SBD/Issue 216/Sports Media

“Talladega Nights” Tops Weekend Box Office, Earning $47M

“Talladega Nights” Passes Analysts’
Expectations For Opening Weekend

Sony Pictures’ “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” earned an estimated $47M at the box office over the weekend, marking a 53% increase over Warner Bros.’ The Dukes of Hazzard,” the No. 1 opener during the comparable weekend last year, according to Nicole Sperling of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The debut “marks the second-biggest original comedy opening behind” Jim Carrey’s “Bruce Almighty” in ’03 (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/7). In L.A., Greg Hernandez writes “Talladega Nights” posted the “third-biggest August opening in history.” Exhibitor Relations President Paul Dergarbedian, whose company tracks box office numbers, said, “‘Talladega Nights’ had everything going for it. There was a natural built-in appeal that attracted the NASCAR audience. Everything came together for this movie” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/7). USA TODAY’s Scott Bowles reports the $47M take “is $15[M] more than most analysts projected,” and marks the largest debut for star Will Ferrell, whose previous high was $31M for “Elf” in ’03 (USA TODAY, 8/7). DAILY VARIETY’s Ben Fritz notes 53% of audiences were male and 52% were under 25. Sony Pictures President of Domestic Distribution Rory Bruer said that the movie “played well in both NASCAR-centric markets and in general release.” Bruer: “We were very strong in the South and Southeast, but whether it was small towns or big cities, having Will Ferrell in a NASCAR movie got just about everybody” (DAILY VARIETY, 8/7).

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