Angels at Half Throttle, Hulk Losing Steam

Disappointing numbers plagued the top contenders at the box office over the weekend as Charlie’s Angles: Full Throttle failed to match its predecessor and The Hulk‘s performance proved in need of a strong dose of gamma rays.

The animated alter-egos of screen vixens Drew Barymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu may have gotten some hits in Charlie’s Angels Animated Adventures (http://www.animatedangels.com), but the new big-screen sequel didn’t hit the note Sony hoped it would with moviegoers. While it did capture the No. 1 spot, the $120 million actioner fell shy of expectations in bringing in an estimated $38 million, $2 million less than the first Charlie’s Angels did when it opened in November 2000. Charlies Angles Full Throttle features visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks and The Orphanage.

Universal’s $137 million superhero epic The Hulk also failed to flex the kind of box office muscle Universal had anticipated. The flick starring Industrial Light & Magic’s CG green Goliath took a 70% dive in ticket sales during its second week out of the lab, bringing in just $18.4 million (est.).

A number of critics have praised Hulk for its dark, thoughtful script and attention to character study, but audiences expecting a mindless summer thrill ride have been largely disappointed. While negative word-of-mouth has kept the film from reaching the heights of fellow comic book adaptations Spider-Man and X2: X-Men United, the film has crossed the $100 million mark and should make a hefty profit worldwide and leave the door open for a sequel.

Though it debuted at No. 4, the weekend’s real winner was Fox Searchlight’s well-reviewed indie horror effort 28 Days Later from Trainspotting director Danny Boyle. Released in just 1,260 theaters nationwide, the $8 million feature did an estimated $9.7 in receipts and surpassed the distributor’s projections. The numbers should send the film into wider release next weekend.

Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo took in another estimated $13.8 million in week five for a third place finish and an estimated cume of $253.9 million. The CG fish tale continues its pursuit of the summer box office crown, currently held by Warner Bros.’ The Matrix Reloaded with around $268.9.

Paramount’s Rugrats Go Wild is hanging onto a top ten spot at No. 8. Produced by Klasky Csupo and Nickelodeon Movies, the animated romp has made an estimated $30.8 million in three weeks and is well on its way to turning a profit.