Two guys named
Chuck and Larry edged out a teenager named Harry at the
weekend box office. Adam Sandler and Kevin James's comedy
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry overcame
bad reviews to debut ahead of Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix, according to studio estimates
Sunday. But they were close enough that there was a
slight chance rankings could change when final weekend
figures come out Monday.
reported that Chuck & Larry took in $34.8
million, while Warner Bros. reported Order of the
Phoenix at $32.2 million. Other studios were
tracking Chuck & Larry in the $33 million
range, making the top earner too close to call.
''I think it'll
be decided Monday morning,'' said Dan Fellman, head of
distribution at Warner Bros.
Universal head of
distribution Nikki Rocco said the weekend was no
''I'm not going
to underestimate Adam Sandler and his fan base in the
middle of summer,'' Rocco said. ''We're by far the number
musical Hairspray, featuring John Travolta,
Michelle Pfeiffer, and Queen Latifah in an adaptation of the
Broadway smash, opened a strong number 3 with $27.8 million.
Hollywood had a
solid weekend no matter which movie ends up number 1. The
top 12 movies took in $147.6 million, up 3.5% from the same
weekend last year, when Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man's Chest was number 1 with $35.2
To report weekend
numbers, studios use actual grosses from Friday and
Saturday and make estimates for Sunday based on past
performance of similar movies. Being the first report
on weekend business, the estimates draw more audience
attention than Monday's final figures, so the number 1
spot Sunday is a coveted position.
are in some ways more important than the final Monday
figures,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office
tracker Media by Numbers. ''They're often the first
impression and for some people maybe the only
impression they have of the box office for the weekend.''
Chuck & Larry stars Sandler as a
firefighter who poses as a gay partner for a widower
colleague (James) so his pal can maintain life
insurance for his kids.
followed the usual pattern for Sandler comedies: Critics
trashed it, but loyal fans turned up.
''The beauty of
Adam Sandler is his fan base adores him, and he delivers
on comedy,'' Universal's Rocco said. ''Adam is a star, and I
can tell you we know we're on the way with another
$100 million movie for Adam.''
Order of the Phoenix, which debuted at number 1
the previous weekend, raised its domestic total to $207.5
Fellman said the
movie lost some business this weekend because of the
mania over Saturday's publication of J.K. Rowling's final
book in the fantasy series, Harry Potter and the
''They wanted to
get that book Saturday, lock themselves in the house,
and read it, because they didn't want their other friends by
Monday telling them who made it and who didn't,'' said
Fellman of Warner Bros.
Hairspray follows the musical adventures of a
tubby teen (newcomer Nikki Blonsky) who sets out to racially
integrate a TV dance show in the 1960s. The stage
musical on which it is based was in turn adapted from
John Waters's 1988 cult flick.
Women made up
just over two thirds of the Hairspray audience, said
David Tuckerman, head of distribution for New Line.
The studio hopes good word-of-mouth will keep the
crowds coming and bring in more men in subsequent weekends,
''We knew getting
the guys on opening weekend was going to be difficult.
We knew Chuck & Larry would get the guys
and we wouldn't,'' Tuckerman said.
release, Fox Searchlight's sci-fi tale Sunshine
opened to big numbers, pulling in $235,477 in 10
theaters. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days
Later), the film stars Cillian Murphy and Michelle
Yeoh as members of a space crew trying to reignite the
dying sun 50 years from now.
Sunshine expands to about 400 theaters Friday.
sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian
theaters, according to Media by Numbers. (Final figures will
be released Monday.)
1. I Now
Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, $34.8 million
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, $32.2
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