Weekend Box Office (April 21 - 23, 2006)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Horror reclaimed the box office crown in North America as Silent Hill debuted at number one playing to a young adult audience. Older adults flocked to the Michael Douglas actioner The Sentinel which opened in third place while the satire American Dreamz was booed off stage in its arrival. Most holdovers stayed strong as the overall marketplace remained well ahead of last year's levels. Ticket sales are usually soft in April, but this month is turning out to be one of the best ever on record which bodes well for the start of the summer movie season which is just around the corner.

Sony scored its industry-leading fourth number one of the year with Silent Hill which topped the charts with $20.2M this weekend, according to final studio figures. Based on the popular video game, the R-rated horror pic averaged a strong $6,887 from 2,926 theaters. In Hill, Radha Mitchell stars as a woman in search of her missing daughter in a creepy town full of mysterious creatures. According to studio data, the audience skewed towards young men which is understandable given the type of film. Males made up 55% of the crowd while two-thirds were under 25.

After a sensational opening weekend, Scary Movie 4 crumbled 58% in its sophomore scare and settled for second place with $16.8M. After ten days, The Weinstein Co. release has taken in a stellar $67.5M. Although the decline was heavy, it was identical to the fall that Scary Movie 3 saw in Ocrober 2003 in its second weekend. That film absorbed 70% of its $110M total in its first ten days. Scary 4 should play out in similar fashion which would put it on course to reach $95-100M.

Michael Douglas captured the number three spot for the weekend with the opening of his new political thriller The Sentinel which bowed to $14.4M. The PG-13 film about a Secret Service agent who is wrongfully framed and deemed a traitor infiltrated 2,819 theaters and averaged a solid $5,091 per location. Keifer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, and Kim Basinger co-star. According to Fox, the audience was 52% female and 72% were of age 30 or older.

With no new kidpics opening this weekend, existing family films all witnessed healthy holds. The year's top grossing film Ice Age: The Meltdown dropped 34% in its second weekend to $13.3M and pushed its cume to $168.3M for Fox. Disney's rival toon The Wild eased a scant 14% in its second weekend grossing $8.3M. After ten days, the G-rated film has grossed $22.2M.

The sports comedy The Benchwarmers slipped 27% to $7.3M giving Sony a solid $47.1M in 17 days. The Antonio Banderas dance drama Take the Lead fell 38% to $4.2M and put its total at $29.5M. Collecting $3.7M for Universal was the Denzel Washington-Jodie Foster thriller Inside Man which dropped 42% for a cume to date of $81.3M.

Opening poorly in ninth place was the new satirical comedy American Dreamz with $3.7M from 1,500 theaters. The Universal release averaged a dismal $2,445. Reviews were mixed for the PG-13 film which starred Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid and Mandy Moore. Studio data showed that 62% of the audience was female and 51% was under the age of 30. The production budget was $17M. Dreamz also opened in the U.K. this weekend landing in the fourth spot with $1.3M from 354 sites.

Rounding out the top ten was Jennifer Aniston's indie film Friends With Money which expanded nationally from 42 to 991 theaters grossing $3.2M. After two weeks of muscular averages, Sony Classics saw its per-theater figure slump to a mild $3,208. Cume stands at $5M.

Four films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Indie hit Thank You For Smoking grossed $2.8M, off 38%, pushing its cume to $15.8M. The Fox Searchlight release might find its way to about $24M. The MGM actioner Lucky Number Slevin took in $2.5M, down 48%, giving MGM just $18.7M to date. Look for the Josh Hartnett pic to stumble to just $24M.

Paramount's hit date movie Failure to Launch dropped 46% to $1.4M and raised its tally to $85.6M. The Matthew McConaughey flick joins The Pink Panther and Eight Below as the only new releases to spend six weeks in the top ten this year. A $88-90M final is likely. Warner Bros. has grossed $68M with its sci-fi action title V For Vendetta and should complete its run with around $70M.

The top ten films grossed $95M which was up 22% from last year when The Interpreter opened at number one with $22.8M; and up 20% from 2004 when Man on Fire debuted in the top spot with $22.8M as well.

Compared to projections, both Silent Hill and The Sentinel opened very close to my respective forecasts of $19M and $13M. American Dreamz failed to reach my $8M prediction.

For a NEW review of Water visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when United 93, Akeelah and the Bee, RV, and Stick It all open.

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

# Title Apr 21 - 23 Apr 14 - 16 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Silent Hill $ 20,152,598 2,926 1 $ 6,887 $ 20,152,598 Sony
2 Scary Movie 4 16,814,942 40,222,875 -58.2 3,673 2 4,578 67,478,181 Weinstein Co.
3 The Sentinel 14,367,854 2,822 1 5,091 14,367,854 Fox
4 Ice Age: The Meltdown 13,284,408 20,026,625 -33.7 3,540 4 3,753 168,348,135 Fox
5 The Wild 8,332,068 9,684,809 -14.0 2,854 2 2,919 22,240,635 Buena Vista
6 The Benchwarmers 7,256,143 9,913,291 -26.8 3,094 3 2,345 47,101,418 Sony
7 Take the Lead 4,176,517 6,783,697 -38.4 2,413 3 1,731 29,482,613 New Line
8 Inside Man 3,748,955 6,427,815 -41.7 2,021 5 1,855 81,313,510 Universal
9 American Dreamz 3,667,420 1,500 1 2,445 3,667,420 Universal
10 Friends With Money 3,179,025 739,656 329.8 991 3 3,208 4,960,765 Sony Classics
11 Thank You for Smoking 2,780,969 4,491,102 -38.1 1,020 6 2,726 15,781,403 Fox Searchlight
12 Lucky Number Slevin 2,475,903 4,752,800 -47.9 1,735 3 1,427 18,674,953 MGM
13 Failure to Launch 1,410,982 2,608,433 -45.9 1,295 7 1,090 85,604,643 Paramount
14 V for Vendetta 1,049,273 2,224,266 -52.8 855 6 1,227 68,002,102 Warner Bros.
15 La Mujer De Mi Hermano 567,671 1,018,750 -44.3 217 2 2,616 1,902,664 Lionsgate
16 Phat Girlz 493,120 1,340,864 -63.2 444 3 1,111 6,358,003 Fox Searchlight
17 ATL 476,395 1,415,291 -66.3 602 4 791 20,694,837 Warner Bros.
18 She's the Man 413,640 930,016 -55.5 440 6 940 32,694,175 DreamWorks
19 Deep Sea 3-D 386,002 394,583 -2.2 45 8 8,578 6,765,608 Warner Bros.
20 Eight Below 304,818 180,575 68.8 432 10 706 80,587,787 Buena Vista
Top 5 $ 72,951,870 $ 86,631,297 -15.8
Top 10 94,979,930 107,135,713 -11.3
Top 20 105,338,703 115,084,034 -8.5
Top 20 vs. 2005 105,338,703 88,383,478 19.2

Last Updated : April 24, 2006 at 8:00PM EDT