'Gold' market skyrockets at b.o.
Comedy bows at $22 mil to top surprising 'Roscoe'Warner Bros.' Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey starrer "Fool's Gold" struck it rich this weekend, staking an estimated $22 million bow atop the domestic boxoffice.
Universal's urban-skewing comedy "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" finished second with a similarly better-than-expected $17.1 million. And Disney's "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" dropped a big 66% from the 3-D film's first weekend but still grabbed third place with $10.5 million, boosting its 10-day cume to $53.4 million.
Playing on only 687 digital screens, "Hannah" maintained an impressive venue average of $15,296 per location. The tween magnet was set in all venues for two weekends, but some exhibitors will be keeping the lucrative concert film for additional sessions in the hope of stimulating repeat business.
Lionsgate's horror film "The Eye" fell 47% from its opening grosses to ring up $6.6 million in fourth place with a $21.5 million cume.
Also this weekend, Picturehouse unspooled its comedy documentary "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show" in 962 locations and grossed just $507,277. That represented a dismal per-venue average of $527.
Elsewhere, "Over Her Dead Body," a comedy from New Line and Gold Circle, slid 54% in its second weekend to $1.9 million and a $6.9 million cume. The Paramount Vantage comedy "Strange Wilderness" dropped 53% in its sophomore session to $1.4 million with a $5.5 million cume.
Industrywide, the weekend's $110 million in collective grosses was off 2% from the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI. That was the first year-over-year downtick after seven successive weekend improvements.
Yet the weekend grosses helped the industry cross the $1 billion threshold in record time. Year-to-date, 2008 is 17% ahead of the same portion of last year, with $1.07 billion through Sunday, EDI said.
Oscar's best picture nominees continued to do some decent coin, as well.
Fox Searchlight's comedy "Juno" gave up 154 theaters for a total of 2,321 and grossed $5.7 million, or $2,467 per venue. The fifth-place performance yielded a new distributor-record cume of $117.6 million.
The Daniel Day-Lewis starrer "There Will Be Blood," from Paramount Vantage and Miramax, was the only best picture nominee to add playdates, getting 113 new engagements for a total of 1,620 and grossing $4.1 million in 10th place. That represented a per-site average of $2,514 and shaped a $26.8 million cume.
"No Country for Old Men," from Miramax and Paramount Vantage, shed 71 theaters for a total of 1,202 and grossed $2.2 million, or $1,866 per venue, with a $58.3 million cume.
The Keira Knightley and James McAvoy starrer "Atonement," from Focus Features and Working Title, lost 177 playdates for a total of 1,190 and grossed $2.2 million, or $1,826 per site, with a $45.3 million cume.
And Warner Bros.' George Clooney starrer "Michael Clayton" shed 253 theaters for a total of 757 to gross $1.6 million, or $2,067 per venue, with a $46.3 million cume.
In a limited bow, Focus' dark action-comedy "In Bruges," starring Colin Farrell, rung up $471,200 from 28 engagements, or an impressive $16,829 per playdate. "Bruges" travels to more than 80 venues on Friday.
Regent's "The Hottie and the Nottie" debuted in 111 theaters but grossed only $26,000, or $234 per venue.
Sony Pictures Classics unspooled the Middle East comedy "The Band's Visit" in seven locations, grossing $70,580 — a notable $10,083 per site.
Elsewhere in the specialty market, IFC's drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" added four theaters for a total of 21 and grossed $129,297. That represented a sturdy $6,157 per venue with a $376,686 cume ahead of a scheduled expansion into the top 20 markets over the coming frame.
SPC's Iran-themed "Persepolis" — which drew an Academy Award nomination in the animated feature category — added 25 playdates for a total of 125 to gross $430,623, or $3,445 per engagement, with a $2.4 million cume.
National Geographic Cinema's concert film "U2 3D" held in 61 Imax theaters and grossed $725,823, or $11,898 per venue, with a $3.1 million cume ahead of a Feb. 22 expansion into wide release.
ThinkFilm's documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side" added nine theaters for a total of 13 and grossed $27,195, or $2,092 per venue, with a $61,713 cume.
"Fool's Gold," a PG-13 romantic comedy with a treasure-hunt adventure tossed in for good measure, drew audiences composed 57% of moviegoers 25 and older, with 62% of patrons female. The topliners appeared to be a big draw for the film, execs said.
"It exceeded our expectations," Warners exec vp distribution Jeffrey Goldstein said of the opening performances. "There is a good chemistry between (Hudson and McConaughey), and the audience wanted to see them."
Warner execs are counting on a solid second weekend for "Gold," as well as big Thursday grosses on Valentine's Day.
"It's the perfect movie for date night, (and) date night this weekend is Thursday, Friday and Saturday — the whole weekend," Goldstein enthused. "Love is in the air."
"Roscoe Jenkins" did 51% more on Saturday than on Friday night, a sign that the urban-skewing comedy was getting good mainstream traction. But opening-frame audiences were 68% composed of black patrons, with 52% of audiences female and the same percentage under age 30.
"The picture played very broadly," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "Based on the information we had, it played beyond its audience."
Picturehouse's Bob Berney said he was disappointed in the soft bow for "Wild West Comedy Show" but added, "We're proud of the film, and so is Vince."
Looking ahead, the next two frames should be action-packed.
There are four wide openers next weekend — all set to unspool a day early on Valentine's Day. Then the following weekend represents a four-day frame, stretched by a Monday holiday for President's Day on Feb. 18.
Valentine's openers include Disney's dance sequel "Step Up 2 the Streets," Fox's sci-fi thriller "Jumper," Paramount's family fantasy "The Spiderwick Chronicles" and Universal's romantic comedy "Definitely, Maybe."