'Zombieland' takes top spot at the boxoffice

'Meatballs' bows in second; 3D 'Toy Story' takes No. 3

Walking dead enlivened the weekend boxoffice.

Sony's Woody Harrelson starrer "Zombieland" topped the domestic rankings with an estimated $25 million. The studio also grabbed second place during the frame as its leggy 3D animated feature "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" dished up another $16.7 million for a 17-day cume of $82.4 million.

Three other wide openers posted relatively modest tallies:

-- Released as a double feature, Disney's 3D versions of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" opened with $12.5 million in third place.

-- Warner Bros. unspooled its Ricky Gervais starrer "The Invention of Lying" with $7.4 million in fourth.

-- Fox bowed the Drew Barrymore-helmed roller derby pic  "Whip It" with $4.9 million in sixth.

Among notable holdovers, Disney's Bruce Willis starrer "Surrogates" fell 51% from its first weekend to register $7.3 million in fifth place with a $26.4 million cume, and MGM/Lakeshore's remake of the musical "Fame" slid 53% in its sophomore session to $4.8 million in seventh with a $16.6 million cume. Overture Film's Dennis Quaid-toplined "Pandorum" tumbled out of the top rankings on a 57% drop to $1.9 million and a 10-day cume of $7.8 million.

On an industrywide basis, the $89.9 million registered by the 10 top pics represented a 1% dip compared with top performers during the year-ago frame.

Among limited openings, Focus Features unspooled the Coen brothers' period drama "A Serious Man" in a half-dozen theaters and grossed $251,510. That represented an auspicious $41,918 per venue ahead of a scheduled expansion Friday into 19 locations.

Lionsgate bowed the basketball documentary "More Than a Game" with 14 playdates to ring up $196,681, or a solid $14,048 per engagement.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Overture expanded Michael Moore's documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story" to 962 locations after a weekend of bicoastal exclusives and grossed $4.9 million. The performance was good for eighth place during the session and a $5.3 million cume.

Apparition's romantic drama "Bright Star" added 187 playdates for a total of 317 and grossed $723,865, or a dim $2,283 per engagement, with a $1.9 million cume.

Freestyle's R-rated comedy "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" added 90 theaters for a total of 210 and grossed $322,350, or a thin $1,535 per venue. "Beer's" cume reached $862,988.

Sony Pictures Classics' Audrey Tautou starrer "Coco Before Chanel" added 11 locations for a total of 16 and grossed $220,139. That represented a solid $13,759 per venue, as "Coco" cume climbed to $487,442.

Produced for an estimated $24 million, "Zombieland" gave helmer Ruben Fleischer his first feature directing credit.

The R-rated action comedy drew audiences skewing 56% male, with 58% of patrons under 25. Its bow was at the lower end of prerelease forecasts but still well-received by executives.

"We felt very strongly the movie was going to work," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "This movie really makes you laugh."

The "Toy Story" double bill played exclusively in 1,745 3D theaters, set for two weeks of theatrical release. The pics were converted into 3D in a yearlong process undertaken in part to set up Disney's scheduled June 18 bow of "Toy Story 3."

Audiences were 52% male, with 47% of patrons 18 or younger.

"I'm very pleased," Disney distribution topper Chuck Viane said. "There's no question that kids who grew up with the movie were coming back to see it again."

Co-directed by Gervais and newcomer Matthew Robinson, "Lying" attracted audiences that were 53% female, with 50% of patrons 30 or older. The PG-13 pic was produced by Media Rights Capital and acquired by Warners for about $5 million.

"We exceeded our expectations," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "We're very pleased with the number."

Fox Searchlight produced "Whip It," starring Ellen Page ("Juno"), for a modest $15 million, but marketing the PG-13 pic proved challenging.

"Whip It" boasts a female-friendly cast and message, but its roller-babes concept was a tougher sell with women. Audiences skewed 70% female, with 52% of patrons 25 or older.

Despite the soft bow, executives said audience reaction was positive and word-of-mouth should be strong.

"The reviews have been terrific, and we believe audiences will find the film," Fox senior vp distribution Chris Aronson said.

Looking ahead, one wide opener enters the recently crowded marketplace Friday, but it's a clear candidate for the frame's date-night movie of choice: Universal's ensemble comedy "Couples Retreat."
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