'Star Wars' Fails to Stem Box Office Slump

It's official — "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (search)" is a mega, runaway, blockbuster, record-setting hit. However, the popularity of the George Lucas (search) film didn't vanquish the overall box office slump that has plagued Hollywood for 13 straight weeks.

The latest chapter in the sci-fi action series shattered previous records for a four-day opening, taking in $158,449,700 from Thursday through Sunday, according to the box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.

The film, playing on more than 9,400 screens in 3,661 theaters alone accounted for 68 percent of the revenue generated by the top 12 films over the three-day weekend.

The action-filled tale of heroic Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker's transformation into the villainous Darth Vader, failed to slay one record — the Friday through Sunday take of $114.8 million set by the original "Spider-Man" flick in 2002.

The long-awaited last chapter in the "Star Wars" serial lifted the box office from last weekend's take by 67 percent.

Still, the total box office for the weekend was down 3.5 percent from the same weekend last year.

"It's shocking," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations. "We really thought this would end the slump."

The problem was with the second and third place films, "Monster-in-Law (search)," which took in $14.35 million for the weekend and "Kicking & Screaming (search)," which took in $10.7 million.

In the same weekend last year, "Troy" played more of a supporting role to box office champ "Shrek 2" by generating $23.9 million.

Memorial Day weekend, a traditional strong period for the box office, is expected to be strong with the remake of "The Longest Yard" and the animated film "Madagascar" opening.

But the films will have a lot to overcome. Last year's Memorial Day weekend take set an all-time record of $250 million.

The top 20 movies at North American theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. and Nielsen EDI Inc. are:

1. "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith," 20th Century Fox, $108,435,841, 3,661 locations, $29,619 average, $158,449,700, one week.

2. "Monster-In-Law," New Line, $14,350,134, 3,424 locations, $4,191 average, $44,174,005, two weeks.

3. "Kicking & Screaming," Universal, $10,721,715, 3,470 locations, $3,090 average, $34,196,720, two weeks.

4. "Crash," Lions Gate, $5,546,006, 1,905 locations, $2,911 average, $27,648,811, three weeks.

5. "Unleashed," Focus, $4,123,556, 1,962 locations, $2,102 average, $17,850,310, two weeks.

6. "Kingdom of Heaven," 20th Century Fox, $3,537,201, 2,808 locations, $1,260 average, $41,218,408, three weeks.

7. "House of Wax," Warner Bros., $3,288,419, 2,765 locations, $1,189 average, $26,912,839, three weeks.

8. "The Interpreter," Universal, $2,910,580, 2,164 locations, $1,345 average, $65,403,045, five weeks.

9. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," Disney, $2,054,904, 2,211 locations, $929 average, $46,902,653, four weeks.

10. "Mindhunters," Dimension, $1,005,839, 1,073 locations, $937 average, $3,562,161, two weeks.

11. "XXX: State of the Union," Sony/Revolution, $828,350, 1,301 locations, $637 average, $25,607,347, four weeks.

12. "Sahara," Paramount, $803,664, 1,074 locations, $748 average, $65,571,156, seven weeks.

13. "The Amityville Horror," MGM, $702,477, 784 locations, $896 average, $64,255,243, six weeks.

14. "Robots," 20th Century Fox, $401,692, 516 locations, $778 average, $126,145,964, 11 weeks.

15. "Fever Pitch," 20th Century Fox, $350,919, 491 locations, $715 average, $41,073,166, seven weeks.

16. "Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room," Magnolia, $331,007, 151 locations, $2,192 average, $2,072,419, five weeks.

17. "Ladies in Lavender," Roadside/Attractions, $217,994, 58 locations, $3,759 average, $934,545, four weeks.

18. "Kung Fu Hustle," Sony Pictures Classic, $203,658, 241 locations, $845 average, $16,173,057, seven weeks.

19. "A Lot Like Love," Disney, $203,632, 372 locations, $547 average, $21,317,478, five weeks.

20. "The Pacifier," Disney, $189,333, 298 locations, $635 average, $110,247,131, 12 weeks