For the first time ever, summer box office receipts cross $4 billion -- though the week's new releases don't add much to that figure
Credit: Melissa Moseley

The men of August are a powerful bunch. Not only do they fight crime, uncover secret government programs, and get chicks with illegal beer runs, but they are responsible for pushing the summer box office beyond the $4 billion point for the first time ever in movie-going history.

Thanks to Superbad, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Rush Hour 3 (the top three movies of this weekend), Hollywood hit an impressive box office milestone. And they had to do it all on their own, because none of the new releases carried much weight. In fact, not one of this weekend’s new movies grossed more then $11 million.

Superbad won the weekend again, grossing $18 million its second outing. That 46 percent decline from its opening frame gives the 10-day-old movie close to $70 million in total grosses — not bad for a film with no stars and a budget around $20 million.

Bourne Ultimatum continued its charge, earning $12.3 million. The film is only $15 million away from crossing the $200 million mark. And surprisingly, Rush Hour 3 is holding steady. The film grossed an estimated $11.5 million, crossing $100 million despite terrible reviews.

To be fair, it is the end-of-summer garage sale at the movie theaters, but of the four new releases, only Universal’s Mr. Bean’s Holiday surprised anyone. In fact, perhaps the Brits are onto something: The movie is already a hit overseas, and now with North American audiences adding another $10.1 million to its coffers, the G-rated movie’s worldwide gross stands at a huge $199 million.

Jason Statham still can’t crack into the leading-man club. The London import has developed a decent following, and his adrenaline-charged movies are always a thrill ride, but if War‘s opening grosses of $10 million are any indication, he still can’t be counted on to open a big movie. Granted, it is end of summer and there is plenty of competition out there for the young male audience (Superbad, Bourne Ultimatum, Rush Hour 3), but Statham’s pairing with Jet Li was not enough to lure them in.

First it was an early summer release, then it was an early fall release. Finally, the Weinstein Co. settled on late summer to release the Scarlett Johanssen-starrer The Nanny Diaries, and — whaddya know? — it didn’t work. Perhaps it was the derivative nature of the movie in contrast to last summer’s hit The Devil Wears Prada, or maybe all the women are away on family vacations. Whatever the reason, the PG-13-rated film didn’t connect with audiences and earned only $7.8 million.

And then there was the Josh Hartnett-Samuel L. Jackson movie Resurrecting the Champ. The film grossed only $1.8 million and secured Hartnett’s status on the B list.

There’s only one more weekend left of the summer. And if we’ve learned anything this frame, it’s spend as much time as possible outdoors. You know you’re not missing anything new at the movies.

The Nanny Diaries
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes