Audiences ‘Get Smart’ Over the Weekend

Warner Brothers’ Get Smart won the battle of the comedies over the weekend, handily beating Paramount’s The Love Guru by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. Meanwhile, The Incredible Hulk and The Happening both posted massive second weekend drops. The overall box office was again very healthy as ticket sales were above last year for the fourth consecutive weekend.

Get Smart opened on top this weekend within range of expectations with a solid $39.2 million, according to weekend studio estimates, from an ultra wide 3,911 theaters. This makes it the largest start ever for a Steve Carell starring live action film topping Evan Almighty’s $31.2 million bow on this same weekend last year. It is also the largest opening for a live action comedy film so far this year. Even more encouraging for Smart, is the 5% Saturday increase over Friday in an industry where it’s more common for summer comedies to drop slightly on Saturday. Although, the increase is more likely attributed to the 25+ age group the film seems to be attracting in large numbers, a group who is not as inclined to rush out to a film on opening night.

Despite negative reactions both from critics and moviegoers, Evan Almighty was able to cross the $100 million mark with the help of typically strong late June/early July weekdays. $100 million should be an even easier task for Get Smart. It doesn’t face any direct competition until Hancock, still nearly two weeks away. The final target for Get Smart should be around $125 million.

Proving there is still at least some box office justice, The Love Guru flopped with an estimated 4th place $14 million launch from 3,012 theaters. This is by far the lowest opening of Mike Myers’ career since he became a household name after the success of Austin Powers. Awkward audience reactions to the movie’s ads and direct competition from fellow opener Get Smart cut into the potential of the $62 million budgeted Guru. Paramount had ample opportunity for months to move Guru‘s release to a more favorable date, such as next weekend, but instead chose to gamble that it would ultimately be the more appealing of the two high profile comedies. At this point, a $40 million total is about the best this film can hope for.

The Love Guru puts a dent in an otherwise exceptionally strong summer from Paramount, a studio that has released the three biggest hits of the summer so far: Iron Man, Indiana Jones 4, and Kung Fu Panda.

Speaking of Kung Fu Panda, the Jack Black led animated comedy continues to track a very similar course as Disney/Pixar’s Cars did two years ago. Holding at second place for the second week in a row, Panda fell just 35% for a $21.7 million weekend. Its $155.6 million total makes it the highest grossing animated film of the year topping Horton Hears a Who.

At the three spot, The Incredible Hulk fell a steep 61% in its sophomore weekend to $21.6 million. Although the Edward Norton led version held better than the 2003 Eric Bana led Hulk, which dove 70% in its second frame, this decline is still huge and maybe enough to convince Marvel Studios not to greenlight a future sequel. Another recent comic book reboot, Batman Begins back in 2005, fell only 43% in its second weekend. Incredible Hulk’s 10 day total stands at $96.5 million compared to $100.6 million for the 2003 version at the same point. The green giant will likely finish with a similar total as the 2003 version’s $132.2 million final total.

In fifth place, The Happening plummetted 67%, tying The Village for director M. Night Shyamalan’s largest second weekend decline. It’s $10 million weekend ups the cume to $50.3 million, and it will likely finish with around $65 million representing a very low 2.15 multiplier (total divided by opening weekend).

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull held reasonably well falling 43% in its fifth weekend for a $8.4 million and a new total of $290.1 million. It could cross $300 million as early as next weekend, which would be about ten days shorter than it took Iron Man to cross that milestone. You Don’t Mess the Zohan felt the heat of two new comedies, with a $7.2 million weekend, dropping 56%, and raising the 17 day total to $84.1 million. Unless the studio gives the film a push, Zohan may become the first Adam Sandler comedy in nearly a decade to fail to top $100 million.

Sex and the City fell a moderate 34% in its fourth weekend for a new total of $132.4 million. Sex may have enough room left to eventually penetrate the $150 million plateau since the film faces little direct competition for several weeks. Iron Man continues to hold exceptionally well dropping only 29% in its eight weekend. The $4 million weekend tally raises the Marvel Studios’ film to a huge $304.8 million, the highest of the year, and the second highest total ever for a non-sequel comic book movie behind only 2002’s Spider-Man. With a $1.9 million weekend and an impressive $49.6 million total from The Strangers, dropping 52%, the low budget horror film rounded out the top 10.

In limited release, Mongol expanded to 94 theaters and captured $744,000 in ticket sales representing a decent $7,914 per theater average. The Oscar nominee for best foreign language film about the rise of Genghis Khan has made off with $1.1 million so far and will continue to expand over the coming weeks. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, starring Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin, opened with a strong $223,000 from only 5 theaters for a year’s best $44,600 average per theater. Kittredge will expand into nationwide release on July 2 offering some counter-programming to young girls not interested in Hancock.

Still from \'Mongol\'

Still from ‘Mongol’

Next week, the highly anticipated Disney/Pixar film, Wall-E, opens as well as the Angelina Jolie headlined action film, Wanted. Both films appeal to different audiences so there should be room for both to thrive.

UPDATE (Monday, June 23): The actual weekend numbers are in, and the only major change is Incredible Hulk and Panda swapping places. Most movies were slightly underestimated.

1) Get Smart- $38.7 million, NEW, $38.7 million total

2) The Incredible Hulk- $22.1 million, -60%, $97.1 million total

3) Kung Fu Panda- $21.9 million, -35%, $155.8 million total

4) The Love Guru- $13.9 million, NEW, $13.9 million total

5) The Happening – $10.5 million, -66%, $50.7 million total

6) Indiana Jones 4- $8.5 million, -42%, $291 million total

7) Zohan- $7.5 million, -54%, $84.3 million total

8)Sex and the City- $6.5 million, -33%, $132.5 million

9) Iron Man- $4 million, -28%, $304.8 million total

10) The Strangers- $2.1 million, -47%, $49.8 million total

Limited release:

Mongol- $778,963, 94 theaters, $8,286 per theater, $1.15 million total

Kit Kittredge- $220,297, 5 theaters, $44,059 per theater, $220,297 total

Box office data source: the-numbers.com

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