It's happy trails for 'Yuma,' but 'Shoot' misses target

Male call works for Western remake

Western remake "3:10 to Yuma" was right on time for Lionsgate, capturing the weekend boxoffice with $14 million in domestic grosses.

The well-reviewed Russell Crowe-Christian Bale starrer came in roughly at the high end of prerelease tracking. But New Line Cinema's campy actioner "Shoot 'Em Up," gunning for a similarly male-oriented audience, underperformed badly with just $5.7 million, as the Clive Owen starrer settled for sixth place. Sony Pictures' comedy "The Brothers Solomon" opened outside the top 10 with a weak $508,601 from 700 runs.

The Weinstein Co./Dimension horror remake "Halloween" finished in second place for the weekend despite a big 69% drop, ringing up $9.5 million in its sophomore outing with a $43.7 million cume for distributor MGM. Sony's "Superbad" finished third in its fourth frame with $7.6 million and a $103.2 million cume.

Lionsgate distribution president Tom Ortenberg said "Yuma" should attract more younger and female moviegoers during the coming weeks.

"It's not the kind of film where its core audiences flock out the first weekend to see it," Ortenberg said.

"Shoot" failed to attract interest outside of a core fan base of young males, so New Line execs hope it does better on DVD. Similarly, Sony execs said it was always expected that "Brothers Solomon" would make most of its revenue in ancillary markets.

The week's top 10 films totaled $61.4 million for the weekend, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI. That was good enough for a 26% uptick for top performers compared with the same frame a year ago.

Still, distributors cited weakness in the latest frame from the start of the NFL season, whose telecasts tend to preoccupy prospective male moviegoers. And kids preoccupied with the return to the classroom were presented slim pickings, with the wide openers toting R ratings.

Among the limited openers, the Weinstein Co.'s Bosnian drama "The Hunting Party" grossed an estimated $39,609 from four playdates in Los Angeles and New York — a solid $9,902 per location for the MGM-distributed film. Starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard, "Hunting Party" expands nationwide Friday.

ThinkFilm's space-exploration documentary "In the Shadow of the Moon" grossed an estimated $38,281 from four Los Angeles and New York locations for an auspicious $9,570 per playdate. Plans call for the critically praised docu to expand to Chicago, Boston and Washington on Friday, then into the top 15 markets the following frame for distribution on more than 60 screens.

Lionsgate/After Dark Films' Diane Lane starrer "Fierce People" grossed $19,968 from a pair of New York screens for a toothy $9,984 per location.

IFC Films' romantic comedy "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With" grossed an appetizing $12,317 from a single New York location after bowing Wednesday, good for a five-day cume of $15,990. Written and directed by topliner Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), "Cheese" stretches into additional top 10 markets during the next three weekends.

Looking ahead to the weekend, three wide openers might help fuel interest in the early fall theatrical season: New Line's Billy Bob Thornton starrer "Mr. Woodcock," Warners' Jodie Foster-toplined thriller "The Brave One" and Freestyle Releasing's Korean actioner "Dragon Wars."

Several limited releases entering the market also will bear watching as the year's boxoffice race hits the homestretch and awards consideration campaigns start to take hold.

Notable limited openers this weekend include the Paul Haggis-helmed "In the Valley of Elah," a postwar drama starring Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon, and Julie Taymor's Beatles-inspired musical fantasy "Across the Universe" from Sony.