Stunt Sequel Is Top Grosser

Times Staff Writer

Ah, fall. It’s time for studios and filmgoers to turn their attentions to prestigious, Oscar-worthy productions.

Well, almost time.

Paramount Pictures’ gross-out stunt fest “Jackass: Number Two” thrashed the competition at the weekend box office, hauling in $28.1 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates Sunday, while Sony Pictures’ ambitious political drama “All the King’s Men” was a major disappointment.

The R-rated “Jackass: Number Two” averaged $9,188 per theater at 3,059 locations, luring an audience of mostly males younger than 25. It outdid its predecessor from four years ago, “Jackass: The Movie,” by about 25%.


“This movie embraces exactly what it is,” said Rob Moore, Paramount’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution. “If you’re a college student in your early 20s, it’s for you. It’s absolutely not for your parents.”

Starring Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the “Jackass” troupe, the movie was marketed online and on the MTV Networks, Paramount’s sibling at Viacom Inc., in a campaign flaunting the shock value and scathing reviews of its forerunner.

After an opening-day gross that matched its $11.6-million production budget, the sequel looks sure to secure a tidy profit, just as the original did. Moore was encouraged by the movie’s 14% drop in revenue from Friday to Saturday, compared with 20% for the original in October 2002.

“Jackass: The Movie,” derived from a TV show aimed at the skateboarding culture, grossed $22.8 million in its first weekend and went on to rack up $64.3 million in the U.S. and Canada during its run. If the sequel, which has garnered surprisingly warm reviews, grosses the same multiple of its debut weekend, it could end up at nearly $80 million.

Three other wide releases opened to less stellar results.

“Jet Li’s Fearless” took in $10.6 million for Focus Features and Rogue Pictures at 1,808 theaters. The thriller finished No. 2, but its opening was modest by the martial arts star’s standards.

“Flyboys,” an independent production distributed by MGM, grossed $6 million at 2,033 theaters, placing No. 4. Made for about $60 million, the aviation adventure started with a sputter.

But “All the King’s Men,” a remake of the 1949 Oscar winner, was the highest-profile flop. Made for an estimated $55 million, it opened at $3.8 million from 1,514 theaters, placing No. 7. Starring Sean Penn and Jude Law, it garnered tepid reviews.

“It’s classy and sophisticated, but it just didn’t attract a younger audience,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of domestic distribution. Three-quarters of attendees were 35 or older, the studio estimated.

Among holdovers, Sony’s football drama “Gridiron Gang,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, hung tough in its second weekend, grossing an estimated $9.7 million to place No. 3. That was a drop of 33% from its debut last weekend.

The animated “Everyone’s Hero” from 20th Century Fox was No. 5 at $4.8 million, a 22% drop from its weak debut.

And Universal Pictures’ mystery “The Black Dahlia” grossed $4.4 million, a 56% drop from its dismal debut, to finish No. 6.

Sony’s supernatural thriller “The Covenant” added $3.3 million in its third weekend, good enough for No. 8.

Two indie hits stayed in the top 10. Yari Film Group’s drama “The Illusionist” placed No. 9 at $3.3 million, bringing its tally to $27.5 million after six weeks, and Fox Searchlight’s comedy “Little Miss Sunshine” added $2.9 million, lifting its nine-week total to $50.3 million.

Industrywide, receipts were down for the third straight weekend, as revenue of $92 million was 7.9% short of the comparable period in 2005. Year-to-date sales are up 6.1%, however, thanks to a strong summer.

Three films open wide next weekend: Walt Disney Co.’s Coast Guard adventure “The Guardian,” Sony’s animated “Open Season” and the comedy “School for Scoundrels” from Weinstein Co. and MGM.



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Box office

Preliminary results (in millions) in the U.S. and Canada, based on studio projections:

*--* Movie 3-day gross Total Jackass: Number Two $28.1 $28.1

Jet Li’s Fearless 10.6 10.6

Gridiron Gang 9.7 27.2

Flyboys 6.0 6.0

Everyone’s Hero 4.8 11.6

The Black Dahlia 4.4 17.3

All the King’s Men 3.8 3.8

The Covenant 3.3 20.3

The Illusionist 3.3 27.5

Little Miss Sunshine 2.9 50.3


Industry totals

*--* 3-day gross Change (in millions) from 2005 $92.0 -7.9%

Year-to-date gross Change (in billions) from 2005 $6.94 +6.1%


*--* Source: Exhibitor Relations Co. Los Angeles Times