Mighty Matt kicks the “Cat’

U's 'Bourne' boffo with $54 mil; Halle tally tame

This article was updated at 7:48 p.m.

Could “Bourne” be the new Bond?

Universal’s “The Bourne Supremacy” bowed to a boffo $53.5 this weekend, unspooling at 3,165 locations.

The spy thriller opened bigger than any pic in the James Bond series, topping 2002’s “Die Another Day’s” $47 million debut, and beat the bow of the biggest-opening Tom Clancy film, “The Sum of All Fears,” which grossed $31 million on its first weekend in 2002.

Studio was optimistic going into the weekend, but U didn’t expect to nearly double original “Bourne Identity’s” $27.1 million opening and set its best opening of the year, topping the $51 million drawn by “Van Helsing.”

In a disappointing bow, Warner Bros.’ Halle Berry starrer “Catwoman” opened to $17.2 million in 3,117 theaters. Though comicbook adaptations are normally strongest among young males, distrib prexy Dan Fellman said exit polls found that 59% of the aud was female.

As for notable holdovers, DreamWorks’ “Anchorman” has continued to droop, sinking 49% in its third weekend to $7.1 million; cume is $71.2 million. And Disney’s “King Arthur” dropped 57% to $3.1 million (cume: $45.2 million).

Last weekend’s top pic, “I, Robot,” sank 58% in its sophomore session, according to 20th Century Fox’s estimates. Pic grossed $22 million over the frame, playing in 3,494 engagements.

In its fourth weekend, Sony’s “Spider-Man 2” picked up another $15 million from 3,753, pushing cume to $328.5 million. And rounding out the top five, Warners’ “A Cinderella Story” grossed $8 million, dropping just 41% in its second week, from 2,625. Cume on the Hilary Duff pic stands at $29.8 million.

Also of note, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” distribbed by Lions Gate and IFC Films, crossed the $100 million mark on Saturday. Michael Moore’s doc grossed $5 million for the frame; cume now stands at $103.3 million (see sidebar, page 1).

Continuing its long-legged run, New Line weeper “The Notebook” dropped just 21% in its fifth weekend, grossing $4.5 million from 2,003 theaters. Extended perf has pushed cume to an impressive $62.5 million.

Reigning supreme

Start for “Supremacy” should send U execs rushing to get the third “Bourne” pic under way in hopes that they have a new long-living espionage franchise on their hands.

“Supremacy” is the sixth largest opener of the year, trailing “Shrek 2,” “Spider-Man 2,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “The Day After Tomorrow.”

U distrib prexy Nikki Rocco said of the thriller, “I never thought we would do 50-anything.”

U says the budget for “Supremacy” was $75 million, which comes in on the low end for this summer’s blockbusters.

Key to surpassing the $50 million opening weekend mark, she said, was a strong fan base for the original film, as exit surveys showed that 92% of the aud had seen “Identity” and 62% had seen it on the bigscreen.

Studio polls also showed the aud was just about evenly divided by gender and skewed slightly older, with 55% over the age of 30.

“The people who showed up were the same people who showed up for ‘Bourne Identity,’ ” Rocco said.

Earlier film grossed $121.7 million domestically but has also done considerable biz on DVD. U released a second homevid version of “Identity” (modestly dubbed “The Explosive Extended Edition”) timed to the theatrical bow of “Supremacy,” and initial sales figures show it to be the top-selling title of the week.

The one hurdle “Bourne” will have to jump to turn into a true long-term franchise is picking up the pace in foreign markets. Original grossed $92 million overseas, performing similarly to Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. While “Sum of All Fears,” with Damon buddy Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan, grossed $119 million in North America, it took in just $75 million abroad — a perf similar to the other films in the Ryan series, whether Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford got top billing.

In the specialty market, Fine Line and HBO Films continued to get good returns on drug mule saga “Maria Full of Grace,” which grossed $144,000 from seven screens in its second weekend, averaging an impressive $20,571.

MGM’s “De-Lovely” grossed $1.7 million after expanding to 333 screens in its fourth week, averaging $5,105 per engagement; cume on the Cole Porter biopic is $5 million.

Fox Searchlight expanded “Napoleon Dynamite” to 389 screens in its seventh week, doing $1.6 million for the frame, a per screen average of $4,177. Cume now stands at $6.5 million. Its other pic, Robert Redford thriller “The Clearing,” has fared less well, grossing $650,000 from 429 screens, an average of $1,515. Total gross is $4.9 million.

Warner Independent Pictures’ first two pictures also played well. Richard Linklater pic “Before Sunset” grossed $540,000 in its fourth frame, averaging $3,857 on its 140 screens. WIP is readying it for further expansion next Friday. Label debuted “A Home at the End of the World” on five screens, turning up $66,000 for an average of $13,200.

Also bowing this week was Miramax’s Japanese actioner “Zatoichi,” which scored $56,800 from four screens, an average of $14,200. Vitagraph and Lions Gate’s Japanese horror pic “Ju-On: The Grudge” picked up $23,858 from its first three screens, averaging $7,953.

Thinkfilm introduced “Festival Express” on one screen, grossing $13,000.

Newmarket reintroduced “Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut” on six screens this past weekend, grossing $54,742 for an average of $9,123. Pic played Seattle last month following the new cut’s preem at the Seattle Film Festival. New version has cumed $151,365.

Overall, Nielsen EDI estimates total box office for the weekend at $159 million — nearly identical to the same frame last weekend. It’s the third straight week that box office has been flat against last year. Year-to-date box office stands at $5.4 billion, 6% ahead of 2003’s $5.1 billion at this point.

So far this summer, box office is at $2.75 billion, 9% ahead of the $2.52 billion through the comparable period in 2003.

Nielsen EDI also notes that the strong debut of “Bourne Supremacy” marks the eighth straight year that the 30th weekend of the year, which always falls in late July, has had a film open at better than $30 million. The streak, which runs back to 1997, makes this the most consistent weekend on the calendar, including prized holiday frames such as Christmas, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.

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