'Blind Side' tops 'New Moon' at boxoffice

Sandra Bullock film lands at No. 1 in third week

Sandra Bullock beat the vampires in her third time trying.

The Warner Bros.-distributed, Bullock-toplined football drama "The Blind Side" topped the weekend boxoffice with an estimated $20.4 million third frame and $129.3 million in cumulative boxoffice. Summit Entertainment's vampires-and-werewolves drama "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" was second with $15.7 million -- following gold-medal finishes the previous two sessions -- as cume for the fanged phenom reached $255.6 million.

The highly unusual ascendance to the top spot for Alcon Entertainment-produced "Blind Side" after two weekends in second place overshadowed the bows of three wide releases. Lionsgate's love-triangle drama "Brothers" -- starring Natalie Portman Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire -- was the best of the relatively weak group of new pics with $9.7 million in third place.

Sony Screen Gems' armored-truck heist pic "Armored" parked with $6.6 million in sixth place, tied with Sony's leggy actioner "2012." Miramax's Robert De Niro starrer "Everybody's Fine" unspooled in 10th with $4 million, and Full Circle's horror spoof "Transylmania" debuted well outside the top rankings with just $274,000.

A pair of pics playing through their sophomore sessions absorbed big drops from opening grosses. Disney's family comedy "Old Dogs" fell 60% to $6.9 million in fifth place with a $33.9 million cume, while Warners' martial arts actioner "Ninja Assassin" tumbled 62% to $6 million in eighth with a $29.8 million cume.

Collectively, the weekend's top 10 finishers rung up $86.8 million, or 18% more than top grossers in the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI.

In a limited bow, Paramount's George Clooney starrer "Up in the Air" registered $1.2 million from 15 playdates, or an auspicious $79,000 per engagement ahead of planned expansions during the next few weeks.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, the Weinstein Co.'s book adaptation "The Road" added 17 locations for a total of 128 and grossed $759,754, or a solid $5,936 per site, with a $3.2 million cume.

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The No. 1 finish for "Blind Side" -- which is already deep into profitability, toting a mere $34 million negative cost -- represents one of just a handful of such chart-topping performances in a slow-climbing pic's third frame, including the 2005 ascendancy of leggy New Line laugher "Wedding Crashers."

"Blind Side" managed the rare feat by combining its own modest 49% drop with a big 63% decline for "New Moon." The soft competition didn't hurt, either.

Co-financed by Relativity Media, "Brothers" drew audiences comprised 52% of females and dominated by older adults with 49% of patrons age 30 or older.

Lionsgate distribution boss David Spitz expressed satisfaction with the opening, suggesting it "underscores the fruitful pact Lionsgate has with Relativity."

"Armored" audiences skewed 51% male, with 61% of patrons age 25 or older. Bearing a modest $20 million negative cost, the pic managed a bow roughly in line with light pre-release expectations.

"We'll be fine," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said.

"Everybody's Fine" -- which co-stars Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell -- attracted mixed reviews. That seemed to prevent the adult-oriented dramatic comedy from finding its target audience.

"It was a little bit disappointing," said Miramax president Daniel Battsek, who is set to exit the Disney specialty unit by Jan. 31.

"Transylmania" struggled to amass playdates for its weekend bow, with exhibitors loath to remove top holdovers from auditoriums. But its limp bow failed to do justice even to the 1,007 engagements that the Full Circle pic was able to muster.

Looking ahead, only Warners' Clint Eastwood-helmed sports drama "Invictus" opens wide Friday, while Disney expands its animated family feature "The Princess and the Frog" wide after two weekends of bicoastal exclusives.

Notable limited openers will include Paramount's Peter Jackson-helmed book adaptation "The Lovely Bones," as awards-season activity brightens the spotlight on adult-oriented prestige titles.