Moviegoers hang out in 'Disturbia' over weekend


Hollywood staged a veritable spring clearance sale this weekend as six new wide arrivals hit movie screens, but the only new film that flew off the shelves was the Paramount Pictures release "Disturbia." The PG-13 thriller, starring rising star Shia LaBeouf as a housebound teen who suspects a neighbor of murder, captured an estimated $23 million to capture first place at the North American boxoffice.

It was a good weekend for Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks -- not only did the distributor and production company field the winning "Disturbia," but their comedy "Blades of Glory" held down the No. 2 spot with an estimated $14.1 million, which brings its domestic cume to $90.2 million. But the weekend brought more bad news for the Weinstein Co. as its "Grindhouse," which bowed last weekend at No. 4, fell 63% to 10th place, picking up just $4.2 million, which brings its collective purse to a mere $19.7 million.

The weekend's top 10 films were down 12% from last weekend's top 10. They also were off 14% from the top 10 of the comparable weekend last year, the Easter weekend holiday, which featured the $40.2 million bow of Dimension Films' "Scary Movie 4."

Going into the weekend, tracking polls suggested that the more-adult thriller "Perfect Stranger" from Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures would have the edge over "Disturbia," since it boasted more star wattage in Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. But "Stranger," which carried the restriction of an R-rating, made its debut in fourth place, with an estimated $11.5 million in 2,661 theaters.

"We'd liked to have opened with a little bit more, but I think we have a really adult thriller here," Sony president of domestic distribution Rory Breuer said. "It showed a bump at the boxoffice from Friday to Saturday, so I think it will hang in there."

"Disturbia," from DreamWorks and the Montecito Picture Co., succeeded by attracting younger females. Its audience was 60% female, and 68% of its audience was under 25, according to DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy. "All the tracking had us in the mid-to-high teens," he said of the movie, which surprised handicappers by surging into the $20 million range. "It just seems to get a little harder (to track an opening) when you are appealing to a particular audience. No one likes being surprised, but better that the surprise is on the positive side."

The film marks the third No. 1 opening in a row for the DreamWorks/Paramount combo, following the three-week-old "Blades" and the February comedy "Norbit" "We hope it's habit-forming," Levy joked.

"Disturbia" also heralds the arrival of LaBeouf as a bona fide boxoffice force. The 20-year-old actor, whose resume ranges from the Disney Channel series "Even Stevens" to supporting roles in studio films like "I, Robot" and "Constantine" and forays into indie pictures like "Bobby," next voices the lead character, a surfing penguin, in Sony Animation's "Surf's Up," set for June, and then stars in Michael Bay's live-action "Transformers," which DreamWorks/Paramount will unleash on July 4. He's also just been cast for what's being described as a "sidekick" role in the fourth installment of the "Indiana Jones" series.

The weekend's other newcomers didn't drum up as much in the way of excitement.

20th Century Fox's "Pathfinder," an R-rated Viking adventure directed by Marcus Nispel ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), bowed in sixth place. Installed in 1,720 theaters, it scored an estimated $4.8 million.

"Redline," the $34 million drag-racing movie self-financed by real estate mogul Daniel Sadek, who also distributed the film himself through newly created Chicago Pictures, pulled up in 11th place. Revving its engines in 1,607 theaters, it collected an estimated $4 million.

First Look Pictures' "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters," a big-screen spinoff of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim series about a trio of fast-food friends, received plenty of attention back in January, when the police in Boston found an electronic promo for the movie and mistook it for a bomb. But despite the fact that the series also has a cult following, the movie version didn't create a run on the boxoffice. Bowing in 877 theaters, the movie version of "Aqua Teen" grabbed an estimated $3.1 million, which left it trailing much of the rest of the pact in 13th place. The film represented First Look's first film to bow in a wide release pattern of 600 theaters or more. And, according to Nielsen EDI, it's only the second R-rated animated film to open wide, though it fell short of "South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut's" $14.8 million opening in 1999.

Lionsgate's urban thriller "Slow Burn," starring Ray Liotta and LL Cool J in a showdown directed by screenwriter Wayne Beach in his directorial debut, stirred up even less excitement. Debuting in 1,163 theaters, it finished well outside of the top 10 with a weekend take of an estimated $800,000.

On the holdover front, Buena Vista's "Meet the Robinsons" in third place and Sony's comedy "Are We Done Yet?" in fifth place continued to attract sizable audiences. "Robinsons" picked up an added $12.1 million to bring its cume to $72 million, while "Done" rang up an estimated $9.2 million to bring its cume to $33 million. Falling nearly 28%, "Robinsons" displayed the best hold of any movie in the top 10.

In its sixth weekend, Warner Bros. Pictures' "300" moved down to the ninth spot but still picked up $4.3 million, making it the first film of 2007 to cross the $200 million mark domestically as its estimated cume climbed to $200.8 million. It also crossed the $200 million mark overseas.

Among limited releases, Paramount Vantage bowed "Year of the Dog," writer-director Mike White's off-beat romantic comedy starring Molly Shannon, in 7 locations, where it delivered a promising $112,346; that represented a strong per-screen average of $16,049. Next weekend, the specialty films distributed will expand the film to nine more cities.

IDP launched Roadside Attractions/Samuel Goldwyn Films' "Lonely Hearts," a crime thriller starring John Travolta and Salma Hayek and directed by Todd Robinson, in 23 locations. It scored $92,175 for a per-screen average of $4,008.

IFC Films introduced French director Alain Resnais' "Private Fears in Public Places" on two screens, where it attracted an estimated $16,616 for a per-screen average of $8,308.

Tartan USA bowed Andrea Arnold's "Red Road" in three theaters to $21,000, for a per-theater average of $7,000.

Meanwhile, Miramax Films expanded "The Hoax," Lasse Hallstrom's drama starring Richard Gere, to 178 more theaters. Now playing in 413 locations, the film collected an estimated $1.7 million, bringing its cume to $3.6 million.

Close behind, Fox Searchlight's "Namesake," directed by Mira Nair, grossed an estimated $1.3 million in 331 locations. Its cume now stands at $8.7 million.

For the week ending Thursday, total boxoffice amounted to $180.5 million, up more than 12% from the comparable week in 2006, which collected $160.6 million. For the year to date, boxoffice stands at $2.38 billion, up more than 6% from 2006's $2.23 billion, and estimated admissions are up more than 3% over 2006 levels.