'Slumdog' expanding on heels of Oscars

Searchlight hoping to capitalize on pic's eight wins

"Slumdog Millionaire" hasn't exactly been slumming around.

Oscar's best picture played in more than 2,244 U.S. and Canadian theaters this weekend -- about 610 more than a week earlier -- and the Indian drama has rung up $98 million in domestic coin. But looking to bask in the afterglow of its Academy acclaim, Fox Searchlight plans to expand "Slumdog" to 2,500-plus locations starting Friday.

No other current release is likely to add dramatically to its print count based on Oscar success. But foreign-language winner "Departures" could help U.S. theatrical rights holder Regent Releasing grab a bit of market action for the offbeat Japanese drama.

Fox hasn't yet set "Slumdog" for release on DVD. But an April release slot likely is the earliest considering the pic's continued theatrical traction.

Two of the four other best picture nominees will be distributed by Universal Home Entertainment on shiny disc: "Milk" hits store shelves March 10, and an April slotting is likely for "Frost/Nixon."

April disc debuts also are likely for the Weinstein Co.'s "The Reader," through Genius Products, and Paramount's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
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