3-D 'Jonas' jam can't jolt b.o.
EmptyThe Jonas Brothers' performance at the weekend boxoffice proved not so extra-dimensional.
Disney's "Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience" rang up an estimated $12.7 million to open in second place among domestic rankings. The haul was roughly half what many had expected for the pic based on the growing appeal of 3-D projection and anticipated support among preteen fans.
The soft bow allowed Tyler Perry's "Madea Goes to Jail," from Lionsgate, to repeat at No. 1 despite a big 60% drop from opening grosses. The urban comedy registered $16.5 million on the session for a 10-day tally of $64.8 million, representing Perry's best theatrical cume to date.
Like Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus before them, the Jonas Brothers have grown from early exposure on Disney Channel to broader public acclaim. Their hitting the big screen with a 3-D concert pic followed a similar move by Cyrus last February.
Disney opened Cyrus' 3-D concert film "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" to $31.1 million in what initially was billed as a one-week-only release. "Best of Both Worlds" eventually was extended and rang up $65.3 million overall domestically.
So in a notable distinction from "Jonas Brothers," the bow for "Best of Both Worlds" was enhanced by fans' belief that they had to catch the Cyrus pic during its first weekend. "Jonas Brothers" is set for a multiweek run, so before the pic's release studio execs cautioned against expecting a bow of Hannah proportions.
"I'm as happy as can be," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said Sunday. "When you're looking at almost $10,000 per auditorium, that's doing really well. And it's the No. 2 concert opening of all time."
"Best of Both Worlds" played in just 687 theaters because of limited 3-D availability a year ago; "Jonas Brothers" played in 1,271 venues. Audiences skewed 85% female, with 65% of patrons 17 or under.
Elsewhere during the weekend, the Fox-distributed martial arts actioner "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" debuted in eighth place with $4.7 million. "Legend," produced and financed by Hyde Park, attracted opening audiences skewing young and male, but precise demo data were unavailable.
"It met our expectations," Fox senior vp distribution Bert Livingston said of the bow.
Fox Searchlight added several hundred playdates for its Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire" and grossed $12.2 million to finish third on the frame and boost the cume to $115.1 million.
"It was the highest weekend gross of a best picture Academy Award winner in 10 years," Searchlight senior vp distribution Sheila DeLoach said.
Focus Features brought "Milk" back into wide release after topliner Sean Penn copped a best actor statuette, with the Harvey Milk biopic fetching $1.5 million to boost its cume to $30.1 million.
The Weinstein Co. padded its wide release of the Nazi-themed drama "The Reader" following Kate Winslet's best actress win and grossed $2.9 million for a $27 million cume.
The Weinsteins unspooled the Harrison Ford-Ashley Judd starrer "Crossing Over" in nine New York and Los Angeles theaters, ringing up $75,590 million, or a solid $8,399 per venue.
After Dark Films' Edward Burns starrer "Echelon Conspiracy" grossed $554,126 from 400 locations, or a thin $1,385 per site.
Sony Pictures Classics added 153 playdates for a total of 208 for its animated documentary "Waltz With Bashir" and grossed $188,194, or just $905 per engagement, as the cume reached $1.8 million.
SPC also expanded its French-language drama "The Class" by 11 locations for a total of 73 and grossed $313,540, or an acceptable $4,295 per site, with a $1.7 million cume.
IFC Films added 14 locations for a total of 20 for its Italian-language mob pic "Gomorrah" to register $144,829, or a sturdy $7,241 per site. "Gomorrah's" cume climbed to $380,246.
And Warner Bros. added one theater for a total of 51 for its 3-D Imax nature film "Under the Sea," grossing $563,000, or an enviable $11,039 per venue, with a $2.4 million cume.
The weekend's $112 million in collective industry grosses marked a 15% improvement compared with the same frame last year, Nielsen EDI said.
Year-to-date, 2009 is up just 3% — at $1.6 billion — but that only is because of seasonal fluctuations in the boxoffice calendar. In a statistic that's much more telling of the marketplace, the domestic boxoffice has notched year-over-year upticks over seven of eight weekends this boxoffice year.
Looking ahead to this weekend, arguably the year's first tentpole release — Warners' action fantasy "Watchmen" — looks likely to open well. There are no other wide openers during the coming frame, and must-see interest in "Watchmen" has been high for weeks in prerelease tracking surveys. (partialdiff)