'Friday the 13th' kills competition

Horror revival draws an estimated $45.2 mil

"Friday the 13th" remains a fearsomely full-blooded franchise after Warner Bros. opened a remake of the original 1980 horror pic with a genre-record $45.2 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend.

Warners also copped the domestic boxoffice's silver medal as ensemble comedy "He's Just Not That Into You" dropped a modest 29% from opening Friday-Sunday grosses for an estimated $23.4 million over the long weekend and an 11-day cume of $58.8 million.

However, the frame's two other wide openers disappointed as Disney's material-girl comedy "Confessions of a Shopaholic" fetched $17.3 million for fifth place and Sony's political thriller "The International" collected just $10.7 million for eighth.

Collectively, the Presidents Day weekend registered a whopping $224 million in a record performance that surpassed last year's holiday haul by 34% and 2007's then-record tally by 19%, according to Nielsen EDI.

Industry boxoffice has outperformed year-earlier comparisons in five of the six weekends this year.

Elsewhere among the frame's top finishers, Fox's leggy action-thriller "Taken" took third place with $22.2 million during its third weekend -- a session bolstered by Valentine's Day moviegoing Saturday -- as cume for the Liam Neeson starrer hit $80.9 million. Sony's PG comedy "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" nabbed $13.9 million in sixth place to stretch its five-week cume to $112.7 million.

Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire" was the top grosser among films nominated in the best picture category of Sunday's Academy Awards, fetching $8.7 million in ninth place. "Slumdog's" cume has reached $88.1 million.

IFC Films enjoyed the frame's highest-grossing exclusive engagements as Italian-language mob pic "Gomorrah" grossed $102,702 from five locations in New York and Los Angeles. That represented an auspicious $20,540 per site and brought "Gomorrah's" cume to $113,679, including grosses from a brief Academy-qualifying run in December.

Sony Pictures Classics' French-language drama "The Class" added eight theaters for a total 35 in grossing $283,780, or a solid $8,108 per venue. The cume on "Class" -- nominated in the Academy's foreign-language category -- has reached $930,206.



The "Friday the 13th" bow bested a $39.1 million opening by 2004's "The Grudge" in eclipsing the horror mark.

"Friday" counts Michael Bay among its producers and was directed by Marcus Nispel ("Pathfinder"). Warners division New Line produced the latest installment of the 28-year-old "Friday" film series, with Paramount handling international distribution.

"Friday" played surprising broadly, with audiences comprised 51% of males and just 41% of patrons under age 25. Before the opening, Warners execs had suggested they would be happy if "Friday" fetched anything close to $30 million over its first four days.

"We're just thrilled," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said.

Fellman credited Warners marketing topper Sue Kroll for successfully tapping into the franchise's 29-year legacy to capture wide interest in the $19 million remake.

The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced "Shopaholic" skewed 74% female, with 51% of patrons under age 25. Disney distribution topper Chuck Viane noted the so-so bow came amid a competitive marketplace.

"There's never too much product in the market if it's doing business, and obviously it's doing a lot of business right now," Viane said. "But there's so much (film) product going into the market every week or two that nobody really stands out -- expect in this case, 'Friday the 13th.'"

Starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts and helmed by Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"), "International" attracted audiences comprised 59% of males, with 66% of patrons 30 or older.

As an older-skewing pic, "International" "has a good chance of being around for awhile because older audiences sometimes take awhile to come out," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said.

Sony estimated negative costs on "International" at $50 million, with execs suggesting its international cast and theme could produce outsized foreign grosses.

Looking to Oscar weekend, two pics unspool in wide release: Lionsgate's Tyler Perry comedy "Madea Goes to Jail" and Sony's youth comedy "Fired Up."
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