The shock of a new seasonfound two premiering thrillers scaring up business with Resident Evil:Apocalypse leading the way forScreen Gems with an estimated $24.2 million and New Line's Cellular trailing with about $10.5 million.
However, overall businesswas soft and the weekend tally is unlikely to generate more than $78 million inticket sales for an 11% drop from the Friday-Sunday span of last week's LaborDay holiday frame. Revenues also declined from 2003 by roughly 10% when the boxoffice leader Once Upon a Time in Mexico rang in with $23.4 million and Matchstick Men bowed with $13.1 million.
The Resident Evil sequel eclipsed the original's $17.7 million openingwith Sony doing a very effective marketing campaign on the co-production withGermany's Constantin Film. The stellar performance also pushed the number oneranked market share company's overall gross for the year past $1 billion.
The results for New Line'saggressively promoted Cellularproved disappointing and anticipated sharp declines will make it difficult forthe picture to have a lifetime domestic box office of $30 million.
Holdover business wasunexceptional with most titles experiencing declines of about 50%. However,that created a traffic jam in which seven films grossing between $2.5 millionand $2.8 million were clubbing it out for top 10 ranking. The only certainty isthat when actuals are announced Monday, adjustments will have to be made.
Estimated TopTen US Sept 10-12
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) ResidentEvil: Apocalypse (ScreenGems) Summit/Intermedia $24.2m $24.5m
2 (-) Cellular (New Line) NLI $10.5m $11.5m
3 (2) WithoutA Paddle (Paramount) UIP$4.4m $45.4m
4 (1) Hero (Miramax)Focus Features $4.2m $41.3m
5 (5) PrincessDiaries 2: The Royal Engagement (Buena Vista) BVI $2.8m $89.1m
6 (7) Collateral (DreamWorks) UIP $2.7m $92.7m
7 (3) Anacondas:The Hunt For The Blood Orchid (Screen Gems) CTFDI $2.7m $27.4m
8 (8) VanityFair (Focus) Focus $2.6m$11m
9 (4) Paparazzi (20th Century Fox) Icon $2.6m$11.9m
10 (6) WickerPark (MGM) LakeshoreInternational $2.5m $10.4m