‘Die Another Day’ Rules Another Weekend
LOS ANGELES (AP) – “Die Another Day” has won another weekend at the box office.
The James Bond flick, which debuted as the No. 1 movie two weeks earlier, returned to the top spot with $13 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The mobster-in-therapy sequel “Analyze That,” starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, had a weaker debut than the original movie, opening with $11.3 million. “Analyze This” had premiered with $18.4 million in 1999 on its way to a total gross of $106.7 million.
“We’ll just have to see how it holds up,” said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released “Analyze That.” “Hopefully, we can use this weekend as a springboard to get word of mouth out there and continue through the holidays.”
Last weekend’s top film, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” slipped to third place with $10 million, lifting its total to $213.9 million in just over three weeks.
John Leguizamo’s drug and gangster drama “Empire” opened strongly in narrower release, grossing $6.3 million and coming in at No. 4. Playing in 867 theaters, “Empire” averaged a healthy $7,235 a cinema, compared with a $4,288 average in 2,635 theaters for “Analyze That.”
“Empire” was the first movie released by a partnership between Universal Pictures and Arenas Entertainment, which targets Hispanic viewers. Latinos made up 51 percent of the audience for “Empire.”
The sci-fi thriller “Equilibrium,” starring Christian Bale, Taye Diggs and Emily Watson, opened weakly with $528,000 in 301 theaters, averaging $1,754.
In limited release, the acclaimed “Adaptation” grossed $400,000 in just seven theaters for a whopping $57,143 average. Starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper, “Adaptation” reunites “Being John Malkovich” screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze for a bizarre story of an anxiety-ridden writer struggling to adapt a book to film.
“Adaptation,” in which Cage plays a fictionalized version of Kaufman and his make-believe twin brother, expands to more theaters in late December and early January.
The overall box office was down, with the top 12 movies grossing $69.5 million, off 15 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Ocean’s 11” opened with a $38.1 million debut.
Lacking a solid new movie such as that, the weekend after Thanksgiving typically is a slow time at theaters. Even over Thanksgiving, new films such as “Treasure Planet” and “Solaris” had a hard time making inroads against established hits.
“Newcomers are all having a rough time breaking in,” said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Exhibitor Relations. “`Harry Potter’ and `Die Another Day’ are doing so well, it’s making it difficult for other films to grab an audience.”
By next weekend, “Die Another Day” is expected to become the top-grossing Bond movie ever, passing the $127 million take of the franchise’s last film, “The World Is Not Enough.”
Distributor MGM targeted much of its Bond marketing at younger viewers, helping to revitalize a 40-year-old franchise whose traditional audience is aging.
“We’ve had 40 percent of our audience under 25 for the first two weekends, which is a much higher number than on past Bonds,” said Erik Lomis, MGM head of distribution. “What Bond has traditionally done is play to an older audience. If you’re going to broaden the picture out, it makes sense to go after a younger crowd.”
Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “Die Another Day,” $13 million.
2. “Analyze That,” $11.3 million.
3. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” $10 million.
4. “Empire,” $6.3 million.
5. “Treasure Planet,” $5.7 million.
6. “The Santa Clause 2,” $5.4 million.
7. “Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights,” $5.2 million.
8. “Friday After Next,” $2.8 million.
9. “8 Mile,” $2.6 million.
10. “The Ring,” $2.5 million.
‘Die Another Day’ Rules Another Weekend