Weekend Box Office (April 20 - 22, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND In the battle of the single-word-titled thrillers, Fracture beat out Vacancy but neither could dislodge Disturbia from the number one spot. It was mostly a sluggish frame at the North American box office as the top ten slumped to its third worst level of 2007 and failed to top $70M. The courtroom thriller Fracture and the action-comedy Hot Fuzz both opened to respectable results while the horror pic Vacancy and the drama In the Land of Women generated little excitement.

Shia LaBeouf enjoyed his first back-to-back stint in the top spot with the suspense hit Disturbia which held up well in its sophomore frame grossing $13M, according to final studio figures. Off only 42%, the Paramount release of a DreamWorks production averaged a solid $4,315 from 3,015 sites. Teen-oriented thrillers typically fall by more than 50% on the second session. Produced for a mere $23M, Disturbia has grossed an impressive $40.2M in its first ten days and could be headed for a $65-70M finish.

Leading the weekend's crop of new movies was the murder thriller Fracture as ticket buyers spent $11M watching Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling go at it. The R-rated film from New Line averaged a solid $4,509 per theater from 2,443 sites. Reviews were mostly good which helped since the film skewed to a mature adult audience.

Will Ferrell scored the third $100M blockbuster of his career, and second in nine months, with Blades of Glory which ranked third in its fourth weekend with $7.7M. Down 45%, the Paramount title is still the widest release in the marketplace with 3,459 locations and the cume has hit $101M. The comedy star's other trips to the century club in a lead role were with 2003's Elf ($173.4M) and last summer's Talladega Nights ($148M).

Opening weaker than expected in the fourth slot was the horror entry Vacancy with only $7.6M. The R-rated pic about a couple stranded in a motel where videotaped killings take place averaged a mild $2,982 from 2,551 playdates. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale star in the Sony release. Fright fatigue may have hurt Vacancy's opening as the $19M-budgeted film was the fourth scary flick this month to be aimed at moviegoers. Young adults made up most of the audience as studio research showed that 66% of the crowd was under the age of 25 and 52% was female. Disturbia's better-than-expected hold also made an impact.

Disney followed in fifth with the animated hit Meet the Robinsons which grossed $7M in its fourth frame, down 44%, for a total of $82.1M.

Shooting up the best average among all wide releases in the marketplace was the new British action-comedy Hot Fuzz which premiered to $5.8M from 825 theaters for a potent $7,089 per venue. The R-rated buddy cop flick from the creative team behind 2004's cult hit Shaun of the Dead earned glowing reviews and tapped into a built-in audience of fans. Fuzz outgunned Shaun in all ways beating the latter's September 2004 bow which delivered $3.3M from 607 theaters for a $5,487 average. Produced for $16M, Hot Fuzz has already grossed an impressive $48.5M overseas including $41M from the United Kingdom.

The Ice Cube comedy sequel Are We Done Yet? dropped two spots to seventh with $5.2M in its third weekend. Sony's family pic fell 42% and raised its sum to $39.6M.

Close behind in eighth was the new chick flick In the Land of Women which opened poorly with $4.7M from 2,155 theaters. Averaging a weak $2,187 per location, the PG-13 film stars Adam Brody as a young man who meets a houseful of women when caring for his sick grandmother. Women was the fifth wide opener of the past two weeks to fail to reach a $3,000 average in its debut frame.

Rounding out the top ten were two films that that have been showing how differently starpower can affect the box office. The Halle Berry-Bruce Willis thriller Perfect Stranger collapsed in its second weekend and tumbled 63% to $4.1M. With only $18.1M locked up in ten days, Sony should find its way to roughly $25M followed by a quick trip to DVD. On the other hand, Buena Vista's blockbuster comedy Wild Hogs starring Tim Allen and John Travolta remained in the top ten for the eighth consecutive weekend with $2.8M, off 40%, boosting the cume to $156.2M. It is the highest-grossing non-Spartan film of the year.

Four films fell out of the top ten this weekend. The year's biggest smash 300 dropped 49% to $2.3M in its seventh adventure and lifted its staggering domestic total to $204.6M. Budgeted at only $60M, the stylish war epic should end its North American run with an amazing $207-210M. That would amount to nearly three times its opening weekend gross which is rare these days for effects-driven action films that debut with monster bows. 300's legs have been strong overseas too where it has tallied $216.8M for a mammoth global gross of $421M and counting.

Other R-rated films suffered horrendous drops as they tumbled out of the top ten. Losing 63% of its audience was Fox's adventure Pathfinder which grossed $1.9M in its second weekend. The Viking pic has collected a puny $8.2M in ten days and looks headed for a wimpy $10M finish. Maybe casting some Spartans would have helped.

Hilary Swank's horrorfest The Reaping grossed $1.7M, down 64%, boosting the mild cume to $22.7M. The $53M double feature Grindhouse crashed 68% in its third try and took in $1.4M putting its 17-day take at $22.7M as well. Both films should end up in the $25M vicinity.

Miramax expanded its Richard Gere drama The Hoax from 413 to 1,069 theaters but saw weekend sales slip 16% to $1.2M. The average was diluted down to a poor $1,150 as the cume inched up to only $5.1M.

In limited release, Paramount Vantage widened its Molly Shannon pic Year of the Dog from seven to 33 sites and grossed $133,335 for a $4,040 average. Cume sits at $275,138 with more cities being added this Friday. Fox Searchlight's The Namesake collected $755,540 from 327 locations in its seventh weekend averaging $2,310 for a cume of $9.8M to date.

The top ten films grossed $68.9M which was down an unsettling 27% from last year when Silent Hill opened at number one with $20.2M; and off 12% from 2005 when The Interpreter debuted on top with $22.8M.

Compared to projections, Fracture opened very close to my $12M forecast while Vacancy was weaker than my $14M projection. Hot Fuzz was on target with my $6M prediction, but In the Land of Women debuted below my projection of $8M.

For a review of The Reaping visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Next, The Condemned, Kickin' It Old School, and The Invisible all open.

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

# Title Apr 20 - 22 Apr 13 - 15 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Disturbia $ 13,010,778 $ 22,224,982 -41.5 3,015 2 $ 4,315 $ 40,205,142 Paramount
2 Fracture 11,014,657 2,443 1 4,509 11,014,657 New Line
3 Blades of Glory 7,677,569 13,826,386 -44.5 3,459 4 2,220 100,951,439 Paramount
4 Vacancy 7,603,376 2,551 1 2,981 7,603,376 Sony
5 Meet the Robinsons 6,967,089 12,467,155 -44.1 3,003 4 2,320 82,089,959 Buena Vista
6 Hot Fuzz 5,848,464 825 1 7,089 5,848,464 Focus
7 Are We Done Yet? 5,181,426 8,952,686 -42.1 2,944 3 1,760 39,572,201 Sony
8 In the Land of Women 4,712,341 2,155 1 2,187 4,712,341 Warner Bros.
9 Perfect Stranger 4,104,808 11,206,163 -63.4 2,661 2 1,543 18,072,926 Sony
10 Wild Hogs 2,820,440 4,676,734 -39.7 2,001 8 1,410 156,161,335 Buena Vista
11 300 2,252,234 4,454,355 -49.4 1,508 7 1,494 204,644,259 Warner Bros.
12 Pathfinder 1,858,237 5,001,214 -62.8 1,756 2 1,058 8,218,805 Fox
13 The Reaping 1,651,442 4,567,478 -63.8 1,903 3 868 22,747,888 Warner Bros.
14 Grindhouse 1,401,345 4,331,372 -67.6 1,475 3 950 22,716,865 Weinstein Co.
15 Shooter 1,388,566 3,095,824 -55.1 1,164 5 1,193 44,519,491 Paramount
16 Redline 1,306,443 3,962,385 -67.0 1,325 2 986 5,978,776 Chicago
17 The Hoax 1,229,781 1,466,552 -16.1 1,069 2 1,150 5,063,422 Miramax
18 Firehouse Dog 1,023,839 3,053,855 -66.5 1,755 3 583 12,001,649 Fox
19 TMNT 965,401 2,259,322 -57.3 1,125 5 858 52,331,930 Warner Bros.
20 Aqua Teen Hunger Force 854,198 3,005,175 -71.6 877 2 974 4,635,187 First Look
Top 5 $ 46,273,469 $ 68,677,372 -32.6
Top 10 68,940,948 91,708,525 -24.8
Top 20 82,872,434 112,515,963 -26.3
Top 20 vs. 2006 82,872,434 105,338,703 -21.3

Last Updated: April 23, 2007 at 8:00PM ET

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