'Game' film Rocks as rival dwells in 'Heartbreak' hotel

Rookies relegated to second string

The past weekend's lesson: For every successful game plan, there's a boxoffice strategy that ends in tears.

Disney's family-oriented "The Game Plan," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, took the domestic boxoffice flag for a second straight weekend with a four-day haul of $19.3 million that took its 11-day cume to $45.9 million. But DreamWorks/Paramount's "The Heartbreak Kid" bowed weakly with just $15.6 million in second place through the holiday-lengthened frame, and Fox's kids-book adaptation "The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising" opened softly with $4.3 million in fifth place.

Americans marked Columbus Day in the U.S. on Monday, and Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving. But the weekend's new box-office entrants failed to capitalize on the prospect of stronger Sunday and Monday grosses, and as a result the collective boxoffice tallies told a disappointing tale.

On an industrywide basis, the weekend boxoffice totaled $96.4 million. That represents a 23% decline from the $125.2 million rung up during the Columbus Day frame last year.

Elsewhere among the frame's top rankers, Sony/Screen Gems' "Resident Evil: Extinction" finished fourth in its third outing with $5.2 million and a $44.3 million cume. Lionsgate's "Good Luck Chuck" found sixth place in its third frame with $4.2 million and a $29.8 million cume.

Sony's teen-targeted "Feel the Noise" rang up $3.5 million in eighth place. Its debut was dampened because the musical drama played in just 1,015 theaters.

In another weekend of busy limited-release activity, Warner Bros.' George Clooney starrer "Michael Clayton" posted an auspicious inaugural outing with $855,340 from 15 theaters for a cool $57,023 per venue. Warners' re-release of the remastered sci-fi classic "Blade Runner" rang up $103,304 from Los Angeles and New York exclusives for a strong $51,652 per-screen average.

Sony Pictures Classics expanded its female drama "The Jane Austen Book Club" to 1,232 locations to gross $1.5 million, a soft $1,217 per location, and move its cume to $2 million. SPC also bowed the documentary "My Kid Could Paint That" with seven playdates to gross an estimated $30,332, or an acceptable $4,333 per engagement.

Focus Features' recent platformer "Eastern Promises" continued in 1,212 locations and grossed another $2.4 million for a $14.8 million cume. But David Cronenberg's thriller about the Russian mob in London might be running out of bullets as its per-theater average hit a limp $1,980.

Focus saw more promising results in expanding Ang Lee's NC-17 "Lust, Caution" to 17 venues after the previous weekend's New York exclusive and grossed an estimated $424,977. That was good for a steamy $24,998 per location and a $533,327 cume.

"Into the Wild," Paramount Vantage's Sean Penn-helmed drama, added 102 theaters for a total of 135 and grossed $1.5 million. That represented a solid $11,111 per engagement as "Wild" extended its cume to $2.6 million.

Fox Searchlight's Wes Anderson comedy "The Darjeeling Limited" sought out another 17 locations for a total of 19 runs, ringing up an estimated $666,559 — a rousing $35,082 per location — with a cume of $895,176. "Darjeeling" seeps into 90-plus venues beginning Friday and is set to expand wide Oct. 26.

Looking to the weekend, a busy session for wide openers will include Sony's cop thriller "We Own the Night," with Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg; Uni/Working Title's period sequel "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"; Yari Film Group's high school baseball film "The Final Season"; Freestyle's thriller "Postal"; and Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" from Lionsgate. Also, Warners will expand "Clayton" into wide release.
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