Weekend traffic is heavy even with less 'Rush Hour'

Overall gains despite tepid bows

As the final sequel of the summer to roll into the North American marketplace, New Line Cinema's "Rush Hour 3" demonstrated plenty of horsepower but ran out of gas before reaching the boxoffice heights that "Rush Hour 2" achieved in 2001.

The third film in the buddy-cop action franchise starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan — with Brett Ratner again at the helm — "Rush Hour 3" grossed $49.1 million in 3,788 theaters in its debut weekend, posting a souped-up $12,962 per theater. But the six years between the lastest installment in the series and its predecessor — as well as the fact that Tucker has not been seen onscreen since — might have hampered the PG-13 film, which came nowhere close to the $67.4 million bow of the second "Rush Hour."

"Rush Hour 3" also had to contend with the fact that Universal Pictures' "The Bourne Ultimatum," which led the charts the previous weekend, didn't cede ground easily as it moved to the second spot. The amped-up spy tale starring Matt Damon fell 53% but took in an additional $32.9 million, raising its domestic cume to $131.6 million.

The weekend's other new arrivals came up short. Paramount Pictures' fantasy "Stardust," with a lustrous cast that includes Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro, didn't spread much enchantment. The PG-13 film, directed by Matthew Vaughn ("Layer Cake"), opened in fourth place to $9.2 million in 2,540 theaters.

Sony Pictures tested the theatrical waters with "Daddy Day Camp," from its TriStar Pictures label. A sequel to 2003's hit "Daddy Day Care," which starred Eddie Murphy, the new PG movie — with Cuba Gooding Jr. stepping in for Murphy and former child star Fred Savage directing — originally was considered a candidate for a direct-to-video release. In retrospect, that might have been the simpler route; released in 2,332 theaters, "Camp" debuted in 10th place with a weekend gross of $3.4 million.

Nevertheless, the overall box-office improved compared with the same frame a year ago, when Sony's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" topped the list in its second weekend with a take of $22.1 million. The 102 films tracked during the latest weekend by The Hollywood Reported grossed $154.4 million, up more than 19% from the comparable frame in 2006.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox's "The Simpsons Movie," in third place overall, picked up another $11.3 million, bringing its domestic tally to $152.4 million. Showing real staying power, New Line's musical "Hairspray" rose from sixth place the previous weekend to fifth this time around, grossing $6.4 million for a cume of $92.1 million.

Although it finished in 11th place, the DreamWorks/ Paramount action movie "Transformers" became the fourth film this year to cross the $300 million mark domestically as its weekend take of $3.2 million brought its total to $302.9 million.

On the specialty film front, Miramax Films added 501 screens to its run of the period romance "Becoming Jane." In its second weekend, the film attracted $2.9 million in 601 theaters for a cume of $4.5 million.

In its second weekend, Picturehouse's Latin-flavored biopic "El Cantante" took in $1.4 million in 537 theaters, raising its cume to $5.6 million.

Samuel Goldwyn Films, through its IDP distribution arm, introduced the Julie Delpy-directed "2 Days in Paris" in 10 theaters, where it grossed $173,641.

Picturehouse also went out in six theaters with the high school-set "Rocket Science," which grossed $58,536. The film earned helmer Jeffrey Blitz a directing award this year at thee Sundance Film Festival.