Joshua Rich's report: The Adam Sandler comedy came out on top, beating ''Cars'' and ''Nacho Libre''

In the last weekend before summer’s second big wave of blockbuster movies hits, Adam Sandler’s Click opened at No. 1 with $40 million, according to Sunday’s estimates.

Now, an untrained monkey could have predicted that Click was going to finish in first. But foreseeing the movie’s actual gross proved a little more tricky for prognosticators, including, I’m sorry to say,’s very own box office savant. Yes, yes, I was off by a teeny weeny tiny $15 mil. What can I say? The movie looked like a huge winner on paper — industry predictions generally hovered in the upper-$40-mil range — but it just couldn’t pull through. Think of it as the box office version of the New York Yankees, circa 2001 (or 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005): There’s plenty for Sony to be proud of, but the studio won’t be taking any champagne showers in the locker room. According to my good buddy John at Nielsen EDI, Click is the seventh Sandler movie to premiere over $35 million, and yet it’s merely his fifth-best debut ever. Heck, it’s only costar Kate Beckinsale’s the third-best bow, following Van Helsing‘s $51.7 mil in 2004 and Pearl Harbor‘s $59.1 mil in 2001. With a solid-but-unspectacular B+ CinemaScore rating from audiences and poor reviews from critics, Click is set to fall off sharply in the coming weeks opposite Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Still, Sony should be applauded for scoring their seventh No. 1 movie of 2006 (no other outfit has more than three) — a particularly sweet achievement given its poor showing at the box office last year.

The only other wide opener, the urban thriller Waist Deep, meanwhile, surpassed expectations with a $9.5 mil bow, placing it about ankle deep in the top five at No. 4. It was surrounded by Cars, which dropped just 33 percent to earn $22.5 mil at No. 2; its three-week cumulative take is $155.9 mil. Nacho Libre fell a substantially steeper 57 percent to come in at No. 3 with $12.1 mil. And The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift pretty much drove off a cliff (excuse me while I pat myself on the back for that deft, if too easy, mix of metaphors!), plummeting 62 percent to earn $9.2 mil at No. 5.

And that’s just about that. The Break-Up (No. 7) became the year’s seventh $100-mil grosser. The Da Vinci Code (No. 10) is now the year’s second $200-mil hit. Al Gore’s global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth (No. 14) has earned nearly $10 mil without yet playing wide. And my best bud Paul at Exhibitor Relations says that this weekend was up almost 7 percent over the same Friday-to-Sunday period last year. In other words, things are doing so well that we really don’t need Superman to save the day with a $30-mil premiere on Wednesday — even though that’s what he’s going to do.

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