The Sony release continued to perform in line with expectations, falling 48 percent from its opening three days in a typical decline for a film aimed at young male adults. "XXX" has now grossed $84.9 million in its first 10 days and should be able to remain a significant draw for the rest of the summer.
The performance by "XXX" enabled Sony to break its own 1997 record of $1.27 billion for most revenues by a studio in a single calendar year. Sony also released "Spider-Man," "Men in Black II" and "Mr. Deeds" this year while its 1997 hits included "Men in Black," "Air Force One" and "My Best Friend's Wedding."
The weekend total for "XXX" was the smallest by a No. 1 movie since the second weekend of "Road to Perdition" led with $15.4 million on July 19-21. Box office leaders had generated strong numbers since then with a $73.1 million opening for "Austin Powers in Goldmember," followed by $60.1 million for "Signs" and $44.5 million for "XXX."
Disney's third weekend of "Signs" finished a solid second place with $19.5 million at 3,344 theaters to push its its 17-day total to $150.7 million. "Signs" declined only 34 percent from its second weekend and is already 98th highest on the list of domestic grossers behind "Scooby-Doo."
"'XXX' and 'Signs' are putting up good, solid numbers at a time of the summer when moviegoing tends to start dropping off," said industry analyst Arthur Rockwell of Rockwell Capital Management.
Universal's opening of "Blue Crush," a heavily promoted tale of female surfers starring Kate Bosworth, came in third with $15.2 million at 3,002 theaters. That figure was somewhat below expectations as the adventure film was unable to generate much interest beyond its core audience of young female customers.
"It's a decent number for a film that was going to have a hard time getting beyond the youth audience," Rockwell said.
Warner Bros.' "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," the weekend's other new film, turned out to be a major disappointment as the Eddie Murphy comedy wound up in 10th place with $2.2 million at 2,320 theaters. "Nash," with Murphy playing an outer-space policeman, generated a per-location average of only $926 during the weekend and will represent a significant loss to the studio with a reported cost of over $80 million.
"Pluto Nash" appears to be among the worst performances by a major film since "Town and Country" was released last year. "It's a sad situation when a film performs this poorly, but there are going to be flops from time to time even in a strong year like this one," Rockwell said.
Miramax's second weekend of family adventure "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams" came in fourth with $11.6 million at 3,307 theaters to lift its 12-day total to $45.7 million. New Line's fourth weekend of "Austin Powers in Goldmember" finished fifth with $8.7 million at 3,113 sites to move its 25-day total to $183.9 million and leave it 51st on the all-time list ahead of "The Fugitive."
IFC's art-house hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" followed in sixth with $5.8 million at 1,060 theaters, nearly double its $3.1 million total of the previous weekend with 337 theaters added to its run. "Wedding" has now grossed $52.9 million in 18 weeks.
Warner's second weekend of Clint Eastwood's thriller "Blood Work" came in seventh with a moderate $4.8 million at 2,525 theaters, followed by DreamWorks' sixth weekend of "Road to Perdition" with $3.8 million at 1,914 screens to lift its 31-day total to $90.3 million. Sony's third weekend of "Master of Disguise" finished in ninth with $3.3 million at 2,137 theaters.
On the art-house circuit, Focus' opening of "Possession," a drama starrring Gwyneth Paltrow, debuted impressively with $1.6 million at 270 locations. Rainforest's opening of thriller "Pandora's Box" took in $54,012 at 14 sites and Paramount Classics' comedy "Mostly Martha" grossed $42,000 at two New York theaters.
Fox Searchlight's second weekend of Jennifer Aniston's "The Good Girl" turned in respectable numbers with $828,000 at 60 locations. United Artists' second weekend of "24 Hour Party People" grossed $153,133 at 18 theaters.
Overall, business was moderate with the top 10 films grossing about $97 million, or 2 percent below the same weekend last year when "American Pie 2" led with $21.1 million. Year-to-date business has nearly reached $6 billion and remains about 13 percent ahead of the same time a year ago.
Next weekend's openings include New Line's "Simone," a comedy starring Al Pacino as creator of a synthetic female star; Paramount's romantic comedy "Serving Sara," starring Elizabeth Hurley and Matthew Perry; and Miramax's prison-boxing drama "Undisputed" with Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames.