The Hulk Smashes The Happening


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

In the second major battle of the month of June, Marvel Studios’ second production The Incredible Hulk (Universal), starring Edward Norton, won the weekend over M. Night Shyamalan’s 8th film, the apocalyptic horror film The Happening (20th Century Fox) with Mark Wahlberg. The relaunch of the Marvel Comics superhero opened with an estimated $54.5 million in 3,500 theaters after an opening day of $21 million, which is somewhat lower than the $62 million opening of Ang Lee’s previous movie back in 2003. Based on the estimates, The Incredible Hulk is on par with other Marvel-based movies The X-Men in 2000 ($54.5 million) and Fantastic Four in 2005 ($56.06 million), but with a production budget of $150 million, it has a ways to go before it might considered a worthwhile endeavor to relaunch the character.

M. Night Shymalan’s latest is far from the box office disaster some expected with a respectable $30.5 million opening in less than 3,000 theaters, averaging over $10k per site, with a three-day opening weekend on par with Unbreakable in 2000, but not quite as much as Night’s following movies, Signs and The Village, both which opened over $50 million. Still, with a rumored production budget at just $60 million, Shyamalan’s latest will be seen as a success by distributor 20th Century Fox if it can hold up business over the next few weeks.

Dropping 43% but holding up 2nd place against Shyamalan’s movie, the animated anthropomorphic comedy Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks Animation) brought in $34.4 million in its second weekend, adding to its 10-day box office gross of $118 million. Its main competition last weekend, Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (Sony) took a sharper 57% hit to drop to 4th place with an estimated $16.4 million to reach a total of $68.8 million. It should eventually make back its $90 million budget, although it’s having weaker legs than many of Sandler’s previous movies, and it will have to face two new comedies on Friday.

In fifth place, Paramount’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull continues to do decently, adding another $13.5 million this weekend to its one-month total of $275 million since opening over Memorial Day weekend.

New Line’s spiritual swansong Sex and the City (New Line) lost another 52% of its business but added another $10.2 million to its gross of $120 million, while dropping two places to sixth.

Marvel Studios’ other big summer movie Iron Man (Paramount) added another $5.1 million to its own take as it edges ever closer to $300 million, which it should surpass in the next week.

In its third weekend, Bryan Bertino’s horror flick The Strangers (Universal) dropped another 54% to 8th place with $4.1 million and a total gross of $45.3 million compared to a production budget of $9 million. There’s already word of some sort of sequel being written to capitalize on the film’s surprise success after being delayed for almost a year.

Disney’s The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian took 9th place with $3 million and a total gross of $131.7 million, while the Cameron Diaz-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas (20th Century Fox) rounded off the Top 10 with $1.7 million and almost $76 million total.

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $173.4 million, up 26% from the same weekend last year, as June continues to pick up the slack for the summer after the box office was generally down in May from the previous year.

Opening at the Film Forum in New York City, Werner Herzog’s Antarctica doc Encounters at the End of the World averaged $17.5k over the weekend and has grossed $25.7 thousand since opening on Wednesday.

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