Hancock Scores Top Spot In The States

Big Willie flies in with $107 million

Hancock Scores Top Spot In The States

by Chris Hewitt |
Published on

Despite the fact that Will Smith hasn’t had a movie open on the Independence Day weekend for four years, the long July 4 weekend has given the actor an incredible run of success on that date (Independence Day, Men In Black, Men In Black II and I, Robot all opened big). So much so, in fact, that the weekend has been dubbed ‘Big Willie Weekend’. And this weekend saw the biggest Willie to date. Ahem.

Smith’s dark superhero comedy, Hancock, flew straight to the top of the US box office with a staggering $107 million haul since it opened on Tuesday (and $66 million over the three-day weekend). Despite a mixed critical reception, the opening was the biggest of Smith’s career.

In fact, despite some snarky attacks from certain Stateside critics who seem keen to write off both the movie and its box office reception, it’s important to note that Hancock’s five-day gross of $100 million is the 24th highest in history. And a quick look at the 23 films that lie above it will show that virtually every single one of them is either based on a well-known property, or is a sequel. Only Passion Of The Christ can reasonably claim not to fall under this criteria, but even then it’s about Jesus – and last time we checked, He’s pretty famous.

So $100 million in five days is a wonderful result for Peter Berg’s Hancock, which is the only superhero movie of the summer that is based on entirely original, movie-tailored, material. And it shows, once again, the drawing power of Smith, who is now pretty much indisputably the world’s biggest movie star.

Obviously much depends on how the movie holds up in the coming weeks, but Hancock stands a great chance of being an even bigger grosser than Smith’s last movie, I Am Legend, which grossed $256 million in the States alone and is Smith’s biggest solo movie to date (Independence Day, which wasn’t really sold as a ‘Will Smith movie’ grossed over $300 million). It certainly seems a lock for $200 million.

The July 4 weekend is a strange one – it’s very rare that movies enjoy the small drops of other high-profile US holidays, as most familys tend to spend the weekend outside, at parties. But Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E had a very encouraging second weekend, regardless, dropping just 47% to take second place with a $33 million three-day gross.

The film now has $128 million after two weeks, and looks on course to be one of Pixar’s highest grossing movies to date. Next weekend’s gross should be a good indicator of where it’s likely to finish up, but it will pass $200 million for sure.

In third place, with a drop of 59.5% (about the norm for genre blockbusters) was Timur Bekmabetov’s controversial and ultra-violent thriller, Wanted, which grossed an estimated $20 million. It now has $90 million in the bank.

No major landmarks were achieved over the weekend, but the race to be the summer’s number one movie is certainly heating up, with Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull edging ever closer to Iron Man. The former now has $306.5 million and is hanging around inside the Top 10, while Iron Man – with $311.7 million – has now dropped out of the Top 10. Indy could well overhaul Ol’ Shellhead within a fortnight – but, of course, there’s a chance that The Dark Knight could beat them both. For that to happen, though, Chris Nolan’s sequel would have to deliver the biggest numbers of any Batman movie to date.

Hancock was the only new release this weekend in the States, but Kit Kittredge: An American Girl continued its slow painful death. This week, the Abigail Breslin kids’ movie expanded into over 1,800 theatres, but was roundly ignored by most moviegoers, grossing only $3.6 million in three days. It now has just over $6 million in three weeks.

Next week should see Hancock retain top spot. Although it will face competition from three major new releases – Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and Eddie Murphy’s Meet Dave – we’d be surprised if any of the trio of newcomers posted an opening weekend large enough to knock Hancock off his perch.

Having said that, a 60% drop for Hancock would give it a second weekend gross of just under $30 million, which is beatable. Can Guillermo del Toro’s wonderful Hellboy II step up to the plate? We’ll find out next week.

To see this weekend's chart in full, go here.

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