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Box Office Update 7/20-7/22: Chuck and Larry Top Harry

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Adam Sandler asserted his box office power once again. Put him in the lead role of a comedy — a goofy comedy not a serio-comedy — and he will likely give you a good opening weekend with a run north of $100 million.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry opened at the south end of his recent comic outings, but it was strong enough, at $34.2 million, to lead the weekend's box office, outrunning Harry Potter to the finish line. The movie proved not to be terribly memorable, but is still not likely to disappoint fans much. It fell shy of what I thought it would do, but it is no less a good opening for Sandler, and a good showing for Kevin James in his first top billing (next to Sandler).

The one other film that made it to the top ten this week was Hairspray, the musical based on the broadway show, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name. I found it to be a hard one to predict, as musicals have not done terribly well lately, and it features John Travolta in drag (not to mention the fatsuit).

I figured it would fail to crack $20 million, but it blew well past that to settle at nearly $27.5 million. I saw it opening night, and although I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable, it did not bring anything new to the table. Still, it was so infectiously upbeat and innocent that it was hard to not smile while watching the film. Also, it seems High School Musical star Zac Efron turned out to be quite a draw amongst the tween set, based on the anecdotal evidence of the crowd sitting around me at the screening.

As for last week's top movie, Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, it settled for number 2  at roughly $2 million behind the leader. I had expected a stronger second week, considering it has been getting good word of mouth. But I guess most of the Potter-heads stayed home to plow through the recently released seventh, and final book. Still, it did pretty well, and I suspect it will level off a bit next weekend.

Among the remaining returning films, three did well, posting drops of less than 40%. First is Pixar's latest, Ratatouille, finishing in 5th and remaining one of the best films of the year in my estimation. Next is the fourth Die Hard movie, which came in in 6th place. Its tally was pushed past $116 million, and has likely surpassed Die Hard 2 as the biggest money maker of the Bruce Willis action franchise. Finally, there is Judd Apatow's vulgar, sweet, and insightful comedy, Knocked Up, hanging onto number 10.

Finally, we have Transformers, which came in number 4, pushing it ever closer to the $300 million mark. It is an impressive number, but the film will probably not surpass Spider-Man 3 as the box-office champ of the summer. It's too bad, as the Michael Bay blow'em up was a much more satisfying excursion into summer popcorn flick-land.

Next week brings a number of new films into competition. First among them is The Simpsons Movie, but we will also have the Catherine Zeta Jones vehicle No Reservations, along with I Know Who Killed Me, and Who's Your Caddy, all moving into varying levels of wide release.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: Sicko (11) and Ocean's Thirteen (12).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry $34,233,750 $34,233,750 1
2 1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix $32,511,350 $207,866,865 2
3 N Hairspray $27,476,745 $27,476,745 1
4 2 Transformers $20,514,497 $262,978,000 3
5 3 Ratatouille $10,899,179 $165,519,955 4
6 4 Live Free or Die Hard $7,101,638 $116,267,866 4
7 5 License to Wed $3,577,230 $38,495,133 3
8 1408 $2,621,194 $67,453,524 5
9 7 Evan Almighty $2,552,890 $93,567,015 5
10 8 Knocked Up $2,292,640 $142,698,885 8

Box Office Predictions Recap
My placings weren't too bad, and I was pretty close in some of my predictions. However, I was low on the top two by a pretty good margin. Though, I do have to admit to being surprised by the hold that License to Wed has had. It is not a good movie, but I guess Robin Williams is enough of a draw to bring the people in. Next week will probably see another shakeup at the top when The Simpsons Movie hits.
Anyway, here is how I picked the field:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry $34,233,750 $40 million
2 2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix $32,511,350 $38 million
4 3 Transformers $20,514,497 $19 million
3 4 Hairspray $27,476,745 $17 million
5 5

Ratatouille

$10,899,179 $11 million
6 6 Live Free or Die Hard $7,101,638 $7.5 million
8 7 1408 $2,621,194 $3.5 million
10 8 Knocked Up $2,292,640 $3 million
11 9 Sicko $1,945,723 $3 million
7 10 License to Wed $3,577,230 $2.5 million

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