National Treasure 2 PosterThe role of treasure hunter Ben Gates has vaulted Nicolas Cage to his single best day ever at the box office, and he will also receive an early Christmas present – his all-time best opening weekend. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Disney) has racked up an estimated $18.5M on its opening day, and the sequel to the 2004 hit is headed for a projected $59.2M by Monday morning.

t’s been a good year for Cage with both Ghost Rider and Treasure 2 (although his April film Next was a monstrous flop with a cume of just $18M domestic). Today’s performance eclipses his previous single day best of $17.3M on February 17 of this year with Ghost Rider.

ALL-TIME TOP 5 BOX OFFICE DAYS FOR NICOLAS CAGE
1. 12/21/07 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $18.5M (estimate)
2. 02/17/07 – Ghost Rider – $17.3M
3. 02/16/07 – Ghost Rider – $15.4M
4. 11/20/04 – National Treasure – $14.5M
5. 11/29/04 – National Treasurer – $12.9M
6. 11/27/04 – National Treasure – $12.68M
7. 02/18/07 – Ghost Rider – $12.63M
8. 11/19/04 – National Treasure – $11.1M
9. 06/07/96 – The Rock – $10.2M
10. 06/06/97 – Con Air – $9.9M

Despite a decidedly lukewarm critical response (its Rotten Tomatoes score is just 35%), NT2 will likely finish with just shy of $60M marking the best 3-day of Cage’s career and topping the opening weekend of the first Treasure by 40%.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 NICOLAS CAGE OPENING WEEKENDS

1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $59.2M (estimate)
2. Ghost Rider – $45.3M
3. National Treasure – $35.1M
4. Gone in 60 Seconds – $25.3M
5. The Rock – $25M
6. Con Air – $24.1M
7. Face/Off – $23.3M
8. World Trade Center – $18.7M
9. Snake Eyes – $16.3M
10. City of Angels – $15.3M

If the number holds, Book of Secrets will deliver the all-time #5 December opening, coming in ahead of recent year-end blockbusters like King Kong, the first Lord of the Rings and Meet the Fockers. After a disastrous September and October, the movie business rebounded nicely in November, and now, 2007 is finishing with a bang. Treasure joins December releases I Am Legend and Alvin & the Chipmunks on the list.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 DECEMBER OPENING WEEKENDS

1. I Am Legend – $77.2M
2. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – $72.6M
3. The Chronicles of Narnia – $66.5M
4. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – $62M
5.National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $59.2M (estimate)
6. King Kong – $50.1M
7. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring – $47.2M
8. Meet the Fockers – $46.1M
9. Alvin & the Chipmunks – $44.3M
10. Ocean’s Twelve – $39.1M

Meanwhile, last week’s top 2 performers are showing no signs of slowing down. Will Smith’s I Am Legend grabbed another $13.25M on Friday, and it should finish the weekend with an estimated $41M. That would give the remake of Charlton Heston’s Omega Man the 5th-best 10-day gross of the year.

TOP 10 10-DAY GROSSES OF 2007

1. Spider-Man 3 – $240.2M
2. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix – $185.5M
3. Shrek the Third – $185.1M
4. Transformers – $180.5M
5. I Am Legend – $144.3M
6. The Bourne Ultimatum – $131.5M
7. 300 – $129.1M
8. The Simpsons Movie – $128M
9. Ratatouille – $109.5M
10. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – $97.4M

The animation/live action mix of Alvin benefited from the fact that lots of school kids are already off for Christmas, and the family film generated a very chippy $9.15M on Friday. Fox’s critters are headed for a very strong 3-day of $32M, representing a drop of less than 30% from opening weekend.

Dreamworks’ Sweeney Todd opened at just 1,249 locations, but it has still managed to finish 4th Friday with an estimated $3.95M and a PTA of $3,163. Reviews are nothing short of spectacular for the Tim Burton adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical with Oscar nominees Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the leads. Still, there was real concern at Dreamworks about how to sell the movie.
In some neighborhoods, this is a very bloody adaptation of a classic Broadway musical, and in others, it’s a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp horror film with musical numbers. It seems that the Dreamworks marketing team has been able to “thread the needle” by selling to both audiences. This one-of-a-kind movie experience should wrap up the weekend with $12.1M, which makes it the 6th-strongest opening of Tim Burton’s career.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 TIM BURTON OPENINGS

1. Planet of the Apes – $68.5M
2. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – $56.1M
3. Batman Returns – $45.6M
4. Batman – $40.4M
5. Sleepy Hollow – $30M
6. Sweeney Todd – $12.1M (estimate)
7. Mars Attacks! – $9.3M
8. Beetlejuice – $8M
9. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure – $4.5M
10. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride – $390,000

In terms of Per Theatre Average, Sweeney lags well-behind the extremely limited openings of Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Big Fish, and it falls shy of his mainstream commercial projects like Planet of the Apes, the Batman movies and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, but its PTA compares favorably to Sleepy Hollow.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 TIM BURTON OPENINGS

1. Edward Scissorhands – 2 locations – $79,811 PTA
2. Ed Wood – 2 locations – $35,783 PTA
3. Big Fish – 6 locations – $34,562 PTA
4. Planet of the Apes – 3,500 locations – $19,571 PTA
5. Batman – 2,194 locations – $18,454 PTA
6. Batman Returns – 2,644 locations – $17,279 PTA
7. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – 3,770 locations – $14,901 PTA
8. Sleepy Hollow – 3,064 locations – $9,810M
9. Sweeney Todd – $9,688 PTA (estimate)
10. Mars Attacks! – 1,955 locations – $4,800 PTA

As far as Broadway musical adaptations go, Sweeney Todd is poised to score the 2nd-best opening in modern box office history.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 OPENING WEEKENDS FOR BROADWAY MUSICAL ADAPTATIONS
1. Hairspray – $27.4M
2. Sweeney Todd – $12.1M (estimate)
3. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – $11.8M
4. Rent – $10M
5. Grease – $8.9M
6. The Phantom of the Opera – $4M
7. Little Shop of Horrors – $3.6M
8. Chicago – $2M
9. Annie – $510,000
10. Dreamgirls – $380,000

Charlie Wilson’s War was #5 Friday, and it’ll likely hold tht spot when weekend tallies are in, but Universal has botched this release. Tracking indicates that the appeal for this movie is with Females 25 Plus, and that audience is busy with last minute Christmas shopping this weekend. Inexplicably, somebody at Universal decided to push the release from Christmas Day to December 21, and the result is completely underwhelming. Charlie appears to have generated a tick over $3M on Friday, and its 3-day weekend should finish at about $9.7M.

When you’ve got a well-reviewed female-skewing movie with 5 Golden Globe nominations, an Aaron Sorkin script, Mike Nichols directing and box office sure-things like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in lead roles, $9.7 is a sorry weekend number. In fact, for Hanks, it marks only the 17th-best opening of his career, behind such gems as Turner & Hooch and The ‘Burbs and just ahead of the immortally-bad Joe Versus the Volcano.

ALL-TIME TOP 20 TOM HANKS LIVE ACTION OPENINGSOPENINGS

1. The Da Vinci Code – $77M
2. Saving Private Ryan – $30.5M
3. Catch Me If You Can – $30M
4. Cast Away – $28.8M
5. Apollo 13 – $25.3M
6. Forrest Gump – $24.4
7. Road to Perdition – $22M
8. The Terminal – $19M
9. You’ve Got Mail – $18.4M
10. The Green Mile – $18M
11. Sleepless in Seattle – $17.2M
12. A League of Their Own – $13.7M
13. The Ladykillers – $12.6M
14. Turner & Hooch – $12.2M
15. The ‘Burbs – $11.1M
16. Dragnet – $10.5M
17. Charlie Wilson’s War – $9.7M (estimate)
18. Joe Versus the Volcano – $9.2M
19. Big – $8.2M
20. That Thing You Do! – $6.2M

Charlie doesn’t look much better on Julia’s resume. If the $9.7M number holds, it will be just the 20th-best opening of her legendary career, just ahead of box office turkey Dying Young.
The Hilary Swank romantic comedy P.S. I Love You is a misfire with only $2.25M on its opening day. It’ll likely limp to a disappointing $7.2M weekend. The moniker of “biggest bomb of the weekend” goes to Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Sony), which crawled to $1.4M on Friday, and, despite a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Comedy or Musical for John C. Reilly, the Judd Apatow produced and written comedy is targeting only $4.25M for the 3-day.

Three new specialty releases opened to dismal results. Sony Classics’ Steep, a spectacular extreme skiing doc, fared best with a $515 PTA at 17 locations on opening day. The Jessica Simpson vehicle, Blonde Ambition (First Look), which opened at 8 locations in Texas, had an embarrassing $48 PTA at 8 locations on Friday. While Dallas Cowboy fans complain of a “Jessica jinx” after she showed up to support quarterback boyfriend Tony Romo on Sunday and the Cowboy lost ugly to Philadelphia, it seems as though the whole state of Texas is shunning her and her otherwise straight-to-video movie. At the 8 locations, Ambition has a chance to finish with a weekend cume of less than $1,200.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Disney) – $18,500,000, $4,828 PTA [$18,500,000 cume]
2. I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – $13,250,000, $3,660 PTA – [$116,515,293 cume]
3. Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) – $9,150,000, $2,615 PTA – [$65,016,797 cume]
4. NEW – Sweeney Todd (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $3,950,000, $3,163 PTA [$3,950,000 cume]
5. NEW – Charlie Wilson’s War (Universal) – $3,050,000, $1,185 PTA [$3,050,000 cume]
6. NEW – P.S. I Love You (Warner Bros) – $2,250,000, $917 PTA [$2,250,000 cume]
7. NEW – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Sony) – $1,400,000, $528 PTA [$1,400,000 cume]
8. The Golden Compass (New Line) – $1,393,900, $472 PTA [$45,832,260 cume]
9. Enchanted (Disney) – $1,209,308, $439 PTA [$95,407,701 cume]
10. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – $758,339, $2,495 PTA [$3,743,015 cume]
11. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $459,000, $884 PTA [$32,590,450 cume]
12. Atonement (Focus) – $455,000, $1,532 PTA [$4,267,375 cume]
*The Kite Runner (Paramount Vantage) – $230,000, $610PTA [$930,885 cume]
*The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – $45,000, $750 PTA [$621,991 cume]
*The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (Miramax) – $30,000, $909 PTA [$322,451 cume]
*Steep (Sony Classics) – $8,755, $515 PTA [$8,755 cume]
*Blonde Ambition (First Look) – $384, $48 PTA [$384 cume]
*Flakes (IFC Films) – $93, $93 PTA [$93 cume]

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Disney) – $59,200,000, $15,449 PTA [$59,200,000 cume]
2. I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – $41,075,000, $11,347 PTA – [$144,340,293 cume]
3. Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) – $32,025,000, $9,153 PTA – [$87,891,797 cume]
4. NEW – Sweeney Todd (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $12,100,000, $9,688 PTA [$12,100,000 cume]
5. NEW – Charlie Wilson’s War (Universal) – $9,760,000, $3,792 PTA [$9,760,000 cume]
6. NEW – P.S. I Love You (Warner Bros) – $7,200,000, $2,943 PTA [$7,200,000 cume]
7. The Golden Compass (New Line) – $4,739,260, $1,605 PTA [$49,177,511 cume]
8. NEW – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Sony) – $4,250,000, $1,604 PTA [$4,250,000 cume]
9. Enchanted (Disney) – $4,111,647, $1,494 PTA [$98,310,040 cume]
10. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – $2,656,500, $8,738 PTA [$5,641,176 cume]
11. Atonement (Focus) – $1,601,600, $5,393 PTA [$5,413,975 cume]
12. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $1,567,500, $1,283 PTA [$36,585,279 cume]
*The Kite Runner (Paramount Vantage) – $782,000, $2,074 PTA [$1,482,885 cume]
*The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – $159,750, $2,663 PTA [$736,741 cume]
*The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (Miramax) – $109,500, $3,318 PTA [$401,951 cume]
*Steep (Sony Classics) – $29,767, $1,751 PTA [$29,767 cume]
*Blonde Ambition (First Look) – $1,190, $149 PTA [$1,190 cume]
*Flakes (IFC Films) – $307, $307 PTA [$307 cume]

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY PTA ESTIMATES

1. NEW – National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Disney) – 3,832 locations – $4,828 PTA
2. I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – 3,620 locations – $3,660 PTA
3. NEW – Sweeney Todd (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 1,249 locations – $3,163 PTA
4. Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) -3,499 locations – $2,615 PTA
5. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – 304 locations – $2,533 PTA
6. Atonement (Focus) – 297 locations – $1,532 PTA
7. NEW – Charlie Wilson’s War (Universal) – 2,574 locations – $1,185 PTA
8. NEW – P.S. I Love You (Warner Bros) – 2,454 locations – $917 PTA
9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax) – 33 locations – $909 PTA
10. The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – 60 locations – $750 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES

1. NEW – National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Disney) – 3,832 locations – $15,449 PTA
2. I Am Legend (Warner Bros) – 3,620 locations – $11,347 PTA
3. NEW – Sweeney Todd (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 1,249 locations – $9,688 PTA
4. Alvin & the Chipmunks (Fox) -3,499 locations – $9,153 PTA
5. Juno (Fox Searchlight) – 304 locations – $8,738 PTA
6. Atonement (Focus) – 297 locations – $5,393 PTA
7. NEW – Charlie Wilson’s War (Universal) – 2,574 locations – $3,792 PTA
8. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax) – 33 locations – $3,318 PTA
9. NEW – P.S. I Love You (Warner Bros) – 2,454 locations – $2,934 PTA
10. The Savages (Fox Searchlight) – 60 locations – $2,663 PTA

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