SUNDAY: Nostalgia for Crockett and Tubbs, plus a grittier look and story, made Universal’s Miami Vice the No. 1 movie at the box office, knocking off month-long Disney blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest. This was Michael Mann’s biggest movie opening of his directorial career as Vice took in $8.8 mil Friday and $9.1 mil Saturday for what was a less-than-anticipated $25.2 mil finish. Then again, the pic was playing in only 3,021 theaters, so its per-screen average was a  respectable $8,340. (Mann’s last big film, Collateral, starring Tom Cruise in his first villain role, opened at $24.7 mil and went on to gross a 4x multiple of its domestic opening weekend – getting past $100 mil.) I’m told Miami Vice played to a racially and ethnically diverse audience divided almost evenly between male and female – but a whopping 62% of the moviegoers were aged 30 and older. (Must have been the lure of that familiar theme music…) But the real news was that Warner Bros. continued its “bombs away” summer with the complete collapse of its expensive kiddie fare Ant Bully despite a lavish marketing campaign. Earning only $2.6 mil on Friday and $3.1 mil on Saturday, Ant Bully ended its opening weekend with a pathetic $8 million. So chalk up another loser for that studio, along with M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water, which barely registered its 2nd weekend out with $2.3 mil on Friday and $2.7 mil for Saturday. And, to top it off Superman, dropped out of the top 10 to finish the weekend with less than $4 mil — so it doesn’t look like it will make $200 mil, which is exactly the scenario I’ve been predicting since it opened. Pirates 2 hauled in another $20.3 mil for second place as it closes in on $400 million at U.S. theaters. The cheap teen pic from Fox, John Tucker Must Die, added $4.5 mil to its Friday’s take of $5.5 mil to finish the weekend at $14 mil. Sony’s Monster House had a super second weekend out with $11.5 mil (on Friday and $4.5 mil on Saturday). Finally, Uni’s comedy You, Me and Dupree playying in 2,820 theaters added another $7 mil for a cume to date of $59 mil. (By the way, on Friday, star Owen Wilson denied any connection between the movie and ’70s supergroup Steely Dan. The band recently posted a letter on their website claiming Wilson’s Dupree character was based on their Grammy-winning song, “Cousin Dupree,” about a couch-hopping houseguest. Whatever…) Finally, the Woody Allen/Scarlett Johanssen/Hugh Jackman comedy-thriller Scoop was #13 at $3 mil on 537 prints for its opening weekend. That’s a not-so-hot $5,800 average. Overall, box office was up 5% over last year’s.

SATURDAY: I’m told Universal’s Miami Vice opened strong enough this weekend to Mann-handle Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest for No. 1. That would make this Michael Mann’s biggest movie opening of his directorial career as Vice took in $8.8 mil Friday for what will probably be a $27 mil finish. (Mann’s last big film, Collateral, starring Tom Cruise in his first villain role, opened at $24 mil.) That’s hardly blockbuster status, especially considering the $150+ mil cost, because Mann movies tend to be better received among critics than at box offices. (Which still doesn’t explain why studios make movies with Mann. But it’s well-known they do well in the home, TV and foreign markets.) Disney’s Pirates 2 took in $5.8 mil Friday for the start of its 4th weekend out. Fox’s cheap teen comedy John Tucker Must Die opened with a better-than-expected $5.5 mil (some say more like $6 mil) for No. 3, and holdover Sony’s Monster House hauled in a nice $3.5 mil for #4. This weekend’s only other opener, Warner’s expensive kiddie fare Ant Bully, was disastrous with only $2.6 mil despite a lavish marketing campaign. So chalk up another loser for that studio, along with M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water, which barely registered its 2nd weekend out with $2.3 mil. And, to top it off Superman, dropped out of the top 10 with only $1.2 mil and will finish the weekend with less than $4 mil so it doesn’t look like it will make $200 mil, which is exactly the scenario I’ve been predicting since it opened. Another holdover from last weekend, MGM/The Weinstein Company’s Clerks 2 eked out $1.2 mil. Overall, weekend box office was up 8% over last year’s.

FRIDAY: Here’s some very early box office reports: I’m told that today’s matinees for Universal’s Miami Vice remake are good enough that box office gurus think the Michael Mann movie will finish the weekend with high $20s (as in millions). What’s especially interesting is that the studio was actually surprised by the better-than-average reviews that the movie has been receiving. Certainly, NBC Universal has done all it can to market the film, even showing the original Miami Vice TV pilot on the network in primetime. The Jamie Foxx/Colin Farrell starrer may even knock off Disney’s long-time No. 1 movie, Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest, projected to earn $20 mil during its fourth weekend out. Warner’s Ant Bully matinees have been respectable for a high teens opening weekend. Same with Fox’s John Tucker Must Die aimed at the teen market. Sony’s Monster House, which opened last week at No. 2, is also projected in the low teens.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

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