News

'Fantastic' Sequel Storms Top Spot

by Brandon Gray
A scene from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
June 18, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer blazed to the top of the weekend box office with $58.1 million on approximately 6,200 screens at 3,959 theaters. The opening gross was a bit higher than the first Fantastic Four's $56.1 million at 3,602 sites but on par in regards to attendance.

Aside from the X-Men pictures, the norm for comic book franchises is to lose attendance with subsequent movies, and Rise of the Silver Surfer could fall short of the first Fantastic Four's $154.7 million final tally. Its retention level, though, should land in the success column as far as the genre is concerned.

Rise of the Silver Surfer served as both a sequel and a big screen debut for the Silver Surfer, another Marvel Comics property, and distributor 20th Century Fox's marketing revolved around the mysterious Surfer. Contrary to the recent trend of mopey comic book adaptations, Fantastic Four has appealed as a straightforward, fun, family-friendly superhero franchise.

The weekend's other new wide release, Nancy Drew, disappointed, uncovering $6.8 million at 2,612 locations. Instead of establishing the character with a serious approach like the Harry Potter movies, the marketing took Nancy Drew for granted and then transplanted her to a high school fish-out-of-water scenario, loosely attempting a colorful comedy for young girls. The picture didn't have enough consistency or connection to reality to score on that front, exacerbated by its self-reflexive Hollywood theme.

Among holdovers, Ocean's Thirteen fell 45 percent to $19.7 million in its second weekend, its drop-off rate landing between Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve. With $70.4 million in ten days, Thirteen's gross is smack dab in the middle of Eleven and Twelve through the same point (albeit lower in attendance), but the previous pictures had Christmas to bolster their third weeks and Thirteen lacks such a holiday booster.

Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen in Knocked Up
Knocked Up held well in its third weekend, off 28 percent to $14.1 million for $90 million in 17 days. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End leveled off somewhat, down 41 percent to $12.4 million for $274.1 million in 24 days—its gross enhanced by Saturday sneak previews of Ratatouille—yet continues to fade at a quicker rate than predecessor Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Two computer-animated comedies, Surf's Up and Shrek the Third, grossed about $9 million apiece. Surf's Up tumbled 48 percent in its second weekend for a $34.6 million total, while Shrek the Third was off 41 percent in its fifth weekend. The latter is about to cross the $300 million mark but trails Shrek 2 by a wide margin.

Both At World's End and Shrek the Third will retain more of their predecessors' audiences than Hostel Part II. The torture horror sequel plunged 63 percent to $3 million for $14.2 million in ten days. The first Hostel had $35.1 million at the same point.

RELATED ARTICLES
• Review: 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer'
• 6/16/06 - Flagging 'Cars' Pins Chipper 'Nacho' (Same Weekend, 2006)
• 7/11/05 - 'Fantastic Four' Heats Up
• 6/20/05 - 'Batman Begins' in the Shadows (Same Weekend, 2005)

RELATED CHARTS
Weekend Box Office Results
All Time June Openings
Marvel Comics Franchise

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, June 17 and was revised on Monday, June 18 with actual grosses.



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