Weekend Box Office (April 27 - 29, 2007)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Awaiting the arrival of their webslinging hero, North American audiences avoided the multiplexes and held onto their money rejecting the slate of new releases that Hollywood dumped into theaters. That allowed the hit suspense pic Disturbia to retain its number one position for the third consecutive weekend despite the fact that the overall box office tumbled to its worst showing of 2007.

For the third straight weekend, moviegoers made the teen thriller Disturbia the top choice spending $9M on the Paramount release, according to final studio figures. After 17 days, the PG-13 sleeper hit has raked in an impressive $52.1M and could be headed for a $70M final. Produced by DreamWorks for only $23M, Disturbia is the first film to stay on top for back-to-back-to-back frames since Ben Stiller's holiday season smash Night at the Museum. Also, Paramount got to enjoy five straight weeks at number one with the Shia LaBeouf hit which followed on the heels of the two-week reign of Blades of Glory. The last studio to accomplish this feat was Buena Vista in 2004 when The Incredibles claimed the top spot for two weeks followed by a three-week reign for National Treasure.

The best opening among the new releases came from the new supernatural thriller The Invisible which landed in second with $7.7M from 2,019 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,822 per location, the PG-13 chiller about a teen whose spirit must solve his own murder was the fifth scary movie of the month to hit cinemas. Invisible had the least starpower of the four new releases, but used its creepy premise to connect with teens and young adults.

Nicolas Cage suffered his worst action opening since becoming a hero in the genre with his latest offering Next which stumbled into third place with a weak $7.1M debut. The Paramount release, which was expected to top the charts this weekend, averaged a feeble $2,618 from 2,725 theaters. Cage scored a hit earlier this year with the comic book actioner Ghost Rider which has taken in nearly $116M to date, but he couldn't get action fans to make a return trip to the multiplexes with Next which was equally panned by critics. The film about a Las Vegas magician who can see two minutes into the future opened in several international markets as well this weekend and hit the top spot in France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In all markets, Next is trying to grab whatever business it can before Spider-Man 3 makes its global launch this coming week.

The webslinger sequel is poised to shatter records around the world thanks to both intense anticipation and weak competition. The mega-budgeted franchise film will have the domestic marketplace virtually to itself next weekend since there is zero excitement for any other film. Sony has even planned out Spider-Man Week in New York City which kicks off on Monday with the special black carpet premiere in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival with director Sam Raimi and the stars attending. Just like with the first Peter Parker flick from a half-decade ago, Spider-Man 3 is not only kicking off the summer movie season, but it is arriving in a marketplace on life support in desperate need of a hero. The first Spider-Man opened to a then-record $114.8M and accounted for a whopping 77% of all ticket sales in the top ten. The new installment is swinging into an even weaker competitive environment and on more screens which could lead to a more dominant launch.

The Anthony Hopkins-Ryan Gosling thriller Fracture dropped a reasonable 38% in its second weekend to $6.8M. With $21.1M collected in ten days, the New Line release looks to find its way to $35-40M domestically. Blades of Glory, the year's second biggest comedy after Wild Hogs, slipped 33% to fifth place and grossed $5.2M for Paramount. With a budget of just over $60M, the Will Ferrell hit has taken in $108.1M and should skate to a $120M finish.

Focus widened the run of its British action-comedy Hot Fuzz by expanding from 825 to 1,272 sites and grossed $4.9M this weekend for a decent $3,834 average on the sophomore frame. That represented a slim 17% dip in the gross but a steeper 46% drop in the average with the cume rising to $12.6M. The $16M production could conclude its North American run with $21-23M adding to its $49M tally from overseas.

Disney's animated film Meet the Robinsons held up well thanks to no new kids competition and dipped 31% to $4.8M pushing the cume to $88.4M. The year's top-grossing toon looks to end its run a bit north of the $100M mark. The horror flick Vacancy suffered the worst fall in the top ten dropping 46% from its poor debut to $4.1M. Sony's $19M thriller starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale has taken in just $13.8M to date and looks to limp to around $20M overall.

Wrestling fans ignored the new Stone Cold Steve Austin action pic The Condemned which debuted in ninth with a wimpy $3.8M. The R-rated film about ten death row inmates in a contest for survival was dead on arrival averaging a pathetic $1,648 from 2,310 sites for Lionsgate. Rounding out the top ten was Ice Cube's family comedy Are We Done Yet? with $3.5M, off 33%, for a $43.9M sum. Sony should reach about $50M.

Jamie Kennedy's new comedy Kickin' It Old Skool flopped in its first weekend as the Yari Film Group release bowed to $2.5M from 1,816 locations for a miserable $1,399 average. It was a far cry from the actor's 2003 spring comedy Malibu's Most Wanted which debuted to $12.6M on its way to a solid $34.4M. Kickin' was the ninth wide release this year to fail to reach the top ten on opening weekend.

Three films fell out of the top ten this weekend. Sony's underperforming thriller Perfect Stranger dropped 47% to $2.2M putting the cume for the Halle Berry-Bruce Willis suspense pic at $21.6M. A disappointing $25M final seems likely for the star-driven bomb. The Warner Bros. chick flick In the Land of Women has grossed $8.6M in its first ten days which is far from impressive. Look for a $12-14M finish for the Adam Brody clunker.

Buena Vista's runaway smash comedy Wild Hogs finally left the top ten after eight long weeks. Starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy, the PG-13 pic took in $1.8M, off 35%, boosting the total to $158.7M. A final tally of $163-165M seems likely.

The top ten films slumped to $56.9M which was down 34% from last year when RV opened at number one with $16.4M; and down 27% from 2005 when The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy debuted on top with $21.1M.

Compared to projections, The Invisible opened better than my $5M forecast while Next debuted weaker than my $13M prediction. The Condemned and Kickin' It Old Skool both bowed below my respective projections of $6M and $5M.

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Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Spider-Man 3 kicks off the summer movie season with a bang.

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# Title Apr 27 - 29 Apr 20 - 22 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Disturbia $ 9,023,835 $ 13,010,778 -30.6 3,047 3 $ 2,962 $ 52,109,598 Paramount
2 The Invisible 7,717,309 2,019 1 3,822 7,717,309 Buena Vista
3 Next 7,133,049 2,725 1 2,618 7,133,049 Paramount
4 Fracture 6,814,714 11,014,657 -38.1 2,443 2 2,789 21,075,259 New Line
5 Blades of Glory 5,164,364 7,677,569 -32.7 3,056 5 1,690 108,050,741 Paramount
6 Hot Fuzz 4,876,867 5,848,464 -16.6 1,272 2 3,834 12,601,055 Focus
7 Meet the Robinsons 4,840,972 6,967,089 -30.5 2,461 5 1,967 88,354,540 Buena Vista
8 Vacancy 4,112,502 7,606,376 -45.9 2,551 2 1,612 13,780,060 Sony
9 The Condemned 3,807,595 2,310 1 1,648 3,807,595 Lionsgate
10 Are We Done Yet? 3,450,922 5,181,426 -33.4 2,701 4 1,278 43,868,838 Sony
11 In the Land of Women 2,657,425 4,712,341 -43.6 2,155 2 1,233 8,566,083 Warner Bros.
12 Kickin' It Old Skool 2,541,419 1,816 1 1,399 2,541,419 Yari
13 Perfect Stranger 2,172,323 4,104,808 -47.1 2,197 3 989 21,590,618 Sony
14 Wild Hogs 1,840,994 2,820,440 -34.7 1,602 9 1,149 158,723,493 Buena Vista
15 300 1,387,466 2,252,234 -38.4 1,005 8 1,381 206,897,885 Warner Bros.
16 The Hoax 760,550 1,229,781 -38.2 981 3 775 6,228,666 Miramax
17 Shooter 751,524 1,388,566 -45.9 718 6 1,047 45,787,043 Paramount
18 The Namesake 721,024 755,540 -4.6 320 8 2,253 10,771,198 Fox Searchlight
19 The Reaping 712,294 1,651,442 -56.9 933 4 763 24,064,624 Warner Bros.
20 Grindhouse 576,130 1,401,345 -58.9 618 4 932 23,887,068 Weinstein Co.
Top 5 $ 35,853,271 $ 46,273,469 -22.5
Top 10 56,942,129 68,940,948 -17.4
Top 20 71,063,278 82,872,434 -14.2
Top 20 vs. 2006 71,063,278 98,361,984 -27.8

Last Updated: May 1, 2007 at 1:30AM ET

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