Déjà vu for 'Happy Feet' as it tops weekend b.o.

'Casino' keeps pace; 'Nativity' slow

The three reigning films at the North American boxoffice couldn't be toppled by any of the newcomers entering the marketplace. Warner Bros. Pictures' "Happy Feet" maintained the top spot for the third week in a row, followed by Sony Pictures' "Casino Royale" and Buena Vista Pictures' "Deja Vu." New Line Cinema's "The Nativity Story" got closest to the top three but its anemic $7.8 million was anything but inspired.

The other new releases — Fox Atomic's debut release "Turistas" and MGM's release of Bauer Martinez's "Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj" — made even fewer waves at the boxoffice, earning $3.6 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

The boxoffice tally for the weekend still ended up for the frame when compared with last year at this time. The total boxoffice grosses for the weekend came to $92.8 million compared with $86.6 million for the same frame last year when Paramount Pictures' "Aeon Flux" bowed to a weak $12.6 million.

The dancing penguins of George Miller's "Happy Feet" grossed an additional $17.5 million, bringing its total gross to $121.5 million. "Casino Royale" reaped an additional $15.1 million to kick up its domestic gross to $115.9 million. Buena Vista saw its Denzel Washington starrer "Deja Vu" fall 47% for the weekend to earn another $10.9 million at the boxoffice. Its 12-day gross stands at $44 million.

Not ready to call it a failure after only one weekend at the boxoffice, New Line Cinema was clearly disappointed with the $7.8 million opening of "The Nativity Story." Quickly given the green light and produced, the story of the birth of Jesus was supposed to be the company's savior for the year. With a high-profile marketing campaign capped off with a premiere at the Vatican, the PG-rated film starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and directed by Catherine Hardwicke disappointed with its weak $2,546 per-theater average.

New Line may be able to take solace in the fact that audiences seemed to have responded well to "Nativity." According to exit pollster CinemaScore, the film earned an A- with audiences. The makeup of the audience was primarily women and skewed older, with more than 63% over 25.

The same cannot be said for MGM's release of "Van Wilder." The Kal Penn starrer received a C grade from audiences, which were primarily made up of young males. Directed by Mort Nathan, the film generated a paltry per-screen average of $1,169.

Fox Atomic is off to an inauspicious start with the opening of the horror film "Turistas." The R-rated drama produced a weak per-screen average of $2,282. Starring Josh Duhamel and Melissa George, the low-cost acquisition from director John Stockwell ("Into the Blue") opened to $3.6 million for the new genre division targeting the 17- to 24-year-old crowd.

MGM's release of the Weinstein Co.'s "Bobby" had a poor hold in its second weekend in wide release. The Emilio Estevez-directed drama focusing on the day Robert Kennedy was shot earned an additional $2 million. In 1,670 theaters, the film fell 59% to a per-theater average of $1,199. The film has now earned $9.2 million.

Warners' "The Fountain," from Regency Enterprises, also had a precipitous drop. In its second weekend in theaters, the Darren Aronofsky-directed film fell 53% to earn an additional $1.8 million. With a per-theater average of $1,472, the R-rated film starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz has grossed $8.2 million after two weekends in release.

In limited release, ThinkFilm didn't have much success with its Morgan Freeman starrer "10 Items or Less." Directed by Brad Silberling and co-starring Paz Vega, the R-rated film earned $35,929 on 15 screens for a per-screen average of $2,395.
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