Drama, pratfalls in Focus' lineup


Both under the Universal Pictures umbrella, Focus Features and its genre division sister Rogue Pictures had a heftier per-film gross than most this summer.

With a cast including nearly every acclaimed female actress of her generation as well their family members, Lajos Koltai's "Evening" raked in $12.4 million. Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha Richardson all squared off onscreen, while Patrick Wilson and Hugh Dancy provided eye candy for the film's primarily female audience. But so-so reviews and summer competition prevented the Focus film from having longer legs.

Rogue's cop movie satire "Hot Fuzz" kept audiences laughing well beyond its April 20 debut, pulling in $11 million of its $23.6 million this summer. Director Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg managed to nearly double the gross of their 2004 Rogue horror spoof "Shaun of the Dead."

Focus' "Talk to Me" earned a disappointing $4.3 million. But Kasi Lemmons' true tale of Washington ex-con-turned-DJ activist Ralph "Petey" Greene boasted a talked-about performance by Don Cheadle and a period soundtrack.

The summer ended on an upbeat note for Rogue. Despite the record-breaking Labor Day competition from killer Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's "Halloween," Rogue's pingpong spoof "Balls of Fury" held its own against the competition. The sight of Christopher Walken playing pingpong helped scare up a respectable $17.1 million during its first six days.