“Bourne” Supreme; “Catwoman” Splat.

E! Online News – “Bourne” Supreme; “Catwoman” Splat.

Matt proved a killer. Halle got skinned.

Matt Damon’s thriller sequel The Bourne Supremacy opened as this weekend’s number one movie with a supremely good $53.5 million, a personal best for the star. But Halle Berry’s DC Comics book’s character caper Catwoman proved a dog, managing only a whisker-thin $17.1 million third place debut.

Last week’s number one I, Robot, Will Smith’s assault on automatons, was in second place, dropping a huge 58 percent, but still earning $22 million to bring its current gross to $95.4 million. Dropping less precipitously – only 39 percent – was Spider-Man 2, which in its fourth week was down from second to fourth place, snagging another $15 million to make its current gross $328.4 million.

Opening at 3,165 sites The Bourne Supremacy, in which Damon reprises his role as the memory impaired super-spy, did considerably bigger business than the original The Bourne Identity, which had debuted in summer 2002 with $27.1 million and eventually grossed $121.6 million. The PG-13 Universal release, which cost around $75 million to produce – a modest sum for a summer action flick – triumphed in per screen average with $16,910, compared to the first movie’s $10,280 at 2,638 sites. “It’s an amazing gross, especially considering the overlapping audience appeal of the top four films,” commented Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. He credits the numbers to a combination of good reviews, the success of the original’s DVD sales and the simple fact that “people want to see more of this character.”

Apparently nobody much gave a meow about seeing Berry in her slick leather suit as the empowered feline femme clawing at Sharon Stone and other evildoers. The PG-13 Warner’s release, which reportedly cost almost $100 million to produce, had been mauled by critics, and Degarabedian theorized, “Boys like to see the word ‘man’, not ‘woman’,” in their action flicks. At 3,117 sites it averaged only $5,504.

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Meantime Michael Moore’s hot buzz documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which slices and dices the reputation of George Bush, passed the $100 million mark on Saturday in its fifth weekend of release. It’s the first documentary in history to achieve that record. Now in seventh place the $6 million production averaged $2,695 at 1,855 sites – 149 fewer than last weekend – for $5 million, which pushed its total gross so far to $103.3 million. Moore, speaking during a conference call Sunday morning, credited the success to the public’s desire to “look for the truth and begin the important discussion and debate that needs to take place in this county,” and the fact that “right now it’s really cool to talk about politics.” Also he said, judging from his mail and observation at theaters, the record box-office is due to the fact people “want to go to a good movie. I don’t think they are saying, ‘Let’s go see a documentary tonight.’ I think they are saying that they’ve heard that this movie is funny, they’ve heard that this movie is sad, they’ve heard that this movie will show them things that they have never seen before, and I think that’s why we all like to go to the movies.”

Interesting news all around. I enjoyed the first Bourne flick but will likely wait for the DVD to come up before seeing the sequel. The poor showing of “Catwoman” likely has far less to do with antipathy toward female action stars–the Alien films did quite well as does anything Jennifer Garner–than the incredibly lame plot. If a movie looks bad in the Coming Attractions, you know it’s bad. Halle Berry is a beautiful woman and a decent actress but not that many people are going to pay $9 to see her in a cat suit.

The continued success of the Moore flick is the biggest news here. Clearly, the success of this propaganda piece is more evidence of the polarization of the electorate but there must be something more to it than that. The predictions were that the film would have very modest success indeed; $100 million in sales is phenomenal for a political screed.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Catwoman was really bad. Berry looked good in it, but that was the main redeeming feature.

  2. BA says:

    I’m a man and have been reading comic books for 20 years, and watching action films for almost the same amount of time. My total lack of interest in seeing the Catwoman movie has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it has a female protagonist and has everything to do with the fact that it looks like complete and total crap. The current comic book version of Catwoman is a film noir influenced series with the main character being intelligent, confident and stylishly dressed (her new costume giving more thought to practicality than to fanboy sexual fantasies). Had someone made a movie about it, I would have gladly gone to see it.

  3. 42nd SSD says:

    I think the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 is mostly to do with the current “those in power are inherently evil” mindset. And this belief is amazingly widespread, as I know a few otherwise rational people who firmly believe this.

    It doesn’t matter whether the allegations in the movie have any validity whatsoever. If you say something that people want to hear, they’ll listen–and believe it.

    And, it is entertaining… especially when you consider the usual brand of Hollywood tripe.