Handily topping the weekend, The Bourne Ultimatum logged the highest-grossing opening for a spy thriller and for an August release, ahead of Rush Hour 2's $67.4 million. Although, adjusted for ticket price inflation, Rush Hour 2 is still the champ as its start would equal nearly $80 million today.
The previous picture, The Bourne Supremacy, opened to $52.5 million and closed with $176.2 million, while the original, The Bourne Identity, started with $27.1 million and ended with $121.7 million. The Bourne Ultimatum's production budget bulked up to a reported $110 million, compared to $75 million for Supremacy and $60 million for Identity.
Bourne distributor Universal Pictures' Saturday night exit polling indicated that 96 percent of The Bourne Ultimatum's audience had previously seen The Bourne Identity and 94 percent The Bourne Supremacy. Furthermore, it suggested that moviegoers generally liked Ultimatum better than Supremacy with a 66 percent "excellent" rating for Ultimatum versus a 44 percent "excellent" for Supremacy when it opened.
Nationwide holdovers dropped a steep 53 percent on average, compared to the low 40 percent range of recent weekends. Hairspray had the smallest dip and it was still down 41 percent. It scored an estimated $9.3 million for $79 million in 17 days and could become one of the ten most attended musicals of the past 30 years.
Last weekend's leader, The Simpsons Movie, collapsed by 66 percent to $25.1 million, though it became the highest-grossing animated television adaptation with $128.1 million in ten days. A massive fall was expected for the cartoon feature as its first weekend alone exhausted the fan base, posting greater viewership than an average first run episode of the series.
After spending weeks as one of the best holding wide releases, Live Free or Die Hard plummeted 62 percent to $2.1 million. The action sequel took a big hit in its theater and screen counts, leading to a 55 percent drop in the number of showings. Its 40-day haul is $130.2 million.
Closer to their established ranges, the market's current biggest blockbusters, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Transformers, were down 46 and 48 percent, respectively. Order of the Phoenix leads its predecessors through the same point, while Transformers remains in the running to surpass Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as the third-biggest grosser of the summer.
Aside from The Bourne Ultimatum, new releases were soft. Disney's Underdog landed with $11.6 million at 3,013 sites, which was middle of the pack among dog movies and below par for a talking animal picture. Much worse were the comedies Hot Rod and BRATZ with openings of $5.3 million and $4.2 million, respectively.
In limited release, two biographically-themed movies, El Cantante and Becoming Jane, had inauspicious debuts even though their distributors could boast two of the weekend's highest per theater averages. El Cantante made $3.2 million at 542 sites and Becoming Jane claimed $1 million at 100.
• Review - The Bourne Ultimatum
• 8/7/06 - 'Talladega Nights' Goes Fast to No. 1 (Same Weekend, 2006)
• 8/8/05 - 'Dukes' Charge Top Spot, Emperors 'March' On (Same Weekend, 2005)
• 6/17/02 - Moviegoers Do the 'Doo' as a New Franchise is 'Bourne'
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All Time August Openings
• Spy Movies
• Dog Movies
• 'Saturday Night Live' Alumni Debuts
NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, Aug. 5 and was revised on Monday, Aug. 6 with actual grosses.