“Finding Nemo” became the top-grossing toon of all time and New Line’s slasher sequel “Freddy vs. Jason” took the No. 1 slot for a second straight frame with $13.5 million despite a 63% drop.
The $1 million weekend haul by Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” brought its cume to $329.8 million. That surpassed the domestic cume for 1994’s “The Lion King,” the Mouse’s traditionally animated pic that boosted its cume to $328.8 million with a holiday release in the Imax format last year.
The win by “Freddy vs. Jason” marked the first consecutive chart-topping perf since “X2: The X-Men United” managed such a feat back in May.
Sony Screen Gems’ actioner “The Medallion” opened outside the medal positions in a weak weekend’s box office race, grossing an estimated $8.2 million in fifth place.
Miramax/Dimension’s romancer “My Boss’s Daughter” wooed just $5 million for a 10th place bow. And Paramount debuted laffer “Marci X” outside the top 10 with $865,000 from 1,200 theaters, a slim $721 per venue.
Sony cop actioner “S.W.A.T.” was runner-up on the weekend with $10.8 million in its third outing. And Disney’s family laffer “Freaky Friday” shared the bronze position with Mouse House Western “Open Range,” as both pics grossed an estimated $9.4 million.
Despite the limp openers, the weekend marked a 10% improvement from the same frame a year ago with $98.5 million in total estimated grosses, according to B.O. tracker Nielsen EDI.
That brings summer 2003 to a 1.9% increase over seasonal B.O. last year with one frame to go, though ticket price increases since then mean admissions have actually dropped.
Meanwhile, there were a couple notable perfs notched outside the B.O. top 10 this weekend.
And Miramax/Dimension’s “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over” crossed the $100 million mark as a $3 million frame pushed domestic cume to $102.5 million. That makes 11 $100 million perfs this summer, two shy of last year’s record with at least four current players appearing likely to break the $100 million barrier as well, EDI calculated.
Auds keen on ‘Thirteen’
Elsewhere this weekend, Fox Searchlight bowed drama “Thirteen” in five theaters in L.A., Gotham and Toronto and grossed an estimated $112,213, an impressive $22,443 per venue. Well-reviewed pic, toplined by Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood, expands to 50-plus locations Friday.
Miramax opened laffer “The Battle of Shaker Heights” in five L.A. and Gotham theaters this weekend, grossing $52,000, or a solid $10,400 per venue.
And Palm unspooled skateboarding docu “Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator” in a single Gotham venue to gross an estimated $12,089.
Searchlight’s romancer “Le Divorce” added 241 engagements for a total 421 and grossed $1.3 million, or $3,147 per playdate with a $3.5 million cume.
Miramax suspenser “Dirty Pretty Things” added 98 locations for a total 240 and grossed $727,000, or $3,029 per site with a $3 million cume.
Distrib’s drama “The Magdalene Sisters” added 26 theaters for a total 61 and grossed $364,000, or $5,967 per venue with a $1.9 million cume.
Fine Line drama “American Splendor” added 26 playdates for a total 32 and grossed $485,000 — a notable $15,156 per engagement with a $748,000 cume.
IFC laffer “Camp” added 10 theaters for a total 70 and grossed $175,890, or $2,508 per venue with a $971,613 cume.
Manhattan’s drama “The Secret Lives of Dentists” added 23 engagements for a total 86 and grossed $396,378, or $4,609 per playdate, with a $1.4 million cume.
And Artisan’s surfing docu “Step Into Liquid” expanded by 34 theaters for a total 50 and grossed $400,000, or $8,000 per site with a $978,000 cume.
“Medallion,” which stars Jackie Chan and Claire Forlani, opened well enough to ensure success for the studio, said Sony spokesman Steve Elzer.
Low cost, low interest
Distrib acquired domestic rights and a few international territories for an unspecified but modest sum, Elzer said. Demo breakdowns of opening auds weren’t available, but pic targeted younger moviegoers.
Miramax/Dimension spokesman Josh Greenstein similarly stressed the relative low cost of “Boss’s Daughter” and claimed that title ultimately will turn a profit. Exit surveys were unavailable.
And spokeswoman Nancy Kirkpatrick said Par didn’t expect a big bow for “Marci,” a Scott Rudin-produced pic helmed by Richard Benjamin and starring Lisa Kudrow and Damon Wayans.
“We released it in some theaters to maximize the video,” Kirkpatrick said.
All three openers notched fewer engagements than the recent norm, according to EDI data, as the weekend repped the first time since April a pic failed to open in 3,000-plus theaters. That made for a nearly complete season of “super-saturation” releasing, as a mega-wide release trend first noted last year took hold in earnest this summer.
Two pics bow wide over the season-concluding Labor Day frame: MGM/UA unspools horror sequel “Jeepers Creepers 2” and Par re-expands into wide release its remake of “The Italian Job,” a thriller that’s grossed $97 million since its original May 30 debut.