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'Friday the 13th' cuts horror record with $45.2 mil holiday bow

"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 during the four-day Presidents Day weekend.

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

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

Industrywide boxoffice has outperformed year-earlier comparisons during five of this year's six weekends.

Elsewhere among the frame's top finishers, Fox's 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 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 for Sunday's Academy Awards, fetching $8.7 million in ninth place. The film's domestic cume has reached $88.1 million.

IFC Films enjoyed the frame's highest-grossing exclusive engagements as the 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 of 35 in grossing $283,780, or a solid $8,108 per venue. The cume for "Class," nominated in the Academy's foreign-language category, has reached $930,206.

The "Friday" 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. Warners division New Line produced the latest installment in the 29-year-old "Friday" film series, with Paramount handling international distribution.

"Friday" played surprisingly broadly, with audiences comprising 51% males and only 41% of patrons under 25. Before the opening, Warners executives had suggested they would be happy if the film fetched $30 million during its first four days.

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

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

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

"There's never too much (film) 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 product going into the market every week or two that nobody really stands out — except, in this case, 'Friday the 13th.' "

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

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

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

Two pics are set to unspool in wide release this weekend: Lionsgate's Tyler Perry comedy "Madea Goes to Jail" and Sony's youth comedy "Fired Up." (partialdiff)
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