In the latest demonstration of how little influence film critics are able to exert on the box office these days, the Will Smith starrer Hancock collected an estimated $66 million over the three-day weekend despite an avalanche of negative reviews. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media by Numbers, said, "The Sony marketing machine and Will Smith's recognition transcend any [critical] barbs the movie might sustain." In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Dergarabedian called Smith "the most bankable star in the world." Since Hancock opened with two preview screenings on Tuesday, it has taken in $107.3 million. It earned an additional $78 million overseas. It marked Smith's eighth consecutive film to open in first place. Meanwhile, last weekend's champ, Disney/Pixar's WALL-E, slipped to second place with about $33.4 million (a drop of 47 percent), to bring its 10-day total to $128.1 million. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, the only other film besides Hancock to open wide (it had played in New York and Los Angeles the previous two weeks), proved to be a disappointment, taking in only $3.6 million and winding up in eighth place.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers: 1. Hancock, $66 million; 2. WALL-E , $33.4 million; 3. Wanted, $20.6 million; 4. Get Smart, $11.1 million; 5. Kung Fu Panda, $7.5 million; 6. The Incredible Hulk, $5 million; 7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, $3.9 million; 8. K it Kittredge: An American Girl, $3.6 million; 9. Sex And The City, $2.3 million; 10. You Don't Mess With the Zohan, $2 million.

07/07/2008