Cavemen evolve at b.o.

'10,000 BC' clubs competition with $35.7 mil

Warner Bros.' prehistoric action adventure "10,000 BC" captured the domestic boxoffice with an estimated $35.7 million opening during the weekend, representing something short of the discovery of fire but still notable for this time of year.

Disney's G-rated family comedy "College Road Trip" arrived in second place with $14 million, and Lionsgate's true-story heist film "The Bank Job" bowed in fifth with $5.7 million.

Among holdovers, Sony's Dennis Quaid starrer "Vantage Point" finished No. 3 in its third weekend with $7.5 million and a $51.7 million cume. New Line's Will Ferrell comedy "Semi-Pro" dropped a big 62% from its opening grosses to ring up $5.8 million and finish fourth over its second frame with a $24.7 million cume.

Sony's period drama "The Other Boleyn Girl" landed in seventh place on a 51% drop to $4 million in its sophomore session, shaping a $14.6 million cume. Summit Entertainment's romantic fantasy "Penelope" tumbled from the top rankings with a 42% decline to $2.2 million and a 10-day cume of $6.9 million.

Industrywide, the weekend's $105 million in collective boxoffice represented a big 31% fall-off from the same session a year earlier, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI. The frame compared with a 2007 weekend topped by the $70.9 million debut of Warners' "300."

The year-over-year weekend decline made for a fifth consecutive down session, but year-to-date, 2008 remains 4% ahead of the same portion of last year at $1.69 billion, EDI said.

Elsewhere this weekend, Focus Features' London-based period dramedy "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" grossed $2.5 million from 535 theaters. That represented a sturdy $4,750 per venue for the Frances McDormand-Amy Adams starrer, which was directed by Bharat Nalluri ("Tsunami: The Aftermath").

"It's a good, solid opening," Focus distribution president Jack Foley said. "We're happy."

Focus will hold with the current number of runs before deciding on "Pettigrew" expansion plans, Foley said.

Sony Pictures Classics bowed the Stephen Chow-helmed "CJ7" on 19 screens and rung up $41,098, or a disappointing $2,163 per site. But SPC also unspooled Ira Sachs' "Married Life" in nine locations and grossed $55,004, representing a more acceptable $6,112 per site ahead of future expansions for the crime drama starring Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Pierce Brosnan and Rachel McAdams.

IFC Films debuted Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park" with a pair of exclusives and grossed $30,678, or an encouraging $15,339 per screen. "Paranoid" parks in top 15 markets over the next two weekends.

Warner Independent bowed "Snow Angels" in dual New York locations to fetch $14,000 ahead of Friday's addition of a single Los Angeles engagement.

The post-awards bounce for best picture Oscar winner "No Country for Old Men" is proving a bit short-lived. The Miramax-Paramount co-production shed 836 theaters this weekend to gross $1.6 million from the remaining 1,201. That was a thin $1,333 per venue but enough to raise the cume for the Coen brothers thriller to $72.7 million.

Meanwhile, it appears Warners is well on track with recouping costs on the $100 million-plus "10,000 BC."

Directed by "Independence Day" helmer Roland Emmerich and featuring a cast of relative newcomers, reviews were predictably mixed as the film offers the helmer's signature blend of engaging action and middlebrow fantasy.

"The opening was right in line with expectations," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "I think it's a very strong number for this time of year."

The film also bowed in many foreign territories, and Emmerich's films tend to fetch outsized international coinage.

The director marked his biggest-ever domestic bow with 2004's "The Day After Tomorrow," which debuted over the four-day Memorial Day frame with $85.8 million.

"Road Trip" — starring Raven-Symone, from Disney Channel's "You're So Raven," and Martin Lawrence — attracted audiences comprised 65% by family patrons. Teens represented 20%.

Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said the "Road Trip" bow was "roughly what we expected."

Directed by Roger Donaldson ("Thirteen Days") and rated R, "Bank Job" drew decent domestic reviews a week after notching a No. 1 opening in the U.K.

Based on an actual heist in London more than 30 years ago, the Jason Statham starrer attracted audiences in which 63% of patrons were 21-39. About 57% were male.

"People like the film, so there will be good word of mouth," Lionsgate distribution president Steve Rothenberg said, citing exit surveys.

Lionsgate acquired U.S., Canadian and U.K. rights to "Bank Job" for a "modest" cost, Rothenberg said. The film is expected to prove "nicely profitable" for the distributor, he added.

Looking to this weekend, wide openers will include Fox's animated "Horton Hears a Who," Universal's actioner "Doomsday" and Summit's high school fight club drama "Never Back Down."

"Horton" may give "Road Trip" pause, but Viane predicted good playability over coming frames for the family feature.

"Spring vacations start Monday," Viane said. "So for the next four weeks, everybody's films should be helped by that."