1. Ghost Rider $44.1M - $44.1M
2. Bridge to Terebithia $22.0M - $22.0M
3. Norbit $16.8M - $58.8M
4. Music and Lyrics $14.0M - $19.5M
5. Daddy's Little Girls $12.1M - $17.7M
6. Breach $10.3M - $10.3M
7. Hannibal Rising $5.4M - $22.1M
8. Because I Said So $4.9M - $33.2M
9. The Messengers $3.8M - $30.5M
10. Night at the Museum $3.7M - $237M
This weekend is a mixture of releases and box office takings - it's a three day weekend due to Presidents Day being on Monday, meaning that a couple of movies opened on Wednesday and the rest on Friday. With Monday being seen as "Sunday-lite" expect higher final weekend totals than normal, not to mention Fri-Sun being slightly off as people decide to forgo a Saturday or Sunday cinema trip for a Monday one.
Ghost Rider smashes into the number one spot and takes the Presidents Day-weekend record into the bargain. This marks Nicolas Cage's biggest opening weekend ever, surpassing 2004's National Treasure. The comic book adaptation had been struggling in the past few months with some disappointing trailers, less than stellar previews and the slightly worrying news that Sony would not be screening the movie for critics (marking the most expensive movie ever produced by Sony that was not shown to critics). But worries and critics be damned, the movie opened very well indeed and should retain the top spot for at least another weekend.
Adapted from a comic book and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who had previously directed comic-book movie Daredevil and stars Eva Mendes and Sam Elliot, Ghost Rider tells the tale of a stuntman who makes a deal with the devil in order to save his girlfriend. The movie ran into trouble when Sony pushed it back from Summer 2006 to Mid February over problems with the special effects work (specifically making Cage transformer convincingly into the titular hero). Suffice to say, the public had no problem with the trailers, effects or the lack of critical opinion. With Ghost Rider we have our first potential blockbuster of 2007, something we needed after the recent dirge of sub-par releases.
Norbit had been expected to drop into second place but another new release based on a children's book put paid to that. The Bridge to Terebithia is based on a 1978 book and seemed a logical next step after Disney's success with The Chronicles of Narnia, especially after the Prince Caspian adaptation ran into early pre-production problems. The story must have struck a chord with young cinemagoers & their parents who helped it jump over three other new releases. It could also have done so well simply due to the lack of competition from other children films - Night at the Museum is now in its ninth weekend.
Speaking of Norbit, it had a pretty strong second weekend despite the harsh treatment it's received from almost every side, save for actual fans of Eddie Murphy and this kind of multi-role comedy. Some even argued that this would hurt his chance of an Oscar (!). Murphy can sit pretty that by the end of this long weekend Norbit will have recouped its production budget back and will have dropped 50% of business from last weekend.
Opening on Wednesday the Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore movie Music & Lyrics probably hoped to cash in on Valentines Day. A five day total of $19.0M is pretty good considering it had another 3 movies to contend with not to mention the new Tyler Perry movie which joined it for opening day. This is Grant's biggest opening movie since Notting Hill in 1999 (and a good chunk of that was thanks to Julia Robert's appeal) It's also taken more in its opening 3 days than Grant's last movie American Dreamz did in its entire cinematic run.
Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girl didn't fair quite as well as previous Tyler Perry movies and that could be levelled at the increased competition and the decision by Perry to not feature his female alter-ego, Madea, this time around. That said, the Tyler Perry movies usually cost around $5M-7M to produce so this is already into a profit.
Our final new entry this weekend and a candidate for "why this weekend?" goes to political thriller Breach, starring Ryan Phillipe and Chris Cooper. Facing competition from all sides, little pre-release hype or awareness, the movie did well to get to the $10.3M mark. Expect this to drop quickly.
Meanwhile Hannibal Rising didn't fare any better in its second weekend, dropping five places. The movie will be lucky to clear $30M before leaving the top ten. Surely the end of the franchise? Picking up a bit of Valentine Business, Because I said So manages another $4.9M to edge its total closer to $40M.
The Messengers sits at number nine and has probably had a week longer in the charts than most horror movies of late have managed. Rounding out the top ten is Night at the Museum which is starting to worry some of the movies within the top fifty movies of all time. By the end of this weekend it will have taken more than Ghostbusters, Twister & Men In Black.