Bunny money gooses Seuss

'Horton' makes it two with $25 mil in 2nd week

"Horton" easily won the Easter boxoffice hunt.

Fox's animated feature "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" repeated atop the domestic boxoffice this weekend, posting a modest 44% drop from opening grosses to earn an estimated $25.1 million with an $86.5 million cume. That outdistanced the $20 million bow by Lionsgate's urban comedy "Meet the Browns."

Elsewhere over the busy holiday frame, the Fox-distributed New Regency horror film "Shutter" collected $10.7 million in a third-place debut, and Paramount's high school comedy "Drillbit Taylor" bit into $10.2 million while opening in fourth.

The weekend for Summit Entertainment's mixed martial arts drama "Never Back Down" featured a decline of just 44% to kick up $4.9 million in sixth place and shape a $16.8 million cume. Universal's sci-fi thriller "Doomsday" fell a bigger 56% to slip from the top 10, with $2.2 million during its sophomore session yielding a 10-day cume of $8.9 million.

Lionsgate's heist adventure "The Bank Job" is proving surprisingly leggy, taking eighth place with $4.1 million during its third session. The tiny 19% drop from its previous weekend followed an even smaller 15% dip during its second frame, with "Job" now grabbing $19.4 million in 17-day loot.

In a notable limited opening this weekend, "Under the Same Moon" from Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co. grossed $2.6 million from 266 runs for an enviable average of $9,774 per engagement and a $3.3 million cume since bowing Wednesday. The America Ferrera starrer — which finished in 10th place on the frame — set a new record for a domestic opening by a Spanish-language film, outpacing a $1.6 million bow by Lionsgate's "Ladron que roba a ladron" in August.

Industrywide, the weekend represented a big 16% downtick from last year's non-Easter frame with $114 million in collective boxoffice, according to Nielsen EDI data. The session also underperformed the April 6-8, 2007, Easter frame by 8%.

The industry boxoffice has marked year-over-year downticks in six of the past seven weekends. But 2008 remains 1% ahead of the same portion of last year, as it tiptoed across the $2 billion threshold this weekend, EDI said.

In another limited bow this session, IFC Films unspooled the French musical "Love Songs" in a pair of locations and grossed $21,906, or an encouraging $10,953 per site.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Focus Features' Colin Farrell starrer "In Bruges" added five playdates for a total of 216 and rung up $464,950, or $2,153 per engagement, with a $5.9 million cume.

Warner Independent's hostage drama "Funny Games" added three theaters for a total of 289 and grossed $237,000, or a thin $820 per venue, with a $1 million cume.

The distributor added a dozen engagements for its drama "Snow Angels" for a total of 15 and grossed $53,000. That was an acceptable $3,533 per playdate, with a cume of $116,000 ahead of an expansion into top-25 markets Friday.

Sony Pictures Classics' drama "The Counterfeiters" added 20 playdates for a total of 92 in grossing $515,504, or a sturdy $5,603 per engagement, with a $1.9 million cume.

SPC's drama "Married Life" added 10 theaters for a total of 32 and grossed $155,854, or $4,870 per venue, with a $369,646 cume. The distributor's comedy "CJ7" added five locations for a total of 30 to gross $36,040, or $1,201 per site, with a $156,561 cume.

Meanwhile, the Easter release for "Browns" was in keeping with a recent trend seeing films released over the holiday frame seeking black audiences. If the weekend estimate holds up, it will be Tyler Perry's fourth $20 million-plus opening of the playwright-turned-filmmaker's five films to date.

"It proves once again the tremendous loyalty of his audience," Lionsgate distribution president Steve Rothenberg said.

Perry's previous film — October's "Why Did I Get Married?" — debuted with $21.3 million en route to a domestic total of $55.2 million. His most successful opening was February 2006's "Madea's Family Reunion," which grossed $30 million during its initial frame and $63.2 million overall.

"Browns" is the first Perry film since "Madea" to be based on one of his plays, but the popular Madea character figures only briefly in "Browns."

Rated PG-13, "Shutter" is Masayuki Ochiai's remake of the 2004 Thai horror hit. Young girls formed core support for the thriller, which performed a bit better than projected amid limp prerelease tracking data.

"It was terrific," Fox senior vp distribution Bert Livingston said of the opening. "We're happy."

Also rated PG-13, Owen Wilson starrer "Drillbit" drew audiences evenly divided between males and females, with about 60% of patrons under age 25.

"We had a solid start," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said.

"Moon" played in about 200 Spanish-market cinemas, with the balance comprised of art houses.

"We're amazed," Searchlight president Peter Rice said of the opening. Rice credited the big bow in part to an arrangement with Univision, which acquired TV rights in exchange for a media buy with the Hispanic broadcaster.

Weinstein Co. co-topper Harvey Weinstein said he believes "Moon" will prove leggy.

"The Latino audience is going to take care of itself with word-of-mouth and what we're doing with Univision," Weinstein said. "What we need to do is get traditional art house audiences to embrace the movie."

Also this weekend, Picturehouse held 110 sneak previews of its upcoming British comedy "Run, Fat Boy, Run," drawing 50% capacity audiences and patrons skewing a bit older than expected.

"It's playing more like a romantic comedy, which is interesting," Picturehouse president Bob Berney said.

"Fat Boy" unspools in 1,050 locations Friday. Other wide openers will include Sony's card-counting drama "21," Paramount's Iraq War drama "Stop-Loss" and MGM's superhero spoof called, oddly enough, "Superhero Movie."
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