Weekend Box Office (April 13 - 15, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Paramount replaced itself at the top of the North American box office chart as its new teen thriller Disturbia opened ahead of expectations in first place bumping the studio's two-week champ Blades of Glory into the runnerup spot. The weekend's other new suspense thriller Perfect Stranger starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis disappointed and landed in fourth place. Four other new films debuted in wide release but generated little interest from moviegoers. Overall, the marketplace suffered the usual late spring slowdown as for the first time since February, the top ten failed to sell $100M worth of tickets.

Rising star Shia LaBeouf scored a big victory over the weekend with the thriller Disturbia which shot straight to number one debuting with $22.2M, according to final studio figures. The PG-13 pic was given the widest release of the frame's six new entries playing in 2,925 theaters and generated a strong $7,598 average. A modern day version of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, Disturbia played to a young female audience as studio research showed that 57% of the crowd was female and 75% was under 35.

Just before the film's opening day, the studio announced that LaBeouf had been cast opposite Harrison Ford in its next Indiana Jones film. The news may have helped to generate more excitement for Disturbia which was the only major choice for teenage girls this weekend. The safe rating and fairly good reviews may also have contributed. The $20M production looks to become a profitable vehicle.

After its two-week run at the top, Will Ferrell's comedy hit Blades of Glory slipped to second place dropping a moderate 39% to $13.8M. The 17-day cume stands at a potent $90M. Like Disturbia, Blades was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by its new parent Paramount.

Slipping only 25% was Disney's animated comedy Meet the Robinsons with $12.5M which lifted the total to $72.4M. With no new films for young kids this weekend, Robinsons enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten.

Halle Berry and Bruce Willis failed to turn their starpower into box office bucks as their new suspense thriller Perfect Stranger debuted weaker than expected in fourth place with $11.2M. The critically-panned Sony release averaged a mediocre $4,211 from 2,661 theaters. With its R rating, Perfect Stranger played to an adult audience with a female skew. Studio research showed that women made up 54% of the audience and a very high 70% were 25 or older. The opening was weaker than the bows of other films headlined by Berry like Catwoman ($16.7M) and Gothika ($19.3M).

Ice Cube had a decent second weekend for his comedy sequel Are We Done Yet? which fell by 37% to $9M. That gave the Sony release a cume of $32.8M after 12 days. Its predecessor enjoyed a much slimmer 12% dip to $16.3M in its second weekend on its way to $82.3M. Done might find its way to the vicinity of $55M. Fox's Viking actioner Pathfinder limped into sixth place with a weak $5M opening. The R-rated film averaged a mild $2,908 from 1,720 locations.

The rest of the top ten was filled with four films separated by less than $350,000. Buena Vista's motorcycle comedy Wild Hogs grossed $4.7M, down only 30%, for a stellar cume of $152.3M. Hilary Swank's horror flick The Reaping tumbled 54% in its second weekend to $4.6M giving Warner Bros. $19.8M in 11 days.

The mighty 300 broke through the double century mark over the weekend both domestically and internationally. In North America, the Warner Bros. smash dropped 47% to $4.5M boosting the total to $201M. Overseas, 300 collected an estimated $13.8M this weekend to lift the international haul to $203.5M giving the Spartan epic a global tally of $405M and counting. The stylish war film is now the highest grossing March release ever having surpassed the old record holder Ice Age: The Meltdown which grossed $195.3M last spring.

Rounding out the top ten was the Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez flop Grindhouse which plunged 63% in its sophomore session to $4.3M. Budgeted at $53M, the double feature has taken in just $19.8M in its first ten days and looks headed for a weak $25-27M finish for The Weinstein Co.

In addition to the three new wide releases that debuted in the top ten, another three opened outside of it with weaker results. The car racing pic Redline bowed to $4M from 1,607 sites for a slow $2,466 average per theater. The first title from rookie distributor Chicago Pictures stars Eddie Griffin and targeted young males.

First Look opened the animated film Aqua Teen Hunger Force to the tune of $3M giving the R-rated film an average of just $3,427 from 877 locations. Lionsgate made no impact with its Ray Liotta actioner Slow Burn which bowed to $778,123 from 1,163 playdates for a puny average of $669 per theater.

Three films fell out of the top ten this weekend. Mark Wahlberg's sniper pic Shooter dropped 47% to $3.1M putting its total at $42.1M. The $60M Paramount release should end its run with $47-49M. Fox's family film Firehouse Dog held up well in its second weekend, despite collecting low overall grosses. The PG-rated drama dipped 21% to $3.1M for a cume of $10.2M after 12 days. Warner Bros. took in $2.3M for the animated actioner TMNT, off 53%, for a total of $50.8M. Look for a $53-55M final.

Platforming to solid results was the Molly Shannon drama Year of the Dog which bowed in seven New York and Los Angeles sites and grossed $108,223. The Paramount Vantage release averaged $15,460 and will open in nine additional cities this Friday boosting its theater count to more than 30.

The top ten films grossed $91.7M which was down 14% from last year when Scary Movie 4 opened at number one with $40.2M; but up 28% from 2005 when The Amityville Horror debuted on top with $23.5M.

Compared to projections, Disturbia powered well ahead of my $10M forecast while Perfect Stranger opened a couple of notches below my $15M prediction. Pathfinder was on target with my $5M projection and Redline debuted below my $7M forecast. Aqua Teen Hunger Force came close to my $4M prediction while Slow Burn was much weaker than my $4M projection.

For a review of The Reaping and DVD reviews of Happy Feet and Black Christmas, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Vacancy, Hot Fuzz, Fracture, and In the Land of Women all open.

Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines

# Title Apr 13 - 15 Apr 6 - 8 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Disturbia $ 22,224,982 2,925 1 $ 7,598 $ 22,224,982 Paramount
2 Blades of Glory 13,826,386 22,522,330 -38.6 3,467 3 3,988 89,956,404 Paramount
3 Meet the Robinsons 12,467,155 16,715,437 -25.4 3,238 3 3,850 72,367,907 Buena Vista
4 Perfect Stranger 11,206,163 2,661 1 4,211 11,206,163 Sony
5 Are We Done Yet? 8,952,686 14,262,724 -37.2 2,877 2 3,112 32,756,340 Sony
6 Pathfinder 5,001,214 1,721 1 2,906 5,001,214 Fox
7 Wild Hogs 4,676,734 6,644,971 -29.6 2,429 7 1,925 152,280,821 Buena Vista
8 The Reaping 4,567,478 10,025,203 -54.4 2,603 2 1,755 19,765,297 Warner Bros.
9 300 4,454,355 8,368,382 -46.8 2,140 6 2,081 200,965,135 Warner Bros.
10 Grindhouse 4,331,372 11,596,613 -62.6 2,629 2 1,648 19,792,200 Weinstein Co.
11 Redline 3,962,385 1,607 1 2,466 3,962,385 Chicago
12 Shooter 3,095,824 5,856,494 -47.1 1,907 4 1,623 42,092,525 Paramount
13 Firehouse Dog 3,053,855 3,838,916 -20.5 2,881 2 1,060 10,206,420 Fox
14 Aqua Teen Hunger Force 3,005,175 877 1 3,427 3,005,175 First Look
15 TMNT 2,259,322 4,825,445 -53.2 1,855 4 1,218 50,819,085 Warner Bros.
16 The Hoax 1,466,552 1,449,320 1.2 413 2 3,551 3,413,521 Miramax
17 The Namesake 1,244,852 1,715,144 -27.4 331 6 3,761 8,661,334 Fox Searchlight
18 Premonition 1,118,859 3,091,107 -63.8 992 5 1,128 46,836,048 Sony
19 Reign Over Me 822,491 2,448,183 -66.4 990 4 831 19,085,807 Sony
20 Slow Burn 778,123 1,163 1 669 778,123 Lionsgate
Top 5 $ 68,677,372 $ 75,122,307 -8.6
Top 10 91,708,525 104,656,515 -12.4
Top 20 112,515,963 119,221,807 -5.6
Top 20 vs. 2006 112,515,963 115,084,034 -2.2

Last Updated: April 16, 2007 at 7:30PM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.