Domestic Box Office: $101,682,000
Overseas Box Office: $102,500,000
== Worldwide: $204,182,000
War of the Worlds Tops the Weekend Box OfficeAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, when 20th Century Fox's Independence Day planted a flag on the weekend of the Fourth in 1996, it discovered that extraterrestrials blowing up the White House was a surefire holiday attraction.
In 1997 and 2002, Sony Pictures followed up with comic close encounters as Men in Black and then Men in Black II dominated their respective dates.
This holiday weekend, Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds is already on the march. The Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks co-production bowed Wednesday in 3,908 theaters to $21.7 million -- Paramount's biggest opening day ever. The movie is, of course, was the weekend's "preordained winner." Once Paramount aimed the combined firepower of Spielberg and Tom Cruise on the movie's June 29 opening date, Fox, which had been planning to launch its sci-fi extravaganza Fantastic Four today, decided to move its movie out of the line of fire, shifting that movie's opening to July 8.
War of the Worlds invaded 3,908 theaters Wednesday and grossed $21.3 million on its opening day in North America. Day 1 for War proved to be the distributor's best opening day ever and the seventh-biggest Wednesday bow of all time.
"We are thrilled. It's an absolute home run for the studio. It's on the high side of what we were hoping for," Paramount president of distribution Wayne Lewellen said. "Because of Spielberg and Cruise's involvement in the film and the tremendous job of marketing and publicity, there was a tremendous amount of interest in the picture from the public -- and from all four demographic groups." Lewellen noted that 52% were younger than 25, and 54% were male.
Overseas War of the Worlds had a monster opening when it invaded cinemas internationally this weekend. Distributor United International Pictures was thrilled with opening estimates of $102.5 million for the 5-day weekend from over 8000 prints, the biggest ever opening for a non-sequel of all time and the fifth biggest ever opening for a film internationally. By UIP's estimation, only four other films have ever surpassed the $100 million mark on opening weekend, the sequels Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith ($144 million), Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ($123.5 million), The Matrix Revolutions ($119 million) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($113 million).
Results were also the best ever for UIP, significantly outperforming the company's next best title, Shrek 2, which made $79 million on same July 4 long weekend last year and went on to take $475 million total in the international marketplace.
UIP's Andrew Cripps noted that the opening Wednesday was not a holiday in most territories and commented: "These results are absolutely amazing and we are delighted that audiences around the world have responded so spectacularly to 'War of the Worlds.' The reaction to the film has been incredibly positive and gives us every indication that (the film) is now set for a long and very successful run."