Big Willie Delivers More 4th of July Fireworks


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.

The big buzz going into the weekend was the exciting prospect of Will Smith’s return to the 4th of July holiday for the first time since Men in Black II six years ago. Despite way more bad advance reviews than some expected, Hancock was able to bring in enough of Smith’s fans to deliver an impressive $107 million in five and a half days. The $66 million estimated for the three-day holiday weekend in just under 4,000 theaters (an average of $16.6k per site) would make it Smith’s second-biggest opening weekend ever after last year’s I Am Legend and the second-biggest three-day gross for a 4th of July weekend after Spider-Man 2 based on estimates. It’s good to keep in mind that it’s only slightly ahead of Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds with $64.9 million, so it could end up in third place. It certainly had a stronger showing over the weekend than its first couple days, grossing just over $17 million per day on Wednesday and Thursday after grossing $6.8 million from Tuesday night previews. Hancock is already Will Smith’s 8th consecutive movie to gross $100 million, an impressive feat that has never been accomplished before this.

Smith’s movie certainly had a drastic effect on both of last week’s breakout hits, Pixar Animation’s ninth movie WALL•E (Disney) and the graphic novel inspired action flick Wanted, starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. The former dropped 47% with $33.4 million over the three-day holiday weekend, bringing its total to $128 million, which puts it only $19 million ahead of Ratatouille at the same period last year after a much bigger opening weekend.

Wanted took a substantial 60% hit with the advent of action-packed competition from Hancock, bringing in an estimated $20.6 million in its second weekend and taking its total gross to $90.8 million. With Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II opening this coming weekend and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight the week after, this could be struggling to make $125 million, although that’s still profitable enough for sequel considerations.

Warner Bros.’ Get Smart dropped to fourth place with $11.1 million, down 45% from last weekend. It’s grossed $98 million in three weeks, a solid comedy hit for the studio.

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda added another $7.5 million over the holiday weekend to bring its total to $193 million, making it the second-highest grossing non-sequel animated movie for the studio with $200 million on the horizon.

In sixth place, Marvel Studios’ The Incredible Hulk (Universal) ends its first month with roughly $125 million, adding another $5 million this weekend. It’s now just slightly ahead of its predecessor after four weeks but still has some work to do if it wants to make back its production budget from its theatrical release. (It’s good to point out that the studio only makes roughly 55% of the box office receipts under most circumstances.)

Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Paramount) finally crossed the $300 million mark this past week, and it added another $3.9 million over the holiday weekend with the smallest drop for any non-expanding movie in the Top 10.

After playing for ten days in exclusive release in five theaters, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (Picturehouse), starring Abigail (Little Miss Sunshine) Breslin, expanded nationwide on Wednesday into 1,843 theaters, but it didn’t find the business from ‘tween and younger girls that some expected, ending the weekend in eighth place with just $6.1 million in five days of wide release.

For the second weekend in a row, the Top 10 was rounded out by Sex and the City (New Line) and Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (Sony) both grossing roughly $2 million. Despite the lack of major changes in the Top 10, Mike Myers’ The Love Guru (Paramount) and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening (20th Century Fox) were both knocked out by continuously sharp drop-offs on a week-to-week basis.

The Top 10 grossed just over $155 million which is slightly less than the same period last year where Transformers continued its successful run, although the 4th of July didn’t fall on the weekend, which could account for the lower box office.

Opening in limited release, Jonathan Levine’s coming-of-age comedy The Wackness (Sony Classics), starring Josh Peck and Ben Kingsley, grossed $179 thousand in six theaters in New York and L.A., averaging $24 thousand over the three-day weekend.

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