Demo drives 'Disturbia's' $22.2 mil weekend

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Hollywood witnessed the emergence of a potential new boxoffice draw this weekend as Paramount Picture's release of "Disturbia," from DreamWorks and the Montecito Picture Co., jumped to the front of a crowded pack. Performing well above expectations, the movie, which borrows from Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" to tell the tale of a housebound teen who suspects a neighbor of murder, prevailed over the competition with a commanding $22.2 million.

Directed by D.J. Caruso, the film stars Shia LaBeouf, who was hailed as Male Star of Tomorrow at March's ShoWest convention. Tomorrow came sooner than some might have anticipated, though. "Disturbia" gives the 20-year-old actor, a graduate of the Disney Channel's "Even Stevens" as well as studio projects like "Constantine" and indie fare like the recent "Bobby," his first, full-fledged leading role as a young adult. He'll be immediately following up this summer with the lead vocal performance in Sony Pictures Animation's "Surf's Up" and the DreamWorks/Paramount Fourth of July release, "Transformers," directed by Michael Bay.

"Disturbia" drew a young and female audience. According to polling by Cinemascore, 58% of the audience was under 24. And moviegoers, 57% of whom were female, awarded the film a solid A-minus rating.

By contrast, "Perfect Strangers," from Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures, received an overall grade of C-plus. Starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis, the R-rated thriller had been expected to enjoy an edge over the rest of the competition, but instead ranked fourth for the weekend, with a gross of $11.2 million.

Among the weekend's remaining new wide releases, 20th Century Fox's "Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior," the tale of a Viking raised among Native Americans, was the only other one to crack the top 10, grossing $5 million.

"Redline," a drag-racing action movie, self-financed and distributed by real estate mogul Daniel Sadek, didn't burn any rubber. Booked into 1,607 theaters, it grossed just under $4 million, ending up in eleventh place.

First Look Pictures attempted to build on the cult success of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim series "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" with a big-screen version, dubbed "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters." But the movie, which received lots of publicity in January when a guerrilla marketing stunt that saw electronic gizmos advertising the film mistaken for bombs, didn't explode in theaters. Bowing in 877 locations, it collected $3 million for a per-theater average of $3,427.

Lagging far behind the other freshman entries, Lionsgate's urban thriller, "Slow Burn," staying Ray Liotta and LL Cool J, debuted in 20th position as it found just $778,123 in 1,163 theaters.

The weekend was buoyed, however, by the presence of some strong holdovers. The Paramount/DreamWorks comedy "Blades of Glory," the top film for the past few weekends, moved down a notch to second place, but still drew $13.8 million, bringing its domestic purse to nearly $90 million. Buena Vista's "Meet the Robinsons" demonstrated the best hold of the top 10 entries -- it fell just 25% -- as it attracted another $12.5 million, which brought its bank account to $72.4 million. And in ninth place, Warner Bros. Pictures' "300" grabbed another $4.5 million, crossing the $200 million mark after just 38 days in release.

The 111 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter over the weekend racked up a total boxoffice of $118.4 million, down marginally from the $119.9 million that the comparable weekend in 2006 achieved. That weekend saw Dimension Film's "Scary Movie" bow to $40 million. While none of this year's films could match that number, the crowded field compensated by drawing in a wide sampling of moviegoers.
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