Wars: Reward of the Sith
aren't equals and this weekend one set records while another approached ignominy.
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith commanded about two-thirds
of the marketplace with an estimated gross of $105.5 million. Its tsunami like
commercial force had competitors steering a wide path with the only other openers
maintaining very limited exposure. Among the latter group, Dominion: Prequel
to the Exorcist twisted into 110 theaters and eked out about $120,000.
conclusion of the Star Wars saga that began in 1977 arrived at Midnight
Thursday and immediately began to re-write the box office record book. It notched
up the bar to $16.9 million for midnight screenings and established a new opening
day milestone of $50 million. As the weekend advanced Episode III knocked down
two, three and four day standards and every other potential barrier with the exception
of the traditional weekend frame that remains in the web of Spider-Man 2.
the results were comparably potent. The picture bowed in 105 territories with
the only notable absentees being Korea and Japan that open respectively next week
and in July. The Sunday morning international estimate was $144.7 million with
Sith breaking records in many countries but certainly among the top five debuts
regardless of location. Great Britain led the charge with $26.8 million followed
by France at $22.3 million. France proceeded the U.S. with a Wednesday opening
with the vast majority of other overseas dates beginning on Thursday. Other top
grossers included Germany at $18 million, Mexico posting $10.3 million; Spain
at $9.9 million; Mexico with $6.6 million; Russia at $4.4 million, Italy, a Friday
bow, close behind at $4.3 million and China adding $2.6 million to the larder.
Domestic and international combined topped $300 million.
best efforts, even the biggest movie debut of all-time could not reverse the continuing
decline of the audience that's been the top issue of 2005 in the domestic marketplace.
The roughly $160 million weekend tally provided a potent 59% boost from the prior
weekend but lagged 8% behind the comparable weekend of 2004 when Shrek 2
bowed to a virtual carbon copy $108 million, followed by Troy and Van
light of the stiff competition, Monster-in-Law's second weekend of $14.6
million and 37% drop looked sturdy while the near 50% plummet of Kicking and
Screaming rated as typical. Virtually all of the continuing titles fell by
more than 50% with the notable exception once again of Crash. The ensemble
drama has had a virtual monopoly on adult crowds, resulting in a potent $27.6
million to date. That should bode well for the upcoming release of Cinderella
bow of Dominion, Paul Schrader's version of the early exploits of The
Exorcist's Father Marin provided more curiosity than commercial clout. It
barely registered even among devotees and its theatrical exposure appears to be
no more than a flag for a future DVD combo package with Renny Harlin's
version of the same material.
expansions in the niches, there was considerable heat for the non-fiction Mad
Hot Ballroom that grossed roughly $140,000 as it went from two to 15 playdates
and the Brit crime sage Layer Cake trebled its screen count to 30 and posted
a $120,000 weekend.
eclectic list of limited bows included a dull start for the French martial arts
entry Les Fils du Vent in Quebec. It dribbled to near $35,000 from 37 engagements
while the American indie Sex, Politics & Cocktails had a tepid $6,800
opening at two theaters. And virtually under the radar was a one-screen reissue
of Deep Throat that didn't have swallow hard as it disposed a soft core
- by Leonard