The Early Show entertainment contributor Laurie Hibberd reports that, according to Hollywood.com, "Anger Management" is the biggest opening of 2003 with $44.5 million.
Colin Farrell's thriller "Phone Booth" lost half its audience and fell to number two with just $7.5 million and "What A Girl Wants" came in third place with $6.7 million.
The Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson comedy revived the box office after four-straight slumping weekends as the top 12 movies took in $86.9 million, up 6 percent from the same weekend last year.
"Anger Management" grossed more than the rest of the top 12 combined. No one was seeing that. Everyone was thinking the comedy would do mid- to high-$30s, because it has Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler, a pretty good combo.
Sandler always opens well, Hibberd says.
Sandler's top opening weekends are:
Jack Nicholson opens in the teens. But his films consistently do well, usually making more than $100 million. And he's got prestige in the other areas, with several gold statues sitting at home.
Sandler plays a mild-mannered man railroaded into anger counseling with a therapist, played by Nicholson, who puts him through ordeals that goad him into comic outbursts.
Playing in 3,551 theaters, "Anger Management" averaged an impressive $12,532 a cinema. The weekend's other main new release, Rob Zombie's gory horror tale "House of 1,000 Corpses," was No. 7 with $3.4 million in 595 theaters, for a $5,714 average.
"The comedy genre this year is just incapable of burning out," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "People are looking to blow off steam. What better way than seeing a movie that combines Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler?"
In limited release, the low-budget "Better Luck Tomorrow" had a huge first weekend, grossing $398,489 in just 13 theaters for an average of $30,653. Directed by Justin Lin, the film features a cast of unknowns in the story of straight-A, Asian-American teens who, bored with their suburban lives, slide into petty crimes that lead to violence.
MTV Films acquired the movie at last year's Sundance Film Festival, feeling its fresh faces, dark humor, eclectic music and ambivalent ending would appeal to the network's youthful audience.
Asian-Americans made up a bit more than half the audience, but the filmmakers hope it can cross over to a wider crowd as the movie expands to more theaters over the next two weekends.
"These kids could be anybody," said Van Toffler, MTV president. "It's silly to underestimate the eclectic moviegoing tastes of our demographic. The cast doesn't have to look or feel like them for them to want to see it."
Here are the numbers, according to Hollywood.com:
- "Anger Management," $44.5 million.
- "Phone Booth," $7.5 million.
- "What a Girl Wants," $6.7 million.
- "Bringing Down the House," $4.6 million.
- "A Man Apart," $4.5 million.
- "Head of State," $4 million.
- "House of 1,000 Corpses," $3.4 million.
- "Chicago," $3.3 million.
- "The Core," $3.2 million.
- "Basic," $2.2 million.