Family film triple bill tops 'Grindhouse' double feature

'Blades,' 'Robinsons,' 'There' finish 1, 2, 3

If Hollywood is high school writ large, then this past weekend at the North American boxoffice was one in which class clown Will Ferrell proved far more popular than cool kids Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez amusing themselves as they commandeered the equipment in the A/V club to turn out their own movie homages.

For the second weekend in a row, Ferrell's figure skating comedy "Blades of Glory" easily dominated, as moviegoers awarded it an additional $22.5 million in the 3,410 theaters where it was playing. Falling just 32% from its first weekend, the Paramount Pictures release of the DreamWorks/MTV Films co-production now boasts a total domestic gross of $67.9 million.

Adding to the weekend's sense of deja vu, Buena Vista's animated release "Meet the Robinsons," playing in digital 3-D in more than 580 locations, held down the No. 2 spot. Falling just 33%, the family-friendly film took in $16.7 million, which brought its collective domestic purse to $51.9 million.

Heading into the weekend, the media focused its attention on Dimension Films' "Grindhouse," in which Rodriguez and Tarantino join forces to replicate a low-rent double-feature from the '70s. But the homage-within-an-homage — Rodriguez contributed the zombie flick "Planet Terror" while Tarantino whipped up a tale of liberated chicks who cross paths with a murderous stunt driver in "Death Proof" — failed to deliver on expectations for the Weinstein Co.

While its audience, heavily weighted in favor of over-25 males, awarded the exercise a B-plus, the movie's total boxoffice amounted to a disappointing $11.6 million, revving its engines in fourth place.

While it didn't enjoy the critical hosannas showered on "Grindhouse," it was Sony Pictures' comedy sequel "Are We Done Yet?," starring Ice Cube, which proved the most potent of the weekend's new arrivals, capturing third place. A sequel to 2005's "Are We Done Yet?" the new movie, directed by Steve Carr, didn't quite perform up to its predecessor, which opened to $18.6 million.

"Done" bowed to $14.3 million but, thanks to a Wednesday opening, captured $18.5 million over its first five days. Drawing a younger, family audience, it earned a grade of B from Cinemascore.

In fifth place, Warner Bros. Pictures' bowed the horror movie "The Reaping," starring Hilary Swank and directed by Stephen Hopkins. Playing in 2,603 theaters, the film picked up $10 million over the weekend, and because it opened on Thursday, its cume stands at nearly $12 million.

The weekend's remaining wide arrival, 20th Century Fox's family-oriented "Firehouse Dog" suffered from all the surrounding competition. Though it earned a Cinemascore grade of B-plus, it was relegated to 10th place, grossing $3.8 million over the three days and a cumulative $5.1 million since its Wednesday opening.

In limited engagments, Miramax Films debuted Lasse Hallstrom's "The Hoax," starring Richard Gere as trickster Clifford Irving. In 235 locations, the film scored a respectable $1.5 million.

As for exclusive bows, Sony Pictures Classics' launch of Paul Verhoeven's "Black Book," set in the Netherlands during World War II, grossed $112,521 in nine theaters for a per-screen average of $12,502. ThinkFilm's eight-theater release of Jake Kasdan's satire "The TV Set" brought in $34,531 for a per-screen average of $4,316.

The weekend as a whole represented an upturn from the comparable weekend in 2006 — which didn't happen to be a holiday weekend — even though none of this year's movies equalled last year's top-grosser, Fox's "Ice Age: The Meltdown," which amassed $33.8 million in its second week. Collectively, the 112 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter over the weekend grossed $124 million, up more than 8% from 2006's $114.4 million.
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