut. “What all these sequels are not getting is the steady repeat business. Audiences, instead of seeing their favorite films twice, know the next big juggernaut is right around the corner and they are going to those movies instead,” said one of my box office gurus. A Disney exec pointed out that this summer’s openings have been super-sized, and that’s hurting 2nd and 3rd weekends in release. “The business is changing when it comes to big tentpole films. The real testament is to the distribution folks and that during opening weekends they are able to make seats and screens available to anyone and everyone who wants to see the movie.”

Overall, Knocked Up came in 2nd place with $9.9 million Friday, $11.4 mil Saturday and a projected $7.7 mil Sunday from 2,871 theaters. Total is equivalent to the $30M cost of the pic. Even Uni’s most optimistic expectations didn’t anticipate the raunchy laugher to play as well in the heartland as it did in urban centers and college towns. It indexed high with both white and Latino audiences, and nearly half of its moviegoers went with their spouse. The audience also was evenly divided between older than age 30 and younger than 30. The pic’s producer/ director/ writer Judd Apatow outdid his previous 40-Year-Old Virgin, knockedupmore.jpgwhich scored a $21M opening weekend in 2,845 theaters and went on to earn $109M domestically and $177M worldwide. (See my previous, Universal Thanks Judd Apatow A Million.) Amazingly, its gross receipts were not that far behind Disney’s mega-pic Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End which mustered only $13.2M Friday (-69%) $18.4M Saturday (-51%) and a projected $13.4M (-61%) from 4,362 venues. At L.A.’s famed El Capitan Theater, P3 sold out all five shows Saturday and is sold out tonight as well. But its $45.1M weekend badly trails Spider-Man 3 which took in $60M at the start of its second week out. And the Jack Sparrow threequel’s new North American cume of $218.4M is behind the Sony record-breaker in biz domestically. (Remember, there’s a huge catfight between the two studios over foreign and global records…) Since both pics were reviewed poorly, P3‘s ass-numbing running time of 2 hours and 48 minutes made the difference as well as increased competition. Unlike P3, SM3 has out-performed the original Spider-Man (released in 2002) to become the highest grossing film in the franchise. Its cume has now exceeded $844M in worldwide receipts. Pirates 3‘s global cume is now $625.3M.

kevin_costner1.jpgDreamWorks Animation’s Shrek The Third took in $26.7M from 4,109 playdates thanks to hefty Saturday kiddie matinees. Its new cume is an excellent $254.6M — behind the franchise’s #2 but nearly par with #1. MGM newcomer Mr. Brooks trotted out has-beens Kevin Costner and Demi Moore with little effect: it eked out a $9.6M opening from 2,453 theaters. Spider-Man 3 continues its downward spin because of a crowded field and fewer theaters, earning $7.5M from 3,402 venues. But its cume is a whopping $318.2M. Fox Searchlight’s Waitress starring Felicity’s Keri Russell continues to surprise; with just 605 playdates, it’s the No. 6 movie with $2M and a new cume of $9.4M. Picturehouse’s soccer gal pic Gracie opened weakly at #7, making only $1.4M from 1,164 theaters. Lionsgate’s Bug directed by The Exorcist‘s Billy Friedkin is under-performing at No. 8: with a new cume of only $6.1M, it squeezed out $1.2M from 1,661 venues. Ninth place went to Fox Atomic’s 28 Weeks Later zombie pic that scored $1.2M from 1,121 playdates starting its 4th week out. It has a new cume of $26.5M. And, rounding out the Top 10, DreamWorks / Paramount’s Disturbia tween-teen thriller, even 8 weeks in release, still added another $1.1M from 1,035 venues for a new cume of $76.7M.
Here’s the Top 10 chart:

  1. 1. Pirates 3 $12.9M Fri, $18.1M Sat, and est $12.2M Sun. (cume $216.5M)
  2. 2. Knocked Up $9.9M Fri, $11.4M Sat, and est $7.7M Sun. ($29.2M)
  3. 3. Shrek the Third 3 $7.3M Fri, $11.3M Sat, and est $7.6M Sun. ($254.6M)
  4. 4. Mr. Brooks $3M Fri, $3.9M Sat, and est $2.6M Sun. ($9.6M)
  5. 5. Spider-Man 3 $2M Fri, $3.2M Sat, and est $2.2M Sun. ($318.2M)
  6. 6. Waitress $550K Fri, $865K Sat, and est $585K Sun. ($9.4M)
  7. 7. Gracie $425K Fri, $540K Sat, and est $435K Sun. ($1.4M)
  8. 8. Bug $385K Fri, $515K Sat, and est $350K Sun. ($6.1M)
  9. 9. 28 Weeks Later $350K Fri, $475K Sat, and est $375K Sun. ($26.5M)
  10. 10. Disturbia $356K Fri, $467K Sat, and est $265K Sun. ($76.7M)