'Matrix Revolutions' Nets Est. $16.7M on Friday

by Brandon Gray
November 8, 2003

HOLLYWOOD (Box Office Mojo)The Matrix Revolutions fended off a festive debut for Elf on Friday to remain firmly entrenched in the top spot.

The closing chapter of the Wachowski Bros. trilogy generated an estimated $16.7 million at 3,502 theaters on Friday, a 52% increase over Thursday for $52.0 million after three days. By comparison, The Matrix Reloaded raked in $31,330,393 on its first Friday and had taken in $73,838,696 in a little over two days.

Revolutions' Friday bump-up was in line with Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, which rose 50% to $18,467,513. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers's Friday increase was 38.5% to $19,224,340, while The Fellowship of the Ring jumped 46.7% to $14,232,941.

A similar daily pattern would give Revolutions around $54-58 million for the weekend. However, it may not have the same Sunday strength as Phantom Menace had more family appeal and Lord of the Rings was bolstered by Christmas vacation. So Revolutions could come in at around $51 million this weekend, enough to rank in the top 30 of all debuts, at No. 6 or No. 7 among November bows and likely third or fourth among R-rated movies. After five days, Revolutions could be at $86 million. Reloaded had $144,391,066 by the same point.

When Reloaded opened, only one movie opened wide against it, the modestly appealing Down with Love, in a counter-programming move that fizzled with a $7,001,906 weekend at 2,123 theaters. Perhaps sensing more vulnerability this time, rival studios were bolder with New Line's super-saturation release of Elf and Universal's near wide debut of Love Actually.

Moviegoers spread some early holiday cheer to Elf. The Will Ferrell comedy made an estimated $9.2 million at 3,337 theaters on Friday, pointing to an opening weekend of around $30 million. Last November, The Santa Clause 2 was the first Christmas movie out of the gate and bowed to an impressive $29,008,696 en route to $139,236,327.

Ferrell was riding high off Old School from last February. The R-rated DreamWorks comedy opened to $17,453,216 and tallied $75,585,093 by its close, followed by a popular run on home video. Five years ago, another Saturday Night Live alum enjoyed a similar breakout success. Adam Sandler had the February hit The Wedding Singer earn $80,245,725 and then exploded the following November with the $161,491,646-grossing The Waterboy.

Love Actually wooed an estimated $2.1 million from just 576 theaters on Friday. The Working Title-produced romantic comedy featuring (who else?) Hugh Grant could end the weekend with close to $7 million. The bow is promising as the British production company's movies tend to start modestly and then enjoy leggy runs.

Last year's About a Boy debuted to a $8,557,630 weekend at 1,207 theaters and closed with $41,385,278, while 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary started with $10,733,933 at 1,611 venues on its way to $71,543,427. Most comparable in terms of scope of initial release, 1994's Four Weddings and a Funeral expanded to 552 theaters in its fifth weekend and earned $3,944,203 or about $5.9 million adjusted for ticket price inflation. It went on to gross $52,700,832 (or around $79 million adjusted).

Distributor Universal will unspool Love Actually to around 1,200 venues on Nov. 14 and then expand it to 1,800 on Nov. 21.

NOTE: Studio estimates will be reported here on Sunday morning. Actual numbers will be reported on Monday afternoon. All new numbers reported anywhere on Saturdays and Sundays are always estimates.

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