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Hollywood attempted to squeeze a few more dollars out of a record summer by launching a handful of midrange movies that mostly came up short at the North American boxoffice during the weekend. But the strength of the holdovers kept the ticket-takers busy, especially Sony Pictures’ raunchy, R-rated “Superbad,” which held down the top spot for the second weekend in a row.
Summer-to-date, The Hollywood Reporter estimates that total boxoffice has reached an estimated $4.11 billion, surpassing the record of $4.009 billion set during summer 2004.
Following in the footsteps of “Spider-Man 3” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Superbad” — from producer Judd Apatow — became only the third film in this competitive summer to reign as leader of the pack for two weekends in a row. Falling off just 45% from its first weekend, the comedy took in $18 million, raising its domestic cume to $68.6 million.
In its fourth weekend of release, Universal Pictures’ spy chase “The Bourne Ultimatum” demonstrated an even stronger hold, declining just 37% from the previous weekend. “Bourne” collected an additional $12.5 million, enough to earn it the second slot and a new cume of $185.3 million.
New Line Cinema’s action comedy “Rush Hour 3,” in its third weekend, also survived the onslaught of new films. Falling 45%, it attracted nearly $10 million as it crossed the $100 million mark — the 19th film this year to do so — and reached a domestic cume of $108.5 million.
The G-rated comedy “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” from Universal and Working Title and starring British comedian Rowan Atkinson, proved the most potent of the weekend’s new arrivals. Debuting in 1,714 theaters, it scored $9.89 million to squeeze into fourth place overall. Hot on its heels was Lionsgate’s R-rated action pic “War,” starring Jet Li and Jason Statham, which bowed in 2,277 theaters and grossed $9.82 million.
Finishing in sixth place was MGM’s release of the Weinstein Co.’s “The Nanny Diaries,” a satirical look at child care on New York’s Upper East side starring Scarlett Johansson and Laura Linney. Although the PG-13 film enjoyed the widest bow of the new arrivals, setting up shop in 2,629 theaters, its weekend gross was just $7.5 million.
The Yari Film Group’s “Resurrecting the Champ,” Rod Lurie’s dramatic study of the relationship between a sportswriter and a down-on-his-luck boxer starring Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson, met even more resistance. Going against the grain of the late-summer escapism, the PG-13 film entered the ring in 1,605 theaters but made just $1.7 million for the weekend. In 15th place, it grossed just $1,059 per theater.
Right behind it, in 16th place, Universal’s crime tale “Illegal Tender,” directed by Franc. Reyes, achieved a stronger per-theater average of $2,734, but because it bowed in just 512 theaters, its weekend haul was held to $1.4 million.
The most painful debut of the weekend belonged to director Christopher Cain’s “September Dawn,” the re-creation of a 19th century massacre committed by a band of Mormons. Released through Slowhand Releasing, the R-rated film found just $901,857 in 857 theaters, notching a per-theater average of just $1,052.
Cumulatively, the frame marked the seventh weekend in a row in which boxoffice was stronger than the comparable weekend a year ago. The 108 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter collectively grossed $108.5 million, a 5% improvement compared with the $103 million grossed during the comparable frame in 2006.
On the specialty film front, Miramax Films’ “Becoming Jane,” in its fourth weekend, picked up $1.9 million in 1,210 theaters to bring its cumulative gross to $12.7 million.
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