Empire of '300' still intact
No. 1 pic adds $31.2 mil to war chest despite slideWarner Bros. Pictures' "300" fell a precipitous 56% in its second weekend in release, but with an estimated $127 million in boxoffice receipts after only 10 days, the CG-heavy spectacle had one soft landing, remaining at No. 1 overall for the frame with an estimated $31.2 million.
Hollywood's new releases had more trouble gaining traction at the North American boxoffice during the weekend.
Sony Pictures' Sandra Bullock starrer "Premonition" grossed solidly, with an estimated $18 million for a third-place finish, but Fox Searchlight had difficulty luring in Chris Rock fans for his second directorial effort, "I Think I Love My Wife"; the remake of the French comedy "Chloe in the Afternoon" grossed an estimated $5.7 million, good for fifth place.
Universal Pictures also struggled with "Dead Silence." The horror film from "Saw" creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell grossed an estimated $7.7 million for the three-day frame, finishing No. 4 overall.
Still, the boxoffice held off last year at this time by a solid 10% margin. The top 12 films grossed an estimated $102.4 million for the frame compared with $92.7 million last year, when Warners bowed "V for Vendetta."
Meanwhile, Buena Vista Pictures wins the title of lowest drops for the frame with both of its top-10 pictures. The road-trip comedy "Wild Hogs" fell close to 32% its third weekend in release to earn the No. 2 slot.; the ensemble featuring John Travolta, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen has crossed the coveted $100 million mark with an estimated $104 million overall.
Even more impressively, Walden Media's "Bridge to Terabithia" fell just 24% in its fifth weekend. The family-friendly film finished sixth for the frame, grossing an additional $5.1 million to put its cume at $74.9 million. "Terabithia" is on track to outgross Walden's previous film, "Charlotte's Web," which topped out this year at $82 million.
Paramount Pictures might have had some tough luck with its two most recent openings.
The well-regarded, David Fincher-directed drama "Zodiac" earned an estimated $3.1 million to finish in seventh place for its third weekend. The co-production with Warner Bros. has grossed $28.9 million, putting its long-term prospects into question. The studio's indie division, Paramount Vantage, also is struggling with "Black Snake Moan." Playing in 862 theaters, writer-director Craig Brewer's film earned $641,112, down 66% from its sophomore session. The Christina Ricci-Samuel Jackson starrer has earned just $8.7 million in three weekends.
Paramount's PG-13 comedy "Norbit," from DreamWorks, is still working. Now in its sixth week, the Eddie Murphy vehicle fell 36% to gross $2.7 million, good for ninth place overall. At $92.4 million, the film is slowing down but should be able to hit $100 million.
Zack Snyder's R-rated "300," starring Gerard Butler, hit the $100 million mark Friday, its eighth day of release; "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Passion of the Christ" are the only two R-rated films to reach the number faster.
Although "300" was hampered in its second weekend in theaters by the St. Patrick's Day holiday and the NCAA men's basketball tournament, it had no trouble holding on in its Imax screenings. According to Imax president of filmed entertainment Greg Foster, the film grossed $2.6 million at 62 locations, a 27% drop. Averaging $42,000 per screen, Imax's "300" cume amounts to an estimated $8.8 million, or 7% of the film's total gross.
"Premonition," from Hyde Park Entertainment, marks Bullock's largest opening weekend, surpassing Warners' "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," which bowed to $16.2 million in 2002. Attracting primarily females over 25, "Premonition," a time-tripping thriller from TriStar Pictures, will be a big win for Sony.
For Searchlight, "Wife," which writer-director-star Rock promoted tirelessly the week leading up to its opening, was a disappointment.
"We were hoping for a higher number," Searchlight general sales manager Sheila DeLoach said. "The Chris Rock fans didn't come out in the way we hoped they would."
The specialty films unit did score in limited release with its Mira Nair-directed drama "The Namesake." Adding 35 theaters to its run, the film grossed $691,832 on 41 screens for a per-screen average of $16,874; it has earned a little more than $1 million in two weekends. Searchlight will add 70 theaters in 12 cities this weekend.
Universal was tepid in its reaction to "Silence." Made for less than $20 million, the old-fashioned horror movie won't be a big loss for the studio.
"It is what it is," Universal domestic distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "It was made for a price, and it's a decent result. We wish it was higher, but we'll be all right."
In limited release, the Weinstein Co. opened the drama "Nomad: The Warrior" on 30 screens to $12,388. The movie, set in 18th-century Kazakhstan, averaged $413 per screen.
IDP Distribution had better success with the fourth weekend of Samuel Goldwyn Films/ Roadside Attractions' "Amazing Grace." Starring Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce, it fell 17.5% from the previous weekend, grossing $2 million on 1,162 screens for a per-screen average of $1,763. The film's gross is $14.3 million.
ThinkFilm expanded "Avenue Montaigne" to San Francisco, Chicago and San Diego for the frame. Now in 24 locations, the film grossed $100,500 for a per-screen of $4,188 and a cume of $436,592.
For the week ending Thursday the total boxoffice was $215.7 million, up a whopping 38% from the comparable week in 2006, which collected $155.8 million. Year to date, total boxoffice is $1.67 billion, up more than 4% from $1.6 billion a year ago. Admissions are up by just less than 1%.