Filmgoers 'Obsessed' over the weekend

Beyonce Knowles starrer takes in $28.5 million

'Fast' retains top spot at int'l boxoffice

Sony Screen Gems' suspense film "Obsessed" captivated the domestic boxoffice over its first weekend as the Beyonce Knowles-Idris Elba starrer proved more dominant than expected with an estimated $28.5 million.

Three other wide openers saw mixed results. Universal's bare-knuckled brawling drama "Fighting" debuted about as expected with $11.4 million in second place, while Paramount's DreamWorks-produced drama "The Soloist" -- in which Robert Downey Jr. plays L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez -- registered a light $9.7 million in fourth place. And the first Disney Nature documentary "Earth," narrated by James Earl Jones, fetched a pleasing $8.6 million in fifth place with a $14.2 million cume since unspooling Wednesday.

Elsewhere among the top rankings, Warner Bros.' Zac Efron starrer "17 Again" fell a relatively modest 51% over its sophomore session to $11.7 million in second place. That made for a 10-day cume of $40 million for a film that was produced for just $28 million.

Uni's Russell Crowe-toplined "State of Play" also dropped 51% from its opening grosses to register $6.9 million in seventh place with a $25.1 cume. Lionsgate's action sequel "Crank: High Voltage" was off 66% from its first weekend at $2.4 million in 10th place with a $11.5 million cume.

Industrywide, the weekend's $114 million in collective grosses represented a 25% improvement over the same frame last year and the biggest-ever weekend gross for the final session of the spring boxoffice season, according to Nielsen EDI. Spring 2009's final tally totals $1.11 billion, or 20% more than in the same boxoffice season last year, with the industry outpacing its year-over-year comparisons for each of the past five weekends.

Year-to-date, 2009 is up 9% over the same portion of last year, at $2.88 billion. That's despite its featuring one less winter frame due to calendar fluctuations.

In a limited bow this weekend, Sony Pictures Classics unspooled the Mike Tyson documentary "Tyson" in 11 theaters in New York and Los Angeles to gross $85.982, or an auspicious $7,817 per venue.

Also, Music Box's Italian political drama "Il Divo" grossed a solid $14,000 from a pair of inaugural engagements. And Variance Films opened its nursery school documentary "Nursery University" with a sizeable $13,100 from a single New York location.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, SPC's French-language drama "Paris 36" added 14 theaters for a total of 41 and grossed $56,585, or a limp $1,380 per venue, with a cume of $526,971. The specialty distributor held its Broadway documentary "Every Little Step" in eight locations to gross $50,239, or a sturdy $6,280 per site, with a cume of $154,032.

Story Island's Michael Caine starrer "Is Anybody There" added 48 playdates for a total 54 and grossed $120,889. That represented a so-so $2,239 per engagement as cume climbed to $183,086.

Focus Features' Spanish-language thriller "Sin Nombre" added three locations for a total of 83 and grossed $205,092, or a thinning $2,471 per site, with a $1.5 million cume.

"Obsessed" was helmed by tyro feature director Steve Shill and also stars Ali Larter ("Resident Evil: Extinction") as a temp employee who stalks her co-worker (Elba). The PG-13 pic drew audiences comprised 58% of females, with 51% of patrons age 25 or older.

"This is extremely satisfying," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "It had a lot of things going for it, including another great job of marketing by Screen Gems. But most importantly, it had Beyonce and a great cast."

"Obsessed" was produced for an estimated $20 million. Its debut was the second biggest for Screen Gems, surpassing 2006's "Underworld: Evolution" ($26.9 million) and behind 2005's "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" ($30 million.)

Produced by Rogue Pictures for an estimated $18 million, "Fighting" stars Terrence Howard and Channing Tatum ("Stop-Loss"). Rated PG-13, "Fighting" appeared to be the top choice of young male moviegoers this weekend, boasting audiences comprised 58% of males and 66% of patrons under age 25.

"We're very pleased," Rogue production president Tucker Tooley said. "The opening was in the mid- to top range of what tracking was telling us it would be."

Also a PG-13 pic, "Soloist" co-stars Jamie Foxx as a troubled street musician befriended by Lopez. "Soloist" attracted the oldest-skewing audiences among the weekend's wide releases, with 84% of its support from patrons 25 or older and females accounting for 55% of its ticket sales.

"We thought it would do $10 million or so, so it's about where we would have expected it to be," Par exec vp distribution Don Harris said. "And these kind of older movies tend to hang around a while, so we're hoping for that."

"Earth" -- which rotated in just 1,804 locations, the fewest among the frame's wide openers -- drew audiences comprised 56% of females, with 52% of patrons age 25 or older.

"It's a spectacular opening," Disney distribution topper Chuck Viane said. "It was one of those things where you just didn't know what to expect it to do, but this was just terrific."

Looking ahead, three wide releases are set for the first frame of the summer boxoffice season.

Fox's "X-Men" spinoff "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is sure to be the weekend's top , with only the question of how high the comic-book actioner can fly. Other wide openers include Lionsgate's feature animation "Battle for Terra" and Warners' romantic comedy "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past."