Box Office: Hulk Smash At The Ticket Booth

June 17, 2008 | By Clint Froehlich | Creative

David Cooper / UNIVERSAL TV / The Kobal Collection / WireImage/Getty Images

A movie starring Edward Norton as an angry green giant who says stuff like “HULK! SMASH!” soared to the top of the U.S. box office this weekend, with an opening take of $55.4 million. The Louis Leterrier-directed blockbuster is a virtual re-boot of Marvel’s lucrative “Hulk” franchise, which disappointed in its first cinematic outing in 2003 after a mauling by critics and audiences. The Incredible Hulk didn’t open quite as big as Hulk, but it might end up with more bank in the end – word-of-mouth for Ang Lee’s Hulk was atrocious, leading to embarrassing drop-offs. All in all, this was a successful re-try, even if the movie itself is a bit bland.

M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening opened in third with an impressive $30.5 million, proving to naysayers that his name on the marquee can still open a thriller. You can expect a massive second-weekend drop though. Audiences are hating the film, as are their critical counterparts. Still, it’s certainly not as big of a disaster as Lady in the Water.

Kung Fu Panda held up nicely for second place. Its $33.6 million weekend puts it at $117 million overall. The toon is currently running at the same pace as Pixar’s Cars. If lucky, Dreamworks could be looking at a $250 million final tally in the States.

For the third weekend in a row, the box office was red hot overall, and once again crushed year-ago levels. June 2008 will easily one of the strongest summer months in history, and should even the year out after a disappointing May (Speed Racer, Narnia) and the general slump leading in to the summer. Next weekend: The Love Guru and Get Smart. More $$ fireworks from mediocre movies! 

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