The lot look up to 'Terrace'

Sony thriller takes top b.o. spot from 'Burn' with $15.6 mil bow

Sony's Samuel L. Jackson thriller "Lakeview Terrace" captured the domestic boxoffice flag for the weekend with a solid $15.6 million in estimated opening grosses.

Focus Features' Coen brothers comedy "Burn After Reading" finished second, dropping just 42% from week-earlier opening grosses to $11.3 million for this session and a 10-day cume of $36.4 million. Lionsgate's romantic comedy "My Best Friend's Girl," starring Dane Cook and Kate Hudson, bowed third with a limp $8.3 million.

The MGM-distributed animated feature "Igor" from Exodus Film Group debuted about as expected with $8 million in fourth place. But DreamWorks/ Paramount's "Ghost Town" saw a disembodied debut of just $5.2 million in eighth place after Paramount cut distribution of the Ricky Gervais-Greg Kinnear comedy from a planned 2,000-plus playdates to 1,505 engagements.

Among other second-week pics, Overture's Robert De Niro-Al Pacino starrer "Righteous Kill" fell 53% to $7.7 million in fifth place with a cume of $28.8 million.

"Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys" from Lionsgate dropped 57% to $7.5 million in sixth place with a $28.4 million cume. And Picturehouse's ensemble female comedy "The Women" slid 47% to $5.3 million in seventh place with a $19.2 million cume.

Industrywide, the weekend's $90 million in collective boxoffice represented an 8% downtick from the same frame a year earlier, according to data service Nielsen EDI.

The seasonal boxoffice is still pacing 1% ahead of the same portion of fall 2007 at $237.2 million. Year to date, 2008 is trailing its year-ago comparison by 1% with $7.04 billion.

Among limited bows this weekend, Warner Bros. unspooled its Western "Appaloosa," starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen, with $258,000 from 14 theaters, or an impressive $18,404 per venue.

Paramount Vantage opened its period drama "The Duchess," starring Keira Knightley, in seven locations and grossed $202,527, or an auspicious $28,932 per site.

Variance Films grossed $9,500 from a single New Orleans engagement for "Walking on Dead Fish," a football documentary set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Rated PG-13 and produced for an estimated $20 million, "Terrace" casts Jackson as a creepy cop who harasses a young neighbor couple. Neil LaBute ("The Wicker Man") directed, with Will Smith and James Lassiter producing through Overbrook Prods.

"It was terrific," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said of the weekend-topping performance. "Samuel Jackson just chews it up, and he's just always so interesting to watch on film."

"Terrace" audiences were comprised of 56% of females, with 69% of patrons aged 25 or older.

The R-rated "Girl" skewed even more female — at 65% — but much younger than "Terrace," with 60% of "Girl" patrons under age 25.

"The movie opened at the lower end of our expectations," Lionsgate distribution president Steve Rothenberg said. "But with no comedies opening next week, we feel that we'll have a solid holdover."

"Igor" audiences were comprised primarily of family patrons but also included some teens and others.

"It met our expectations," Exodus chief exec John Eraklis said of the opening. "All things considered … we're not complaining."

"Ghost Town" was co-financed by Spyglass Entertainment, toting production costs estimated at $20 million. Its audiences skewed 66% female, with 80% of patrons aged 25 or older.

Execs said the pic's soft bow was acceptable, given the relatively modest costs, and suggested the pic could prove leggy over future frames.

"We were encouraged by the great spike in business from Friday to Saturday," DreamWorks spokesman Chip Sullivan said.

Looking ahead, next weekend again will feature four wide openers. Those include: Spike Lee's World War II film "Miracle at St. Anna" from Disney, Iraq War drama "The Lucky Ones" from Lionsgate, Shia LaBeouf thriller "Eagle Eye" from DreamWorks/Paramount and the literary adaptation "Nights in Rodanthe" from Warners. (partialdiff)