'Hogs' fills up at b.o. trough; 'Zodiac' has $13.4 mil bow

'Ghost,' 'Terabithia,' 'Norbit' continue strong

Buena Vista Pictures' middle-aged road trip comedy "Wild Hogs" took in more money than initially expected at the North American boxoffice this past weekend, grossing a staggering $39.7 million over the three-day frame. The PG-13 comedy trumped its closest competitors by a wide margin. Paramount Pictures' R-rated "Zodiac" debuted strong to $13.4 million, while Paramount's indie division Vantage struggled with its edgy R-rated drama "Black Snake Moan."

Holdovers also performed strongly over the weekend. Sony Pictures' "Ghost Rider" dropped 42% in its third week in release, grossing $11.5 million for the frame. The Nicolas Cage actioner has now grossed $94.8 million and will reach $100 million before the week's end.

Buena Vista's family film "Bridge to Terabithia" fell only 38% its third week in release. The Walden Media-produced film has grossed $58.2 million since its debut. Paramount's "Norbit" also seems to be holding on well, falling only 35% in spite of the tough competition served up by the broad-based comedy "Wild Hogs." Warner Bros. Pictures' "Music and Lyrics" also was a strong contender its third week in release. The romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore dropped only 36%. The film's cume stands at $38.6 million.

New Line Cinema's "The Number 23" had a tougher time holding on in this frame. The R-rated thriller starring Jim Carrey was hurt by the well-reviewed "Zodiac," which targets the same audience. The film dropped 56% in its second weekend in release. 20th Century Fox also had a tough time with its sophomore session of "Reno 911!: Miami." The adaptation of the culty Comedy Central television show fell a steep 62% to $3.9 million. The film's cume now stands at $16.6 million after 10 days in release.

"Hogs'" outstanding debut, coupled with strong performances from the holdovers, helped propel the North American boxoffice to a 20% increase over last year at this time when Warner Bros. Pictures bowed "16 Blocks" to $11.8 million and Sony debuted "Ultraviolet" to $9 million.

While critics skewered "Wild Hogs," audiences loved it. The comedy from director Walt Becker received a 89% positive rating from exit pollster CinemaScore. Though the audience was dominated by women, men liked the film more, and with 70% of the audience over 25, the under-25 crowd were bigger fans of the John Travolta, Tim Allen starrer.

"Zodiac" also received disparate reactions from critics and audiences. While critics showered praise on the David Fincher-directed thriller, audiences were not nearly as enthusiastic about the two-hour, 40-minute drama. Overall, according to CinemaScore, audiences rated the film a B-. While the majority of the audience were women, and over 25, the crowd that liked the film the best was the under-25 crowd. Audiences were intrigued primarily by the grim subject matter of the film, which centered on the 1980s "Zodiac" serial killer who terrorized California's Bay Area for years.

In limited release, MGM bowed the Sally Field starrer "Two Weeks" in 12 theaters. Earning $25,829 for the three-day frame, the low-budget acquisition averaged $2,152 per screen. New Line bowed the teen comedy "Full of It" in 15 theaters to $11,431. The film generated a weak per-screen average of $792.

IFC opened "Wild Tigers I have Known" on one screen in New York. The coming-of-age story from Cam Archer debuted to $4,515.
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