According to The Hollywood Reporter, with the weekend's two new wide releases -- DreamWorks' Madagascar and Paramount's The Longest Yard -- opening to more than $60 million each and 20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith sitting in the top spot with an estimated $70.8 million, the four-day Memorial Day holiday proved to be the second-biggest weekend in boxoffice history.
The total boxoffice for all films this holiday frame should be in the low- to mid-$230 million area, roughly 6% shy of last year's $247.6 million tally during the Memorial Day weekend and marks the second-best start of the summer season on record. To help put that gross in context, this weekend's total was 15% better than the $202 million racked up during the four-day holiday in 2003, which is the third-biggest weekend ever recorded. As expected, Sith held on to the top spot after a stellar opening a week earlier as the 12-day cume for the sci-fi adventure, written and helmed by George Lucas, rocketed to an impressive $271.2 million. By comparison, Sith dropped slightly more on its second weekend than did Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, but the 12-day tally for Sith far outdistanced the $201.3 million collected by Clones for the same 12-day period. The worldwide total through Sunday for the PG-13 rated film was a remarkable $504.4 million.
While distributors blamed a heat wave in Europe for a slumping boxoffice over the weekend, 20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith lived up to expectations in its first worldwide holdover session, and DreamWorks' new animated entry, Madagascar, got off to a rousing start in two Asian markets. Despite a 54% drop from its opening round, "Sith" racked up $61.5 million from 10,586 screens in 106 territories, hoisting the international gross to $246.2 million. The percentage decline -- which does not take into account the previous weekend's previews, midnight screenings and this past weekend's bow in Korea -- is considered normal for a global saturation release of a blue-ribbon blockbuster. The Korea opening -- $3.8 million from 306 screens -- is rated as Fox's third-biggest takeoff in the market, behind The Day After Tomorrow and Kingdom of Heaven. The final episode in George Lucas' Star Wars series held the No. 1 boxoffice position in most of the more than 100 markets in which it bowed a week ago, with the exception of Singapore and Malaysia, where Madagascar edged to the front.