Thrilling movie weekend

'Disturbia,' 'Fracture' have one-two b.o. punch

As the North American boxoffice took a bit of a breather before the coming onslaught of big-budget summer releases, Paramount Pictures' release of DreamWorks' teen-skewing thriller "Disturbia" hung on to the top spot for the second weekend in a row, while New Line Cinema's adult-oriented thriller "Fracture," in runner-up position, was the only new arrival to crack the $10 million mark.

Sony Pictures' release of the Screen Gems' horror outing "Vacancy" bowed in fourth with an estimated $7.6 million, while Warner Bros. Pictures' femme-centric dramedy "In the Land of Women" trailed in eighth with an estimated $4.9 million.

The one new film that appeared to show some genuine buoyancy was the cop comedy "Hot Fuzz," from Focus Features' Rogue label. Bowing in just 825 locations, it entered the list in sixth with a promising $5.8 million and a per-theater average of $7,030.

All in all, the weekend was down from the comparable weekend last year when Sony's "Silent Hill" led the list with $20.2 million. The top 10 films fell 26% compared with last year's number.

The weekend continued DreamWorks' winning streak. The Paramount unit has topped the charts for the past four weekends, first with the comedy "Blades of Glory" for two frames and then with "Disturbia" for the past two weekends.

The PG-13 "Disturbia," from Montecito Pictures, took in an estimated $13.5 million in 3,015 theaters, bringing its domestic cume to date to $40.7 million as it further consolidated its young star Shia LaBeouf's standing as a boxoffice draw with appeal to the under-25 set. "The movie is putting people in the seats and keeping them in suspense when they get there," said DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy, noting that the movie fell only 39% in its second weekend.

Warding off several of the newcomers, "Blades" emerged in the third spot with an estimated $7.8 million from 3,459 theaters as it crossed the $100 million mark, bringing its cume to $101.1 million.

The Paramount-DreamWorks double-header of two films in the No. 1 position for two weeks each is the first time one distributor has achieved that distinction since Buena Vista topped the lists in 2004 with the openings of "The Incredibles" and "National Treasure," according to Nielsen EDI.

While "Disturbia" appealed to moviegoers younger than 25, New Line's R-rated cat-and-mouse drama "Fracture," starring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling and directed by Gregory Hoblit ("Primal Fear"), opted to bid for the over-25 set. It proved the strongest of the newcomers as it took in an estimated $11.2 million in 2,443 theaters.

"We were at the high end of what the tracking showed," NL theatrical distribution president David Tuckerman said. "We've got a very adult, terrific movie. I think we're well-positioned to keep playing even when 'Spider-Man 3' opens in two weeks."

"Fuzz," the R-rated comedy from writer-director Edgar Wright and actor-writer Simon Pegg, the team behind the 2004 zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead," also is positioning itself to play against the coming summer blockbusters.

Focus theatrical distribution president Jack Foley said the cop comedy aimed to capture the attention of "Shaun" fans and succeeded. "The response to the film was perfect, very strong all across the country," he said, noting that 52% of its audience was under 25 and 62% were male. "We targeted right at the core of the 'Shaun of the Dead' fans," he said. In fact, 80% of the "Fuzz" attendees had seen "Shaun" either in theaters or on DVD.

Next weekend, the comedy will expand with hopes of playing into May even though it will be up against the bigger summer titles.

As for the other new arrivals, the R-rated "Vacancy," budgeted at $19 million and starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale as a couple who find themselves stranded in motel hell, bowed in fourth with an estimated $7.6 million in 2,551 theaters.

The PG-13 "Women," starring Adam Brody from Fox's "The O.C." and actresses Meg Ryan, Kristen Stewart, JoBeth Williams and Olympia Dukakis, had to settle for a distant eighth showing. Opening in 2,155 theaters, the film, directed by Jon Kasdan, elicited only $4.9 million.

In its second weekend, Sony's release of Revolution Studios' "Perfect Stranger," starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis, fell a steep 63%. In ninth, it grossed an estimated $4.1 million, bringing its cume to only $18.1 million.

Other holdovers proved more resilient. In its fourth weekend, Buena Vista's animated "Meet the Robinsons" was fifth with an estimated $7.1 million, bringing its collective domestic purse to $82.2 million.

Sony's comedy "Are We Done Yet?" also from Revolution and starring Ice Cube, was seventh in its third weekend, scoring an estimated $5.2 million for a collective gross of $39.6 million.

And, though it was in its eighth weekend, Buena Vista's "Wild Hogs" rounded out the top 10, with an estimated $2.9 million that brought its tally to $156.2 million.

On the exclusive front, Sony Pictures Classics bowed director Francis Veber's French comedy "The Valet" on six screens in Los Angeles and New York, where it collected $74,638 for a healthy per-screen average of $12,440. It will expand into three more markets Friday.

In its second weekend, Paramount Vantage's "Year of the Dog" played in nine additional markets, moving up to 33 screens, where it picked up $138,612 for a per-screen average of $4,200. Its cume to date is slightly more than $280,000.

Reel Source's "The Tripper," a serial killer tale marking the directorial debut of David Arquette, bowed in 50 theaters to a meager $23,200 for a per-theater average of just $464.

For the complete week ending Thursday, the total boxoffice amounted to $154.4 million, down more than 8% from the $169.1 million amassed during the comparable week last year. Still, the year-to-date boxoffice of $2.54 billion is up nearly 6% compared with the 2006 figure, and admissions for the year-to-date are up more than 2% compared with '06.
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