Holding pattern: Boxoffice quiet before b'buster storm

'Disturbia' tops tepid weekend with $13 mil

The North American boxoffice appeared to be marking time this weekend as distributors await the onslaught of summer blockbuster hopefuls that will begin to roll out with the May 4 release of Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man 3."

Of the weekend's new arrivals, only New Line Cinema's "Fracture," which pitted Ryan Gosling's young district attorney against Anthony Hopkins' murderer, crossed the $10 million mark, though cop comedy "Hot Fuzz," from Focus Features' Rogue label, posted promising results in a limited 825-theater debut.

As a result, overall boxoffice was down for the weekend when compared with the corresponding weekend in 2006 for the second week in a row. The 116 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter grossed a collective $88.3 million, down 19% from 2006's $109.2 million. A year ago, the top film was Sony's "Silent Hill," which bowed to $20.2 million.

In the absence of a powerhouse newcomer this past weekend, Paramount Pictures' release of DreamWorks' PG-13 thriller "Disturbia" from Montecito Pictures took the top slot for the second week in a row. In fact, the Paramount/ DreamWorks combination has topped the list for four weeks running thanks to the one-two punch of "Disturbia" and comedy "Blades of Glory," which enjoyed two weekends at the top of the heap.

Further consolidating young star Shia LaBeouf's boxoffice clout, "Disturbia" took in $13 million in 3,015 theaters, bringing its domestic cume to $40.2 million.

In Gosling, "Fracture" boasted another new, though slightly older, leading man, and the R-rated thriller directed by Gregory Hoblit ("Primal Fear") attracted a signficantly older audience. According to Cinemascore, 84% of its audience was over 25 and 33% were over 50. Overall, moviegoers awarded it a solid A-minus. In second place, "Fracture" grabbed $11 million in 2,443 locations.

Sony's release of Screen Gems' "Vacancy," a horror tale starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, bowed in fourth, attracting $7.6 million in 2,551 theaters. Its future is doubtful, though, since moviegoers awarded it a B-minus.

Warner Bros. Pictures' romantic tale "In the Land of Women" also rated a B-minus. The film, which stars "The O.C." alum Adam Brody along with a cast that includes Meg Ryan, Olympia Dukakis and JoBeth Williams, en-tered the lists in eighth place with a weak $4.7 million from 2,155 theaters.

By contrast, "Hot Fuzz," from Working Title Films and the creative team that brought moviegoers the 2004 zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead," busted into the sixth position, scoring $5.8 million in 825 theaters for a per-theater average of $7,089, the best average in the Top 10.

The film will expand in the coming weeks as it attempts to position itself as an alternative to the surrounding blockbuster fare.

Meanwhile, "Blades," in third place in its fourth weekend, marked a milestone as it crossed the $100 million threshold. Collecting an additional $7.7 million, it now boasts a domestic purse of $101 million.

Among exclusive releases, Sony Pictures Classics' launch of the French comedy "The Valet" from director Francis Veber, notched solid numbers, grossing $67,552 in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a per-screen average of $11,259.

Reel Source's horror tale "The Tripper," marking the directorial debut of David Arquette, didn't develop any real traction. Bowing in 50 theaters, it collected just $20,840 for an anemic $417 per theater.

In its second weekend, Paramount Vantage's offbeat romance "Year of the Dog," screenwriter Mike White's directorial debut, added 26 theaters to bring its theater count to 33 and pulled in $133,335 for a per-theater average of $4,040 and a cume to date of $275,138.
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