Note from Jeff Zucker:
It was another tremendous weekend for NBC Universal.
The Bourne Ultimatum — one of the most highly anticipated movies of the season — more than lived up to its advance billing, taking in more than 70 million dollars at the box office this weekend, making it the biggest August opening of any movie EVER.
In fact, it was the second biggest opening in the history of Universal Pictures. Only The Lost World: Jurassic Park, with a 72 million dollar first weekend in 1997, had a bigger opening for Universal.
I want to congratulate the entire Universal Pictures team on this latest success. They’ve been on a terrific run. Bourne will be the third Universal movie to crack the $100 million mark this summer and the third to debut at No. 1.
The critics are right, by the way — this is by far the best action thriller of the year. If you haven’t seen The Bourne Ultimatum, you are in for a treat.
Article in “Variety”:
Cracking the box office code, filmmaker Paul Greengrass’ “The Bourne Ultimatum” nabbed the best August opening on record, outperforming the debut of any James Bond pic as well as the previous two installments in Universal’s Jason Bourne spy franchise.
“Ultimatum” drew an estimated $70 million from 3,660 locations, easily taking the weekend crown as the summer box office surge continued, turning the dog days of August into an unprecedented picnic feast. Total estimated receipts for the top 10 pics were up 35% over the same weekend last year, according to Rentrak, likely making this year’s frame the best on the books and altering the industry’s view of late summer’s B.O. potential.
Meanwhile, the coin was flowing overseas as well, as the combined gross for the top five pics hit $147 million, up 76% from the tally of the top five during the comparable frame last year.
In another first for the film biz, DreamWorks-Paramount’s “Transformers” was poised to become the fourth tentpole this summer to cross the $300 million mark.
Coming in second over the weekend was 20th Century Fox’s holdover “The Simpsons Movie,” which took in an estimated $25.6 million from 3,926 runs in its second frame, down 65%. Animated laffer has grossed $128.5 domestically and $315.5 million worldwide in just 10 days….
But it was “Bourne Ultimatum,” which returned Matt Damon to the screen as the renegade agent for the third time, that delivered the most action at the multiplexes.
In addition to the best August opening ever, actioner marked the best debut numbers for both Damon and Greengrass. Pic appealed to both genders while skewing slightly older to auds over age 30.
The continued strength of the unconventional franchise is a coup for Universal, which happily pointed out that the “Ultimatum” bow topped last fall’s $40.8 million opening of “Casino Royale.”
“We knew what Paul Greengrass was capable of doing, and Matt’s just phenomenal. The combination of those two and producer Frank Marshall couldn’t be beat. The exit polls couldn’t have been better,” U distrib chief Nikki Rocco said. “It equals a kick-ass action spy film.”
[Check it Out: Variety]