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Ocean’s Twelve Steals US B.O. Top Spot
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Story
Ocean’s Twelve Steals US B.O. Top Spot

Blade Trinity takes second place as Clooney and the gang run wild
12 December 2004

An act of grand larceny took place in the US this weekend – in broad daylight, and right under everyone’s noses. But it’s ok, folks – we’re not talking the US election (that wouldn’t exactly be topical, for starters), but we are talking the excellent $40.8 million opening weekend of Steven Soderbergh’s all-star crime caper, Ocean’s Twelve, which gave it the number one spot at this weekend’s US Top 10.

Although reviews for the flick, in which George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, and the ones who aren’t George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts head to Europe to pull off some tricksy heists, were mixed (with some loving the anything goes vibe of the movie, and others castigating it for smugness), moviegoers across the States were clearly delighted to hook up with the characters we last saw in 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven.

That movie opened almost exactly three years ago with $38.1 million, so WB – and Soderbergh/Clooney, whose Section Eight production company needed a hit after a couple of flops – will be glad that Ocean’s Twelve outperformed it. Now the focus will be on the legs of the multi-limbed picture. Ocean’s Eleven displayed excellent staying power to gross $183 million domestic and $450 million worldwide – Twelve will be hoping for more of the same, although it remains to be seen how its innate jokiness will play with regular Joes.

Curiously, for all the starpower assembled, though, Ocean’s Twelve falls short of the top opening weekends generated by many of its stars – Clooney’s no. 1 opening is still 1997’s Batman and Robin ($42 million), Pitt’s is Troy with $46 million, and Damon opened The Bourne Supremacy to $52 million earlier this year. Which might indicate that the demand for this sequel wasn’t overwhelming.

Still, Ocean’s Twelve is at least a bona fide hit, no matter which way you cut it. Unlike Blade Trinity, the third and probably final part of New Line and Marvel’s vampire hunter franchise. Don’t be fooled by the movie’s no. 2 placing on the chart – its $16 million take over the weekend, and $24.5 million grossed since its opening on Wednesday, is a huge disappointment, significantly down on the $32 million opening of Guillermo Del Toro’s Blade II, two years ago, and falling short, even, of Blade’s $17 million in 1998. And that was a sleeper hit with none of the marketing muscle afforded Blade Trinity.

The critics tore David Goyer’s movie a new crypt, but then the first two movies weren’t exactly critical faves, either. But this time, word of mouth from the fanboys and fangirls seems to be firmly against the flick, which introduced two new characters - Ryan Reynolds’ Hannibal King and Jessica Biel’s Abigail Whistler – to the fray, in hopes of starting a spin-off series. Right now, though, Blade Trinity will be lucky to limp to $50 million, so it looks like that new franchise has been staked in the heart before it even got off the ground.

After dominating the chart at no. 1 for the last three weeks, Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure finally dropped down to no. 3 this weekend with an estimated $9.9 million take. But with $124 million in the bank so far, National has accumulated more than enough Treasure to keep Jerry Bruckheimer happy.

Other notable movers and shakers in the Top 10 this week included Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express which continues to hold up well in the run-up to Christmas. This week, it recorded a drop-off of just 9% - the lowest in the Top 10 by far – and now stands at $110 million. Speaking of drop-offs, there were significant declines for Closer, the starry Mike Nichols-directed Oscar bait, which added screens but haemorrhaged cash. It now has an estimated $13 million after two weeks, and won’t stay much longer in the Top 10. And next week will see Oliver Stone’s much-maligned Alexander cut short his stay with the big boys, as well. The Colin Farrell-starrer now has just over $30 million after three weeks, and is now banking on receipts from the rest of the world – where the film will presumably be given more of a chance, by critics and Stone-receptive audiences, than it was in the States – to break even.

Two films dropped out of the Top 10 this weekend. Ray has $69 million so far – not bad for a biopic anchored by a black actor who isn’t Denzel or Will – but may need to hang around the outskirts of the Top 10 if it’s to garner any more Oscar nominations than the locked-down Best Actor nod for Jamie Foxx. And Bridget Jones: Edge Of Reason also dropped out, with its $38.3 million after five weeks roughly about half the total of the original. Not good.

Next week, the Christmas box office fever keeps on hotting up, with three biggies all opening. Fox has moved its desert-set actioner, Flight Of The Phoenix, forward to next week, hoping to exploit a gap in the market, while Adam Sandler ditches the fart gags for more serious acting in James L. Brooks’ dramedy, Spanglish. Both should perform admirably.

But there’s no mistaking the Big One next week – the kids movie (so it seems, anyway) that could well give that Potter franchise a run for its money. Yes, it’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events which, given its rabid fanbase and the starpower of Jim Carrey, should rack up an opening comfortably north of $50 million. And if it doesn’t, we’ll come back next week and erase that sentence, thus covering our backs. Ha!

For all the facts and figures, head over to Box Office Mojo.

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