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‘Freddy Vs. Jason’ Remains No. 1 Flick
LOS ANGELES – A weak batch of new movies made easy prey for “Freddy vs. Jason,” which took in $13.45 million to remain the No. 1 weekend flick, according to studio estimates Sunday.
“Freddy vs. Jason,” a blood feud between the villains of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th,” was the first movie to retain the top spot for two straight weekends since “X2: X-Men United” in early May.
Years ago, big hits could linger at the top of the box office for weeks, but studios today focus on marketing blitzes to guarantee huge opening weekends before crowds drift on to the next blockbuster.
“This summer in particular we saw weekend after weekend with a new No. 1 film,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. “That really speaks to the transitory nature of the business and audience habits. The shelf life of a movie is very short.”
The year’s top-grossing movie, “Finding Nemo,” debuted at No. 1 in late May, slipped to second place the next weekend, then regained the top box-office spot in its third weekend.
“Finding Nemo” took in $1 million this past weekend, pushing its total domestic gross to $329.8 million. It has surpassed “The Lion King” ($328.5 million) as the top-grossing animated movie ever.
The weekend haul for “Freddy vs. Jason” raised its 10-day total to $61.5 million.
The best debut among new movies was for Jackie Chan’s action comedy “The Medallion,” which opened in fifth place with $8.2 million. Ashton Kutcher’s romantic comedy “My Boss’s Daughter” opened in 10th place with $5 million.
Executives of “The Medallion” distributor Sony and of “My Boss’s Daughter” distributor Dimension Films said the movies were cheap enough that they still will turn small profits.
The Lisa Kudrow-Damon Wayans comedy “Marci X,” which sat for more than a year on Paramount’s shelves, opened with a dismal $865,000. The studio dumped it into a modest 1,200 theaters to boost its eventual home-video prospects.
Even with the weak slate of new movies, overall revenues were up sharply. The top 12 movies took in $86.2 million, up 33 percent from the same weekend last year, when box-office receipts petered out in a late-summer swoon.
This summer has closed with a surge of hits such as “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over,” “Seabiscuit,” “American Wedding,” “S.W.A.T.” and “Freaky Friday.”
Revenues this year from early May through Labor Day should wind up squeaking past Hollywood’s record $3.8 billion haul in summer 2002, Dergarabedian said. But that reflects higher ticket prices and actual admissions this summer will be 3 to 4 percent lower, he said.
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. “Freddy vs. Jason,” $13.45 million.
2. “S.W.A.T.” $10.8 million.
3 (tie). “Freaky Friday,” $9.4 million.
3 (tie). “Open Range,” $9.4 million.
5. “The Medallion,” $8.2 million.
6. “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” $7.3 million.
7. “Seabiscuit,” $6.3 million.
8. “Uptown Girls,” $5.6 million
9. “American Wedding,” $5.58 million.
10. “My Boss’s Daughter,” $5 million.