Spidey holds firm; new pics can't escape its b.o. grip

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Sony's "Spider-Man 3" continued to completely dominate the boxoffice in North America this past weekend as the webslinger sat in the top spot for the second consecutive session and collected $58.2 million. Despite there being four new wide releases hitting theaters, there was not one film in the marketplace that could muster a mild $10 million. That will all change next weekend when Paramount's "Shrek the Third" from DreamWorks enters the fray.

The sophomore take for "Spider-Man 3" was off 62% from its record-setting debut of $151.1 million a week earlier, advancing the cume to a stellar $240.2 million after 10 days. The larger-than-normal percentage drop was expected due to the statistical factors at work when a film has the biggest opening in boxoffice history -- the normal drops, measures, multiples and variances do not apply.

The film that "Spider-Man 3" has been compared with the most, in regards to boxoffice, is Buena Vista's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," which was the film that Spidey snatched the "biggest opening in history" crown away from. "Pirates" debuted with $135.6 million and dipped 54% in its second weekend in theaters. But while the second-weekend drop for "Pirates" was eight percentage points less than the same for "Spider-Man 3," the opening weekend for the latter was 11% larger.

Still, due to "Pirates" being released at the height of summer when most schools are out across the continent, the resulting midweek business for the swashbuckling adventure was higher than that of Spidey. Thus the cume to date for "Pirates" after its first 10 days in theaters was $258.4 million. The next "Pirates" film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," opens Memorial Day weekend, which is the official start of the summer boxoffice season as schools begin to let out for the break.

Altogether, the total boxoffice for the 117 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter this past weekend was $106.3 million, up nearly 7% from the comparable frame in 2006.

Of the weekend's faltering freshman arrivals, 20th Century Fox's "28 Weeks Later" had the strongest showing. The Fox Atomic sequel to "28 Days Later" landed in the second spot with $9.8 million from 2,303 theaters and averaged a lukewarm $4,258 per theater. The R-rated "Weeks," a sci-fi thriller helmed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, is the story of a virus that wipes out London.

Universal's "Georgia Rule" debuted in the third slot with a placid $6.8 million from 2,523 houses, slightly better than where early-Sunday estimates had the film, which was at $5.9 million. The bump at the boxoffice was due to better-than-anticipated Sunday business, with the Mother's Day holiday being the most likely reason. The comedy-drama, helmed by Garry Marshall, stars Lindsay Lohan, Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman.

"Georgia Rule" is not likely to pick up any steam in the weeks ahead as the R-rated film garnered a weak 79% favorable grade from moviegoers, according to CinemaScore. The audience for the film was largely older females.

Lionsgates' "Delta Farce" opened with $3.4 million from 1,931 outlets to capture the fifth spot. The comedy features the comedian Larry the Cable Guy and is about some Army reservists who are mistakenly dropped into Mexico. The PG-13 "Delta" was helmed by C.B. Harding and was graded positively by 89% of those polled. The audience skewed male, with 60% marking off that box, and young.

MGM's "The Ex" was the weekend's only other new wide release. The romantic comedy, starring Zach Braff and Amanda Peet, checked into the 12th slot with a bleak $1.4 million from 1,009 venues.

A bright spot in the world of limited releases was Fox Searchlight's "Waitress," which added 61 locales to bring the count to 65, and grossed $656,988, raising the cume to $808,932. The film, which follows a baker who's missing the perfect recipe for love, was directed by Adrienne Shelly and stars Keri Russell, Andy Griffith, Cheryl Hines and Nathan Fillion.
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