'Pirates' Pilfer More Records

by Brandon Gray
A scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
July 17, 2006

With a second weekend most would covet for an opening, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest continued its record-raiding ways, while two comedies about oddball houseguests vied for second and third place, neither a threat to Pirates' booty.

Pirates pillaged $62.3 million, the third highest-grossing second weekend ever behind Shrek 2 and Spider-Man. Attendance was down 54 percent from its all-time $135.6 million opening—last weekend's gust of demand ensured a sizable drop, yet Dead Man's Chest fared within blockbuster norms.

With $258.4 million in the till, Pirates hijacked the ten-day opening record previously held by Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith's $236.9 million. It also claimed fastest to $200 million, eight-day and nine-day milestones and doubled what predecessor Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl reaped through the same point.

Neck-and-neck below Pirates were the new releases Little Man and You, Me and Dupree, each performing within industry expectations of the low $20 million range. Despite their solid starts, overall business was off three percent from the comparable weekend in 2005—Little Man and Dupree were no match for last year's debuts, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wedding Crashers. Thanks in part to the Pirates treasure, though, summer 2006 leads summer 2005 by six percent with $2.4 billion to date.

Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans in Little Man
The Wayans brothers' Little Man snatched $21.6 million at 2,533 locations, topping their previous raunchy comedy White Chicks' $19.6 million. According to distributor Sony, 53 percent of the audience was female and 59 percent was under 25 years old. Like White Chicks, which went on to gross $70.8 million, Little Man scored a "B+" from moviegoer pollster CinemaScore. Little Man carried a $64 million production budget, compared to White Chicks' $37 million.

"We did feel it would be a horse race for who was going to be second," said Rory Bruer, Sony's president of distribution. "Certainly, [You, Me and Dupree] had more theaters than we did, and I do think that they had some crossover."

Playing at 3,131 venues, You, Me and Dupree scrounged up $21.5 million. In distributor Universal Pictures' research, the $54 million comedy skewed female (58 percent) and under 30 (58 percent), while the "humor" was the top reason people selected for seeing the picture, with star Owen Wilson ranking second and co-star Kate Hudson third.

Owen Wilson in You, Me and Dupree
"In a very competitive marketplace, we're very satisfied with the results," said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of distribution. "How many movies open to $60 million, let alone make that in their second weekend? I'm glad just to be a participant in this weekend. I think there was a lot of crossover [between You, Me and Dupree and Little Man]. They had the East and the South and we had the smaller markets, but we're splitting hairs. We shared it."

Dupree marked Wilson's first time carrying a picture as the zany centerpiece, and Universal made the Wedding Crashers connection in recent marketing: "last summer, he crashed weddings, and this summer, he's crashing a marriage."

Among holdovers, Superman Returns continued to falter, but showed more resilience on IMAX. In its third weekend, the superhero resurrection descended 44 percent to $12.3 million, but, isolating the IMAX grosses, it was down 18 percent to $1.8 million. The total stands at $164.3 million in 19 days—$13.6 million of which from IMAX.

On Saturday, Sony ran 702 sneak previews of Monster House and reported attendance at two thirds capacity, 80 percent of which families. Bruer noted that the computer-animated feature will be released at about 3,300 theaters next weekend, including over 160 three-dimensional presentations. "I think we'll open in the mid-$20 million range, hopefully," Bruer said.

• Review - You, Me and Dupree
• Review - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
• 7/9/06 - 'Pirates' Raid Record Books
• 7/18/05 - 'Charlie,' 'Crashers' Draw Golden Ticket

All Time 2nd Weekends
All Time 10-day Openings
Fastest to $200 Million
Weekend Box Office Results

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, July 16 and was revised on Monday, July 17 with actual grosses.

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