`Sky Captain' takes out `Resident Evil' at No. 1

Box office

September 20, 2004

LOS ANGELES - The debut flight of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow landed the No. 1 weekend box office spot with an estimated $16.2 million amid an overall lackluster turnout at theaters.

The $70 million, film-noir-styled fantasy starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie cast its live actors against digitally animated giant robots on a backdrop of 1930s New York.

The film was originally slated to debut during the summer blockbuster season, but distributor Paramount pushed back the opening amid post-production delays.

"You gotta figure, with a project like this, you don't know what the response is going to be from the audience," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co. "I think they maximized the potential of the movie by taking it out of the summer and putting it here because it was the only way it was going to be No. 1."

The film drew a largely older audience, according to studio tracking, which estimated 70 percent of viewers were over 25. About 55 percent of the audience was male, Paramount said.

Two other debut films broke into the box office top 10.

Mr. 3000, a baseball comedy starring Bernie Mac, grabbed the No. 2 spot with $9.2 million. Wimbledon, a romantic comedy starring Kirsten Dunst as a rising tennis player who falls for a fading tennis star played by British actor Paul Bettany, grabbed the No. 4 spot with $7.8 million.

Overall traffic at movie theaters was down over the weekend. Viewership for the top 10 movies saw a decline of more than 25 percent compared to a year ago, when Underworld led the box office, Dergarabedian said.

Estimated ticket sales in millions for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations (final figures will be released today):

1. Sky Captain $16.2

2. Mr. 3000 $9.2

3. Resident Evil $9.0

4. Wimbledon $7.8

5. Cellular $6.8

6. Without a Paddle $3.7

7. Hero $2.9

8. Napoleon Dynamite $2.4

9. Collateral $2.3

10. Princess Diaries 2 $2.0

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