SUNDAY AM: New Line Cinema confirmed today that its Rush Hour threequel made only $50.2 million at the box office this weekend. Even using the studio’s higher than rivals reported figures of $19.1 million Friday and $17.1 million Saturday from 3,778 theaters, the action buddy comedy clearly disappointed. The poorly reviewed movie, directed by Brett Ratner and starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, couldn’t do as well as Rush Hour 2, which in 2001 opened to $67.4 mil. Other problems for the troubled studio is that the film went wildly overbudget and set a new Hollywood salary high. Tucker earns $25 million against 20% of gross, and his deal comes with a second-picture commitment for the same salary on a film to be determined later. Chan gets around $15 million against 15% of gross, but he also owns the film’s distribution rights in China and Hong Kong (but the Beijing government nixed the pic’s distribution). Ratner gets a jump on the upfront part of the $5 million-against-5% gross deal he had on “Rush Hour 2.” And screenwriter Jeff Nathanson is paid seven figures. How can the studio make money when it gives away 40% of the gross?
No doubt having another big action movie still atop the box office hurt RH3. Universal’s holdover The Bourne Ultimatum was a strong No. 2, raking in $33.6 million ($10.4 mil Friday and $13.3 million Saturday) from 3,686 runs, according to the studio. That’s down only 51% from a week ago, and its new cume is already $132.7 mil. Overseas, The Bourne Ultimatum just opened in 11 international territories and 350 locations and is 97% ahead of the original Bourne and 58% ahead of the second installment in the franchise after this weekend.
Ending its third weekend in release, 20th Century Fox’s The Simpsons Movie hung in for #3, earning $3.5 mil Friday and $4.2 mil Saturday from 3,552 venues for a $11.1 mil weekend and new cume of $152.2 mil.
Which brings me to the No. 4 film, Paramount’s Stardust, which totally tanked at its 2,540 venues this weekend, making only $8.6 mil despite decent reviews. (The studio claims it’s $9 mil). But the romantic action fantasy starring Claire Danes, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sienna Miller was a difficult movie to market (and the trailers were lousy). The only good news is that Paramount is on the hook for only 50% of the $70 mil budget, and the studio is counting on overseas numbers to be better thanks to an international cast.
The rest of the Top 10 had the air sucked out of their gross ticket receipts. New Line’s Hairspray improved from Friday to Saturday for #5 with $6.5 mil this weekend from 2,805 dates and a new cume of $92.1 mil. At No. 6, Disney’s bow-wow of a live action movie, Underdog, continues to disappoint, taking in just $6.4 mil this weekend (-44% compared to its opening) from 3,013 plays for a meager new cume of $24.7 mil. Universal’s comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry moved down to the 7th spot with $5.9 mil this weekend from 2,799 venues and a new cume of $103.8 mil. Finishing No. 8, Warner’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix has slowed at the box office making only $5.4 mil this weekend from 2,585 theaters with a new cume of $272 million. This fivequel looks to finish either the second or third biggest domestically of the Harry Potter franchise.
Warner’s No Reservations starring Catherine Zeta-Jones eked out 9th place with $3.9 mil this weekend from 2,053 runs for a new cume of $32.1 mil. And, in the 10th spot, Sony / Revolution’s sequel Daddy Day Camp with Cuba Gooding Jr., after a stillborn debut on Wednesday, earned $3.5 mil this weekend from 2,332 venues for a paltry new cume of $5 mil. But Sony sources remind that the pic was a direct-to-home entertainment title made for next to nothing. The pic only got a theatrical push after execs saw the film and thought it could do modest late summer biz. “To come out of weekend with almost as much as we put into it is solid, and the film will do just fine for the studio,” an insider told me. (Uh, if you say so.)
Meanwhile, Miramax’s holdover Becoming Jane finished just out of the Top 10 Friday with $2.8 mil this weekend from only 601 theaters for a new cume of $4.9 mil. But LGF/After Dark’s Skinwalkers barely registered with just a $553K debut this weekend from 737 venues. Another newcomer, IDP/Goldwyn’s 2 Days In Paris made $149K this weekend from just $8 mil but had the best per screen average of all the movies playing.
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