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SUNDAY AM: Disney / Pixar’s Ratatouille cooked up a winning recipe as America’s No. 1 movie, opening big with $47.2 mil this weekend from a bountiful 3,940 theaters. bruce.jpgSurprisingly, it performed equally well on Friday as it did Saturday featuring the famed kiddie matinees. But Remy The Rat’s debut is still well below the last Disney / Pixar toon Cars, which opened in 2006 to $60 mil and earned less than 2003′s Finding Nemo ($70 mil) and 2004′s The Incredibles ($70 mil). (Plus, Ratatouille can’t merchandise itself like the other toons — not with a rat as the main character.) I hear the incredibly well reviewed film (95% “fresh” reviews at Rotten Tomatoes) played right across the board. And, while Los Angelenos are used to applause as the credits roll, there are anecdotal reports of lotsa clapping across the country. The rodent should have great legs over Fourth Of July week. No. 2 went to Fox’s action-packed Live Free Or Die Hard starring Bruce Willis which opened back on Wednesday also to good reviews. It made $33.1 mil this weekend from 3,408 venues. That’s more than good considering how the adult action movie marketplace is so jammed with high-profile summer product right now. Exit polls showed the audience was fairly evenly divided between males and females. (In comparison, the previous three Die Hards skewed more towards men.) Fox insiders are calling these exit polls for their stunt-filled fourquel the best since Speed. Its 5-day total is now $48.1 mil for this latest in the John McClane franchise. (Previous: Does Bruce Die Hard Or Get Ratatouille’d?)

mooresicko.JPGThe other big opening this weekend was from The Weinstein Co: Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko did a bigger than expected $4.4 mil this weekend  from only 441 theaters, good enough for 9th place. That’s a healthy start for the controversial but well-reviewed pic (91% fresh reviews). Love him or hate him, the Oscar-winning director stage-managed a PR blitz around his movie starting with the Cannes Film Festival back in May. For instance, on Thursday, Moore was barred from making a scheduled TV interview with CNBC on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange where he and a group of nurses intended to call for Wall Street investors and Main Street consumers to divest themselves of HMO, health insurance, and drug company stocks. Free publicity also came from the Bush administration who went after Moore for his filming visit to Cuba: Feds Probe Michael Moore For ‘Sicko’ Trip.) In contrast to Sicko playing in half as many venues, the new Focus Features chick flick Evening, starring nearly every fine actress, managed only 10th place after opening to $3.4 mil this weekend in 977 theaters.

evening-movie.jpgBack to the Top 10, Universal’s disappointing family film Evan Almighty (-50% for the most expensive comedy ever made) placed third, making $15 mil from Friday through Sunday from 3,636 playdates. Its new cume is $60.6 mil after a week in release. The Weinstein Co’s horror film 1408 based on a Stephen King novel and starring John Cusack finished the weekend down about 48% for fourth place, taking in $10.9 mil from 2,733 theaters for a new cume of $40.6 mil. Fox’s #5 film Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer crossed the $100 million mark this week for a new cume of $114.8 mil after squeezing out another $9 mil in its third weekend in release from 3,424 venues. Celebrating 6th place, Universal keeps making money off its R-rated laugher Knocked Up, which raked in $7.4 mil this weekend even after 5 weeks out for a big new cume of $122.4 mil. (Nice, considering the Judd Apatow pic only cost $30 mil.) Starting its 4th week in release, Warner’s Oceans Thirteen crept past the $100 mil mark this weekend (new cume is now $102.1 mil) after making $6.1 mil this weekend. That was good enough for 7th place.

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End still has sealegs: it scraped together $5 mil for 8th place and a giant new domestic cume of $295.8 mil. In its six week of release, Pirates 3 has now earned $904.7 million worldwide at the box office, becoming the 9th movie in Hollywood history to make this much money. It’s also now the most popular global release of the summer and of 2007, beating out Spider-Man 3 which has $882 worldwide. (Oops, there goes the Sony team’s dreams of Malibu beach houses in their year-end bonus packages.) Disney says Johnny Depp and crew did another $14 million internationally this weekend, elevating the pic’s cume to $608.9 mil overseas, #6 on the all-time foreign chart. But Spider-Man 3 has still made the most domestic box office with a cume of $333.6 million and is the 2007 U.S. champ. Its foreign is now $548.9 mil.

Meanwhile, Paramount Vantage’s A Mighty Heart starring Angelina Jolie collapsed completely, managing only 14th place with a $1.5 mil weekend (with a lousy per screen average) and new cume of $6.9 mil. As I’ve said previously, what a dumb move by the studio to release it this tentpole summer.

Here’s the Top 10 chart:

  1. 1. Ratatouille $16.5M Fri, $16.9M Sat, and est $13.9M Sun. (cume $47.2M)
  2. 2. Die Hard 4 $10.4M Fri, $12.6M Sat, and est $10M Sun. ($46.5M)
  3. 3. Evan Almighty $5M Fri, $5.6M Sat, and est $4.8M Sun. ($60.6M)
  4. 4. 1408 $3.6M Fri, $4M Sat, and est $3.2M Sun. ($40.6M)
  5. 5. Silver Surfer $2.7M Fri, $3.5M Sat, and est $2.7M Sun. ($114.8M)
  6. 6. Knocked Up 3 $2.3M Fri, $2.8M Sat, and est $2.3M Sun. ($122.4M)
  7. 7. Ocean’s Thirteen $1.9M Fri, $2.4M Sat, and est $1.7M Sun. ($102.1M)
  8. 8. Pirates 3 $1.4M Fri, $1.9M Sat, and est $1.5M Sun. ($295.8M)
  9. 9. Sicko $1.3K Fri, $1.6M Sat, and est $1.4K Sun. ($4.5M)
  10. 10. Evening $1.2M Fri, $1.3M Sat, and est $880K Sun. ($3.4M)
For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

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