The PG-13-rated XXX racked up $44,506,103 at 3,374 theaters, $1.5 million less than Sony estimated. The $70 million spy action flick starring Vin Diesel as rebellious-extreme-sports-enthusiast-turned-NSA-agent Xander Cage handily topped the all time best bow of James Bond, the $35,519,007 posted by 1999's The World is Not Enough.
Last summer, Sony got the ball rolling by plastering the 'XXX' logo on a huge billboard in Hollywood before the script was even written. The hype just snowballed from there to the point that nearly as much was spent to market the picture as was spent to make it. Enough people bought into it to allow XXX to accelerate faster than The Fast and the Furious, Diesel and director Rob Cohen's last movie that prompted all the fuss for their follow-up in the first place. The Point Break-like street racing flick surprised the industry by bagging $40,089,015 in its first weekend on course to $144,533,925.
The bow also gives Diesel a commanding advantage over Dwayne Johnson in the race to inherit Arnold Schwarzenegger's muscle-bound action hero throne. The Rock's first headlining role The Scorpion King conquered April with its $36,075,875 start at 3,403 sites, but its reign quickly ended with a $90,450,350 final gross.
XXX won't likely exceed Fast's final gross domestically, but it should make enough to justify the sequel. Thanks to its broader action and international setting, it will most likely outgun Fast's relatively limp $62 million overseas gross.
Breaking the weekend down, XXX pulled in $17,311,194 on Friday, fell 12.0% on Saturday to $15,234,194, and dipped 21.5% to $11,960,715 on Sunday.
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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE CHART
The top 12 pictures grossed an estimated $134.5 million, down 5% from last weekend and down 9% from the same frame last year when American Pie 2 scored $45,117,985 at 3,063 sites caused en route to $145,103,595. Rush Hour 2 slowed 51% to $33,117,312 in its sophomore session on course to $226,164,286, while The Princess Diaries dipped 38% to $14,216,447 on its way to $108,248,956. The Others kicked off its leggy run to $96,522,687 with a $14,089,952 bow at 1,678 theaters, while Osmosis Jones had no immunity to box office failure, managing just $5,271,248 at 2,305 venues in its debut and ending up with $13,596,911.
Weekend studio estimates are based on Friday and Saturday grosses plus an extrapolation for Sunday. Be sure to check back here Monday afternoon for the actual grosses and more analysis.