Weekend champ's name is 'Jonas'

Dis' 3-D concert pic likely to shout down competition from Fox's 'Street Fighter'

Get ready for another weekend of shuttling the kids to the movie theater.

Disney's release of "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience" follows the studio's huge success of last February's "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert." Clearly poised as this weekend's must-see pic for teenage and preteen girls, "Jonas" also is sure to get a lot of boys tagging along.

"Hannah" was a teens-and-tweens phenom of a 3-D concert pic, bowing with a better-than-anticipated $31.1 million and grossing $65.3 million overall domestically. But that concert movie was hampered by a modest installed base of 3-D screens, while "Jonas" will play in almost 1,300 extradimensional venues, including hundreds of auditoriums featuring midnight Thursday showtimes.

"Jonas" is set for a longer theatrical release than the Cyrus movie, which had been scheduled for one-week-only engagements until outsized grosses prompted theater owners to demand an extended run. Fans might not flock to "Jonas" quite as quickly, knowing they can catch the pic during subsequent frames.

"I don't see the launch as being as frenetic because people know they have an opportunity to see it over the next few weeks," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said. "But we know the fan base is big: My granddaughter is making me take her."

Cyrus and the Jonases got their big-screen breaks from exposure on Disney Channel.

Also this weekend, Fox debuts its martial-arts actioner "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li," but prerelease interest appears light, and its opening coin is likely to be anything but legendary.

Fox Searchlight can expect to see a nice post-Oscars bump for "Slumdog Millionaire," which copped eight Academy Awards and is getting a few more hundred engagements this weekend to travel north of 2,500 playdates.

Among the weekend's notable limited bows, the Weinstein Co. unspools its Harrison Ford- Ashley Judd starrer "Crossing Over" in nine locations in Los Angeles and New York. The Weinsteins also will add modestly to last weekend's 962-theater count for the Nazi-themed drama "The Reader," for which Kate Winslet copped the best actress Oscar.

In the meantime, distributors will strive to post another collective year-over-year uptick at the boxoffice. The industry has managed to outperform year-earlier weekend comparisons in six of the seven sessions so far in 2009.

Grosses from this frame will be compared with a $97.6 million weekend from February 2008, when "Semi-Pro" topped wide openers with $15.1 million. (partialdiff)
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