'Wedding Crashers' Steal Show
LOS ANGELES – Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn caught the box-office bouquet as their comedy "Wedding Crashers" (search) pulled a switch with a $20.5 million weekend, becoming the No. 1 movie after two weekends in second place.
Johnny Depp's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," (search) the top movie the previous two weekends, slipped to No. 2 with $16.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The two holdovers fended off new wide releases whose fair to poor debuts had Hollywood revenues sagging again as a box-office dry spell continued.
Leading the newcomers was "Sky High," (search) featuring Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston in an action comedy set at a high school for superheroes that debuted in third place with $14.6 million.
"Stealth," about Navy pilots (Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx) taking on a rogue drone plane, crashed and burned, finishing at No. 4 with $13.5 million. With an estimated $100 million production budget, "Stealth" will prove a costly money-loser for distributor Sony.
The date flick "Must Love Dogs," a romance starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, came in fifth with $13.05 million.
The top 12 movies took in $112.1 million, down a steep 21 percent from the same weekend last year, when "The Village" led the box office with a $50.7 million opening. For the year, movie attendance is down about 10 percent compared to 2004.
It was the second-straight weekend that new movies failed to dislodge "Wedding Crashers" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
"Audiences are so desperate to find a film they like, they're just hanging on to the same movies," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
"Wedding Crashers" lifted its domestic total to $116.1 million. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" has taken in $148.1 million.
"Stealth," directed by Rob Cohen ("The Fast and the Furious"), was the second-straight flick from an established action director to flop. "The Island," from director Michael Bay ("Armageddon"), tanked a week earlier.
"Action just doesn't seem to be what the public is buying this summer," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, which released "Stealth." "Comedy seems to be king."
"Wedding Crashers" has filled that bill, casting Wilson and Vaughn as cads who intrude on strangers' weddings to pick up women. While the box-office haul for many big movies falls 50 percent or more in subsequent weekends, revenues for "Wedding Crashers" dipped only 20 percent this weekend.
Audiences looking to laugh also swarmed to "The Aristocrats," which had a stellar debut in limited release, taking in $260,000 in just four New York City and Los Angeles theaters. The documentary by comics Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette features comedians discussing and telling a classic filthy joke.
"The Aristocrats" expands to the top 15 markets on Aug. 12.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Wedding Crashers," $20.5 million.
2. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," $16.4 million.
3. "Sky High," $14.6 million.
4. "Stealth," $13.5 million.
5. "Must Love Dogs," $13.05 million.
6. "Fantastic Four," $6.8 million.
7. "The Island," $5.6 million.
8. "War of the Worlds," $5.44 million.
9. "Bad News Bears," $5.43 million.
10. "March of the Penguins," $4.2 million.