Copyright 2004

[ September 19th 2004 ]

The debut flight of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow landed the No. 1 weekend box office spot with an estimated $16.2 million amid an overall lacklustre turnout at theatres. The $70 million, film-noir-styled fantasy starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie cast its live actors against digitally animated giant robots on a backdrop of 1930s New York. The film was originally slated to debut during the summer blockbuster season, but distributor Paramount pushed back the opening amid post-production delays.

"You gotta figure, with a project like this, you don't know what the response is going to be from the audience," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co. "I think they maximized the potential of the movie by taking it out of the summer and putting it here because it was the only way it was going to be No. 1.'' Wayne Lewellen, Paramount's head of distribution, acknowledged the film might have drawn a larger opening audience as a summer release.

"Absolutely. You have a larger audience in summer than in the fall," Lewellen said. "I thought we had a great date in June prior to the opening of (Spider-Man 2). Unfortunately, they couldn't deliver the picture.'' The film drew a largely older audience, according to studio tracking, which estimated 70 percent of viewers were over 25. About 55 percent of the audience was male, Paramount said. "Just the look of the picture, the kind of retro look, probably had an appeal to an older audience," Lewellen said, adding that he hopes the film will attract younger audiences in the coming weeks.

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