Ghost Rider Cycles Away with New Record!

ON

The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Be sure to check back on Tuesday for final figures based on actual box office.

The always busy Presidents’ Day weekend saw the release of five new movies in wide release, knocking all but one of the returning movies down to the bottom half of the charts over the weekend.

Despite less than stellar reviews, Sony’s Ghost Rider, with Nicolas Cage playing the Marvel Comics character, found a huge audience of fans this weekend, as it grossed an estimated $51.5 million over the four-day weekend in 3,619 theatres. With an astounding average of over $14 thousand per theatre, Ghost Rider easily beat previous holiday weekend records set by Adam Sandler’s 50 First Dates and Ghost Rider director Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil. Having made $44.5 million over the three-day weekend, the action-thriller also set a new opening record for its star Nicolas Cage, whose previous high was $35 million with 2004’s National Treasure.

Coming in a strong second was Disney’s holiday offering Bridge to Terabithia, based on the popular novel by Katherine Patterson, which earned roughly $29 million over the four days. This makes it the fifth highest opening for Presidents’ Day weekend with an equally impressive average of over $9,000 per theatre

With an influx of new movies, Eddie Murphy’s Norbit took a minor tumble in its second weekend, adding an additional $20.7 million after a terrific opening weekend, while dropping down to third place. So far, it’s grossed $62.7 million, which is slightly above its production budget.

Opening on Wednesday’s Valentine’s Day, Warner Bros’ romantic comedy Music and Lyrics, starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, scored another $16 million over the weekend in 2,955 theatres, making for a cumulative gross of $21.6 million in six days.

Its primary competition came from Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, the theatre mogul’s third film for Lionsgate, which opened in 800 fewer theatres yet wound up with just under $20 million after six days. Roughly $14.3 million of that was made over the four-day holiday weekend, as it averaged $6,774 per theatre.

Billy Ray, writer/director of Shattered Glass, had an impressive opening for his second movie, the Universal political thriller Breach, starring Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe, which grossed an estimated $12.3 million in just 1,489 theatres, allowing it the third highest per-theatre average in the Top 10, just behind “Terabithia.”

The Weinstein Company’s horror prequel Hannibal Rising took the biggest plunge from last weekend, dropping 50% to #7 with a four-day take of $6.5 million. After ten days, it has grossed $23.6 million.

Dropping five places to #8, Universal’s romantic comedy Because I Said So added another $5.9 million to its box office gross of $34.2 million, while the unstoppable hit of the last few months, Fox’s comedy Night at the Museum made another $4.7 million over the four-day weekend. The Ben Stiller vehicle celebrated its 9th (and probably final) weekend in the Top 10 with a total gross of $238.3 million.

The Pang Brothers horror thriller The Messengers closed up the Top 10 with $4.4 million, bringing its own total to $31.1 million.

The Oscar-nominated Pan’s Labyrinth and Dreamgirls were #11 and 12 over the weekend with $2.5 and $1.8 million, respectively. While the former has grossed $30 million so far, the latter is just $124,000 away from hitting the $100 million mark.

The top ten movies at the box office grossed more than $165 million, up over 26% from the same holiday weekend last year.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.