Theaters jammed for 'Rush Hour 3'

  • Updated: August 12, 2007 - 7:02 PM

People rushed to theaters to see the buddy cop comedy "Rush Hour 3," sending the last of this summer's big budget Hollywood films to the top of the weekend box office.

People rushed to theaters to see the buddy cop comedy "Rush Hour 3," sending the last of this summer's big budget Hollywood films to the top of the weekend box office.

The film from New Line Cinema took in $50.2 million, according to studio estimates. That was enough to push last week's top film, "The Bourne Ultimatum," into second place with $33.7 million.

"Rush Hour 3" did not do as well as its predecessor, "Rush Hour 2," which took in $67.4 million when it was released in 2001. But it was the sixth "threequel" of the summer to open as a weekend's top film and it ranks as the fourth-biggest August opening on record.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" crossed the $100 million mark in its second week in theaters. And with "The Simpsons Movie" coming in third for the week with $11.1 million, making its three-week total hit $152 million, Hollywood might be looking at its first $4 billion summer.

"We've been riding a wave of momentum that started with 'Transformers' in July," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "We already stand at $3.6 billion at the box office. The $4 billion summer, once thought an impossibility, is definitely within reach."

This weekend's top 12 movies grossed 37 percent higher than the top dozen on the same weekend last year. So far this year, box office revenues are up 6.6 percent to $6.324 billion and attendance is up 1.9 percent.

The other film opening over the weekend, Paramount's "Stardust," adapted from the Neil Gaiman novel, didn't fare as well. It took in $9 million, good enough for fourth place behind "The Simpsons Movie," but not as much as might be expected for a film with a cast that included Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, Peter O'Toole and Claire Danes.

The movie's theme made it difficult to market in a 30-second TV spot, said Rob Moore, Paramount's head of worldwide marketing and distribution.

"When you make an original movie, it's always very challenging to be able to communicate to your audience what the genre is," he said. "These movies tend to be driven by word of mouth and home entertainment."

Moore said it is expected to do better in international markets.

The numbers are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released today.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

1. "Rush Hour 3," $50.2 million.

2. "The Bourne Ultimatum," $33.7 million.

3. "The Simpsons Movie," $11.1 million.

4. "Stardust," $9 million.

5. "Underdog," $6.5 million.

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