Call them Men in Red, White, and Blue. Five years after Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones dominated the box office over the Fourth of July weekend with ”Men in Black,” they’ve returned with a sequel and even bigger numbers.
Over the five-day holiday weekend, ”Men in Black II”” grossed a fantastic $90 million, according to studio estimates. That beats the $84 million the original earned over its first five and half days in 1997. Surprisingly, however, ”MIBII” failed to top the Fourth of July record held by ”Independence Day,” which brought in $96.1 million over five and a half days back in 1996. True, ”ID4” had that extra half day, but given today’s higher ticket prices and ”Men in Black II”’s bigger screen count, it’s a moral defeat for ”MIBII” not to break that six-year-old record. Still, ”MIBII” now ranks as the third-best debut of the year, after ”Spider-Man” and ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.”
After topping the charts last week, Adam Sandler’s ”Mr. Deeds” slipped to No. 2, falling about 50 percent with $26.3 million over the five days. With a 10-day total of $74.1 million, ”Deeds” is certainly not a flop like 2000’s ”Little Nicky,” but it won’t be a ”Big Daddy” either. Expect ”Deeds” to barely cross $100 million.
Third place went to the new basketball comedy ”Like Mike,” starring kid rapper Lil’ Bow Wow. The hoops flick, which smartly featured many NBA players in cameo roles, managed a solid $20.1 million opening, impressive considering the film boasted no A-list stars (unless you count the likes of Jason Kidd and Chris Webber). It looks like pushing ”Mike” up a week turned out to be a good offensive move.
With ”Minority Report” and ”Lilo & Stitch” rounding out the top five, the week’s other new release, ”The Powerpuff Girls Movie,” flopped in ninth place with only $6.1 million over the long weekend. That’s even worse than ”Hey Arnold! The Movie” did last weekend. Should a ”Powerpuff” film have come out two years ago to capitalize on the cartoon hype?