Four new releases take a gamble debuting in theaters across North America hoping to hit the jackpot with audiences. The blackjack drama 21 and the spoof comedy Superhero Movie lead the way and will try their best to reach the number one spot. Other choices for ticket buyers include the soldier drama Stop-Loss and the marathon comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run in what should be another down weekend for the industry.

Kevin Spacey leads a team of math wizards from M.I.T. to a life of card-counting riches in Las Vegas in the new Sony pic 21. The PG-13 flick stars Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne and is based on a true story. Teens and young adults will be the target audience here as well as card sharks everywhere. The marketing has been slick and even though the film is not all that high on starpower, the subject matter and the look should help it connect with audiences. The studio has given 21 a big push and it should play as something new for young adults to get excited about instead of the same tired old formula. Competition will be a factor though, given that some of the other new flicks will appeal to the same age range. Opening in more than 2,500 locations, 21 could debut with about $15M.


Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess in 21

The spoof comedy, the movie staple that won’t go away, returns again with the new film Superhero Movie from MGM and The Weinstein Company. Rated PG-13, the pic lampoons several comic book flicks like Spider-Man and Fantastic Four and will target teens and young adults looking for immature fun. Meet the Spartans proved in January that the genre still makes money thanks to its $18.5M top spot bow. However, Superhero does not look as funny as some of the recent spoof hits as commercials are lacking in the joke department. Plus it lacks the special touch that Fox gives to these kinds of films to steer them to solid debuts. Flying into 2,700 theaters, Superhero Movie could capture about $14M this weekend.


Drake Bell in Superhero Movie

The frame’s sole R-rated title is also the best-reviewed film of the lot. Paramount’s Stop-Loss stars Ryan Phillippe as a decorated soldier home from Iraq who tries to reclaim his former life in his small Texas hometown. Channing Tatum and Abbie Cornish co-star giving the film some star wattage with teens and young adults. And good marks from critics can’t hurt. But the rating could cut into some of the sales from younger teens and subject matter remotely related to conflicts in the Middle East have driven audiences away time and time again. The studio and producer MTV Films have downplayed the war element and instead wisely focused on the young hip stars. Competition will come mostly from 21 and Superhero Movie which will play to many of the same folks and carry a more commercially viable PG-13. Landing in roughly 1,200 sites, Stop-Loss could take in about $6M this weekend.


Channing Tatum and Ryan Phillippe in Stop-Loss

An overweight man fights for his true love in the new comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run which arrives in the fewest theaters of any new release. The PG-13 film stars Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead fame and could tap into his cult fan base in the U.S. which grew bigger after last year’s Hot Fuzz. Unfortunately that audience is not large enough to command big numbers at the turnstiles. Picturehouse’s sneak previews last weekend helped to circulate some buzz but most other major films have more. Mixed reviews won’t do much to spark a frenzy either. Running low on starpower, hype, and theaters, Run, Fat Boy, Run could debut to the tune of around $4M from 1,050 locations this weekend.


Hank Azaria and Simon Pegg in Run, Fat Boy, Run

Horton Hears A Who will try to become the first film of the year to threepeat atop the box office charts but will have to fend off the advances of a couple of potential new hits. Luckily the Fox toon has no direct competition for its family audience so its decline should be less than last weekend’s. A 40% drop would give the Dr. Seuss pic around $15M over three days and boost the overall tally to $114M.

Tyler Perry will see a sizable fall for his latest venture Meet the Browns since his loyal audience shows up in big numbers on the first weekend. Look for Lionsgate to lose half of its sales and bank around $10 for a ten-day total of $35M.

Fellow sophomores Shutter and Drillbit Taylor should fall hard too. The weekend could result in a 55% fall for the Fox thriller to $4.5M and 50% decline for the Paramount comedy to $5M. Totals would rise to about $19M a piece.

LAST YEAR: Two new comedies posted strong debuts to end the first quarter with a bang. Will Ferrell‘s figure skating pic Blades of Glory opened at number one with a solid $33M for Paramount. After spending two weeks on top, the sports comedy went on to score $118.6M domestically. Disney’s animated film Meet the Robinsons snagged second place with $25.1M on its way to $97.8M. The stylish actioner 300 placed third with $11.4M for Warner Bros. and was followed by the studio’s kidpic TMNT with $9.2M and Disney’s biker comedy Wild Hogs with $8.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

March Madness hits the North American box office as three new releases hit the multiplexes hoping to take down the reigning Dr. Suess toon. Tyler Perry returns with his latest comedic drama Meet the Browns, Owen Wilson makes a return of his own in the comedy Drillbit Taylor, and Joshua Jackson jets off to Japan for his horror flick Shutter. The Good Friday holiday will help boost weekend numbers since the majority of students and many adults have the day off. But the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament will keep many male moviegoers and sports fans glued to their flat-screens watching the endless string of games all day everyday over the weekend. Fox meanwhile will try to repeat at number one with its animated hit Horton Hears A Who which could become the top-grossing film of 2008 after only ten days.

Shooting for his fourth $20M+ opener, filmmaker Tyler Perry goes hunting for elephants at the box office with his latest work Meet the Browns. The PG-13 pic stars Angela Bassett as a Chicago single mother down on her luck who travels down to Georgia after the death of her father to meet the family she never knew. Starpower will come primarily from Bassett and from Perry himself who in addition to writing and directing brings the wildly popular Madea character back to the big screen after a two-year absence. The role is small but the marketing has made it known that the outlandish law-breaking matriarch is back for some laughs. Former basketball star Rick Fox also has a major role and could be useful in drawing hoops fans.

Perry has been a dependable box office sensation for over three years now drawing in sizable African American moviegoers with stories that skew a bit female. There’s no reason to believe that Browns will fail to reach the heights of his last film Why Did I Get Married? which opened to $21.4M in October. Good Friday and Easter should help boost the numbers too. Hollywood routinely underestimates Perry’s power so expect a sizzling average here. Hitting his top debut, $30M for Madea’s Family Reunion, may not be in the works, but a strong second place showing is a virtual guarantee. Lionsgate will open Meet the Browns in 2,006 theaters and may find itself with around $23M this weekend.


Rick Fox and Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns

Owen Wilson takes up the title role of Paramount’s new high school comedy Drillbit Taylor playing a homeless soldier of fortune who takes an assignment to protect a trio of teenage nerds. The actor’s biggest commercial hits have come from pairings with other big-name actors like Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Here he flies solo as the only star and historically that that has led to small grosses. Younger teens will make up the primary crowd so the PG-13 rating may give pause to parents of kids in the high single digits. A slight male skew is also likely. There’s ample competition so a large debut is not likely, plus Wilson’s main draw comes with adults not twelve-year-olds. The Friday holiday will get things started well, but word-of-mouth will have to take it the rest of the way. Reviews have not been too bright and March Madness will take many boys out of the picture this weekend. Debuting in about 2,700 theaters, Drillbit Taylor could punch up about $12M this weekend.


Owen Wilson in Drillbit Taylor

Another spooky Asian fright film gets the photocopy treatment by the idea-starved American horror industry in Fox’s Shutter. The PG-13 chiller stars Joshua Jackson as a photographer who discovers creepy images of a dead woman in his snapshots. The insatiable horror audience is the target here and the rating will make sure that younger teens up for a scare will be able to buy a ticket. Jackson is far removed from his Dawson’s Creek days and lacks the drawing power he once had. Plus the studio’s marketing push has not been very forceful so awareness is low. Don’t look for this one to open like The Eye or One Missed Call which both bowed in the $12-13M range. The only factors working for it are the 85 minute running time and the fact that there have been no horror films released since the Jessica Alba‘s thriller from the first weekend of February. Snapping into around 2,700 locations, Shutter could gross about $8M this weekend.


Shutter

Fox has no intentions of giving up its hold on the number one spot. The studio’s Seuss hit Horton Hears A Who looks unlikely to be defeated by the newcomers and should take advantage of the Good Friday school holiday to post a better-than-usual sophomore hold. Ice Age dropped by 35% in its second frame in 2002 while its Fox sibling Robots fell by 42% in 2005. Both were March openers but neither had the Easter holiday helping the sophomore session. The well-liked Horton might drop by 30% to about $31M and boost its ten-day total to a robust $91M.

10,000 BC should stabilize after its 53% plunge last weekend. A fall of 45% seems likely giving Warner Bros. $9M for the weekend and $76M after 17 days. A similar decline could await Never Back Down putting it at $4.5M for a ten-day sum of $16M for Summit. Martin Lawrence hasn’t exactly been setting the box office on fire with his latest comedy College Road Trip. The Disney title might drop by 30% to roughly $5.5M and lift its cume to $33M.

LAST YEAR: A six-pack of new releases cleaned house in the top ten led by the animated actioner TMNT which still had turtle power with a $24.3M debut. Warner Bros. went on to bank $54.1M with the toon which had weak legs. The studio followed in second with its Spartan blockbuster 300 which collected $19.9M in its third fight. Modern-day action was at the center of Mark Wahlberg‘s Shooter which opened in third with $14.5M on its way to a solid $47M for Paramount. Disney’s Wild Hogs followed with $13.9M. New Line’s The Last Mimzy bowed in fifth with $10M while the horror sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted close behind with $9.7M. Final grosses reached $21.5M and $20.8M, respectively. Adam Sandler‘s dramatic turn in Reign Over Me led to a $7.5M launch before a $19.7M finish. Lionsgate suffered the worst opening among the new titles with just $3.5M for the swimming drama Pride which ended with a $7.1M take.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Three new releases roll into multiplexes across North America – one the size of an elephant, the others like specks of dust. Fox aims to deliver the largest opening weekend of the year so far with its animated family event film Horton Hears A Who which could very well triple the gross of its nearest competitor. Summit counters with its action title Never Back Down while Universal also targets young men with its horror flick Doomsday. Overall, the marketplace looks to bounce back and even stands a chance of beating year-ago figures for the first time in a month.

Almighty pals Jim Carrey and Steve Carell play nice this time in the first-ever animated feature version of a Dr. Seuss tale in Horton Hears A Who which goes into
saturation release on Friday. The G-rated pic tells of a playful elephant that discovers an entire city living on a tiny speck on a flower, but can’t convince others of its
existence. Fox has a mighty big hit on its hands for a number of reasons. The property is from an author that all generations are familiar with so parents and kids
alike can relate. The marketplace has very few viable options for children at the moment. Plus starpower from the two leads makes this a comedy juggernaut that
will allow the film to go beyond its core family audience and tap into business from teens and young adults too.

With one of the sharpest marketing departments around, Fox has the means to mine riches from this surefire spring blockbuster. Who else could propel lame
kidpics like Night at the Museum and Alvin and the Chipmunks to $200M+ megahit status over consecutive holiday seasons? The studio has used March as a
launching pad for its animated offerings from Blue Sky Studios allowing the films to steer clear of summer and holiday hits from Pixar and DreamWorks. In 2002,
Ice Age surprised everyone with its $46.3M debut. Three years later its Robots opened to $36M while the 2006 sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown bowed to a
mammoth $68M. Forgotten are the days of Titan A.E. Horton Hears A Who is destined to join its March brothers on the hit list.

The key to grosses skyrocketing lies in the interest of teens. Will they look at this as a Carrey-Carell dream team laugh-a-thon and line up? Chances are many will,
especially with no other major comedies doing substantial business. Appeal is broad with males and females of all ages opening their wallets. Sure it’s not as funny
as you’d hope given the two big C’s involved, but moviegoers will eat it up nonetheless. Plus with Good Friday and Easter helping the second weekend, long-term
prospects seem rosy too. Debuting ultrawide in over 3,900 theaters, Horton Hears A Who could collect about $50M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Seth Rogen and Jim Carrey (voices, that is) in Horton Hears a Who

Rookie distrib Summit Entertainment kicks into high gear with its fighting extravaganza Never Back Down which hopes to connect with the Mountain Dew crowd
looking for extreme action. The PG-13 flick stars relative unknowns Sean Faris and Amber Heard with Djimon Hounsou cast as the only star name. Action comes
from a high schooler’s discovery of the world of Mixed Martial Arts with the film playing as a hybrid of Fight Club and The Karate Kid. With little starpower and
a generic premise, Never will struggle to post strong box office numbers on opening weekend. Plus Doomsday will be stealing away some of the target audience
of young males. The two films really should not be opening head to head since neither is strong enough to stand on its own two feet in the first place. Summit gets
credit for at least trying with a marketing push that goes beyond what a pic with such little star wattage deserves. Never Back Down punches its way into 2,729
locations on Friday and could bag around $6M over three days.


Sean Faris in Never Back Down

Another killer virus film attacks the multiplexes, this time the British thriller Doomsday from Universal. The R-rated fright flick marks one of the studio’s few films to
not be screened for the press ahead of time and instead will rely on marketing to find its audience. Young men and genre aficionados should make up the primary
crowd here and they won’t be easy to reach. Besides the debut of Never Back Down, 10,000 BC is also in the marketplace playing to a good chunk of this
audience. Overall, the promotional push has not been too strong and awareness levels are not high, especially outside of the target demo. Infecting 1,935 theaters,
Doomsday looks to debut with about $5M this weekend before making a swift jump to that shiny disc.


The riotous revelry of Doomsday

After a sturdy debut, the prehistoric adventure 10,000 BC should suffer a sizable drop thanks to negative word-of-mouth. Direct competition from new releases
won’t be too much of a factor, but bad buzz will scare away prospective second weekend patrons. Look for a 55% decline which would give Warner Bros. about
$16M for the frame and $61M in ten days. The caveman pic will continue to dominate the overseas box office thanks to debuts this weekend in lucrative markets
like France, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Disney’s College Road Trip will take a direct hit from Horton this weekend as the family crowd will have a much bigger film to rally behind. A 40% drop would
put the Martin LawrenceRaven-Symone comedy at $8M for a ten-day cume of $25M.

Audiences have been receptive to the presidential assassination storyline of Vantage Point which could drop another 40% to $4.5M this weekend for a cume of
$58M for Sony. Lionsgate’s The Bank Job probably saw the bulk of Jason Statham fans rush out on opening weekend so a 45% fall would give the heist thriller
$3M and $11M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: New releases were no match for the top two films in North America which remained on top of the charts. The mammoth Spartan smash 300 tumbled 54% in its second weekend but still posted a hefty $32.9M sophomore tally. The Disney comedy Wild Hogs showed good legs dipping 31% and ranked second with $19.1M in its third lap. Faring best among the freshmen, Sandra Bullock‘s supernatural thriller Premonition opened in third with $17.6M for Sony on its way to a solid $47.9M. Rounding out the top five were fellow newcomers Dead Silence with a moderate $7.8M and Chris Rock‘s I Think I Love My Wife with a disappointing $5.7M. Final grosses reached $16.8M for the Universal pic and $12.6M for the Fox Searchlight laugher.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

For its third chart-topper of the year, Warner Bros. is going back in time with its ancient adventure 10,000 BC which aims to revitalize a box office on the verge of extinction. Adding to the mix are Disney’s family comedy College Road Trip and the Lionsgate actioner The Bank Job. With ticket sales hitting a three-month low last weekend, the marketplace has nowhere to go but up.

Roland Emmerich follows up his past blockbusters Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow with the action adventure tale 10,000 BC which looks to dominate the box office with ease. Boasting no major stars, the PG-13 film tells the story of a group of prehistoric tribesmen (who happen to speak perfect English) on a treacherous journey to save their kidnapped friends. Warner Bros. has tossed plenty of marketing dollars behind its big-budget offering as it does every spring with an action title not big enough to beat the summer behemoths.

Given the generic story and historical inaccuracies, look for big drops in the weeks ahead. But the opening weekend should be strong for a few reasons. A solid promotional push promises audiences a huge spectacle on the big screen that is worth paying to see. Plus the marketplace has nothing else exciting, especially for teens and young adults, so that key box office demo will show up in large numbers. The studio will be thrilled if the per-theater average can match the film’s title. Attacking 3,410 locations, 10,000 BC may debut with around $32M this weekend.


The main protagonists of 10,000 B.C.

Having completed successful kidpic makeovers for Vin Diesel and The Rock, the Disney machine now turns its attention to Martin Lawrence who stars in his first G-rated flick ever – College Road Trip. The family comedy co-stars former Cosby kid Raven Symone, who also serves as a producer, playing the teenage daughter looking at prospective colleges to attend. The Mouse House has a patented formula when it comes to manufacturing and marketing family content like this. Lawrence and Symone will draw upon two different audience groups to attract sales and the Disney brand name will add extra glow. There is very little competition for this crowd right now so Trip should hit its mark. The opening may not reach the $30.6M of The Pacifier or the $23M of The Game Plan, nor will it be a top spot bow like those two, but a solid debut is assured. Driving into 2,706 theaters, College Road Trip could collect roughly $18M this weekend.


One of the many hijinks in College Road Trip.

Action fans not interested in the era Before Christ can get their kicks from Jason Statham‘s latest pic The Bank Job. The R-rated heist thriller should play exclusively to the actor’s action fans, but don’t expect this one to be among his top-grossing titles. The marketing push has not been as loud as those for his recent film War or his Transporter vehicles plus a more narrow release is planned. Crossover appeal beyond his core base is unlikely. A sack full of about $6M from 1,603 vaults seems likely for The Bank Job this weekend.


Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows in The Bank Job.

Last weekend’s top player Semi-Pro will face some direct competition for young men from the new caveman flick. Look for a 45% drop to about $8M for the New Line release giving the Will Ferrell comedy $27M in ten days.

Vantage Point posted a respectable sophomore session and could stabilize in the third outing. Sony may dip by 40% to around $7.5M for a cume of $51M after 17 days. Paramount’s The Spiderwick Chronicles will finally face off against another offering for families thanks to Disney and Martin. A 35% decline would leave the fantasy pic with $5.5M for the session and lift the total to $62M.

LAST YEAR: Shattering records left and right, the Spartan sensation 300 exploded on the scene to a colossal opening of $70.9M. Warner Bros. hauled in a mammoth $210.6M from North America and a towering $456M worldwide. Far back in second but with a solid hold was the comedy Wild Hogs with $27.6M. The dynamic duo combined for nearly $100M in ticket sales over the weekend making it a summer-like frame. Three holdovers rounded out the top five with nearly identical figures. Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia captured $6.8M, Sony’s Ghost Rider took in $6.7M, and Zodiac grossed $6.6M for Paramount.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A triumvirate of films opens this weekend, but all will bow to the power of the mighty Will Ferrell and his latest outrageous comedy, Semi-Pro.

Will Ferrell storms the box office this weekend with his latest sports comedy, Semi-Pro. This time the funnyman takes on the world of professional basketball, following in the footsteps of 2007’s figure skating pic Blades of Glory and 2006’s racing flick Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. There is no question this kind of film is directly in Ferrell’s wheelhouse so he should slam another one out of the park – sorry, let me try that again… so this weekend should be a slam dunk for him.

Almost exactly a year ago, Blades of Glory opened with $33M on its way to a $118.5M final gross. In August of 2006, Talladega Nights opened with $47M on its way to $148M. The major differences between those two films and Semi-Pro is that the previous two were rated PG-13 while Semi-Pro has landed an R rating, and that people may be tiring of seeing Ferrell doing the same shtick over and over again. The rating will keep some of the young folks who dig Ferrell’s irreverent comedy, away from theaters. The shtick may keep some viewers away, but the fans will come out in droves and it shouldn’t hurt the overall grosses too much, as the film is the only major player in town. Opening on over 3,000 screens, Semi-Pro could gross $35M this weekend.


Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro.

Two other smaller films, both headlined by women, also open this weekend. First is The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. The film finds the two playing sisters, both trying to win the heart of the King of England. While both are critical darlings (and have a countless number of male fans), neither one is considered a big box office draw. Johansson’s biggest opening weekend (for a live action film) was 1998’s The Horse Whisperer, which opened to $13.6M. Portman of course starred in three episodes of the Star Wars saga, but if you exclude those films, her highest opening weekend was $25.6M for V for Vendetta back in March of 2006. That sounds reasonably impressive until you realize her next highest opening weekend for a film in which she had a leading role was last winter with Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium which opened with $9.6M.

The Other Boleyn Girl will likely cater to an audience of older women, although the joint star power of Johansson and Portman could bring in a somewhat younger crowd, as will Eric Bana who plays the aforementioned King. However the film opens on only about 1,000 screens and will likely get lost in the shuffle. While the film isn’t a romantic comedy and in fact has a twisted and scandalous storyline, there are no less than three romantic comedies still in the marketplace all of which cater to the same demographic. Look for The Other Boleyn Girl to open with around $5M.


The Boleyn girl and the other Boleyn girl.

The final new release this weekend is the long awaited Penelope starring Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon and James McAvoy. The movie tells the tale of a woman who is forced to hide a family curse which will only be lifted if she can find true love. The film has aspects of science-fiction and fantasy which makes it a little different than the other romantic comedies out right now, but even with Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon’s name attached, the film will most likely get buried. Opening on around 1,200 screens, look for Penelope to gross around $4M this weekend.


Christina Ricci as Penelope.

Last weekend’s champ Vantage Point will likely lose business to the Ferrell juggernaut, but should still have a reasonable hold this weekend. Look for the ensemble political thriller to fall around 40% to around $14M.

LAST YEAR: Disney jumped all over the box office with the smash Wild Hogs, which grossed $39.7M making it the largest opening in March history for a live-action film (until the following weekend when 300 shattered the mark). The critically acclaimed Zodiac debuted in second place with $13.4M. Two-time champ Ghost Rider grossed $11.6M, while a second Disney film, Bridge to Terabithia made $8.9M. Jim Carrey‘s crossover into horror, The Number 23, crashed 56% and collected $6.5M in its second weekend.

After two weeks of rule by Jodie and Milla, the boys come charging back in what could be a fierce fight for the number one spot. Jamie Foxx heads up the Middle East political thriller The Kingdom while The Rock targets a kinder and gentler audience with his family comedy The Game Plan. With little to no overlap in customers, both films should have room to breathe. Also debuting but in a moderate national release is the Morgan Freeman pic Feast of Love.

After scoring four consecutive $100M grossers this summer, Universal aims for another trip to the number one spot with its new military drama The Kingdom. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx leads the cast playing an agent with the FBI that assembles a talented team of experts to go to Saudi Arabia against government orders to investigate a suicide bomber’s attack against Americans. Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, and Jeremy Piven co-star in the R-rated pic. The studio is hoping to reconnect with the same audience that powered its 2005 Iraq War drama Jarhead to a strong $27.7M bow. It’s even used Kanye West‘s music in its advertising just as it did two years ago.

The Kingdom is part of a handful of fall flicks to deal with political issues in the Middle East. As one of the first ones out of the gate, it may not suffer from the backlash against this genre that may eventually be created. Marketed as a revenge picture featuring Americans fighting back against those who wronged us, the Peter Berg-directed film should tap into a certain segment of the audience that will find comfort in this type of fare. But competition for adults will be a factor especially considering how seven of the top eight films last weekend were rated R. Reviews have been mixed, however starpower is ample which should compensate. Infiltrating more than 2,700 theaters, The Kingdom might open with approximately $19M this weekend.


Jamie Foxx and co. in The Kingdom.

A superstar quarterback’s life is thrown into disarray when he meets the daughter he never knew he had in Disney’s The Game Plan starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The PG-rated entry enters multiplexes in the early weeks of the football season and at a time when there are zero options for families meaning the timing could not be better. The concept should sell to moms, dads, and kids alike. Plus, the studio found great success with this format two years ago when it put muscular action star Vin Diesel into the family comedy The Pacifier and drove $30.6M worth of business into theaters on opening weekend.

Of course Diesel, Ice Cube, and other macho men have been showing their softer side in kidpics lately so the idea is not totally new. The studio’s sneak previews last weekend helped to get more buzz out there with the target demo and with the lack of direct competition, Game Plan should have smooth sailing with parents and children. The marketing push has been effective as Disney has proven with films like Wild Hogs that it can sell just about any type of star-driven comedy to the public. Charging into about 2,800 locations, The Game Plan could grab around $17M this weekend.


The Rock stars in The Game Plan.

Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, and Selma Blair star in the new drama Feast of Love which quietly enters the marketplace on Friday as the frame’s third new wide opener. Directed by Robert Benton, the R-rated collection of intertwining stories set in Oregon will play exclusively to a mature adult audience. MGM has not been pushing the film too much and the release is not very wide so the film’s potential is limited. Women should outnumber men by a small margin. Landing in about 1,200 sites, a $2M debut could result.


Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear in Feast of Love.

The Tommy Lee Jones drama In the Valley of Elah will expand to roughly 700 theaters nationwide on Friday as it enters its third weekend of release and will try to pop into the top ten. The Paul Haggis-directed pic got off to a solid start by platforming in nine theaters to a $14,840 average. However, things slowed down considerably last weekend during its expansion to 317 playdates which eroded its average down to $3,996. The Warner Independent title struggled as it moved into more major markets and this weekend should see its average get diluted further. A weekend tally of about $2M seems likely.


Tommy Lee Jones in Elah.

A mighty tumble awaits current box office champ Resident Evil: Extinction which is coming off of the biggest bow in the series. The first two Evil pics each suffered a steep 62% drop in the second weekend. A similar drop should result for this third chapter giving Extinction about $9.5M for the frame and $38M in ten days.

The Dane CookJessica Alba comedy Good Luck Chuck is also following up on a solid debut. Most of the fans of the actors probably came out upfront so a 50% fall to around $7M seems likely. That would give Lionsgate a ten-day cume of $24M.

LAST YEAR Sony topped the charts with its animated offering Open Season which debuted to an impressive $23.6M on its way to $85.1M. Ashton Kutcher voiced the number one film and starred on-screen opposite Kevin Costner in the second place pic The Guardian which opened to $18M. the Buena Vista release went on to collect $55M. Jackass: Number Two fell two spots to third with $14.6M losing half of it audience. Launching in fourth was the Billy Bob Thornton comedy School for Scoundrels with $8.6M for MGM on its way to $17.8M. Jet Li‘s Fearless rounded out the top five with $5M for Focus.

Everyone was shocked when "Wild Hogs" became one of the biggest hits of all four stars’ careers. It made so much money that it seems like they’d have to make "Wild Hogs 2," but John Travolta may be the hold out.

"Well, they’ve asked about it but we’ll see," he said. "They want us to do it but I don’t know."

The only sequels Travolta has made are "Staying Alive," "Be Cool" and "Look Who’s Talking Too" and "Now". In general, he’s not so hot about doing the same thing twice, no matter the payday.

"Sequels, I have to play that card when it comes, see how good it is and all that. I have to do new things."

Call it the weekend of the actor/producer. Three new films with stars that do double duty behind the scenes (or have good agents that can snag a free credit) enter a marketplace filled with big-budget tentpole pics quickly eroding away.

Seth Rogen headlines and executive produces the new comedy "Knocked Up," Kevin Costner stars and produces the crime thriller "Mr. Brooks," and Elisabeth Shue acts in and co-produces the sports drama "Gracie." Following an explosive May at the box office, the first weekend of June should see ticket sales calm down a bit before George and Brad usher in the next big wave of sequels.

For adult moviegoers sick of pirates, ogres, and webslingers, Universal has the answer – the raunchy romantic comedy "Knocked Up." The R-rated film from Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") stars Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a stoner loser and a just-promoted entertainment newswoman, respectively, who share a one night stand which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Older teens, young adults, and couples make up the target audience here and the studio is hoping to bring back the same folks that opened "Virgin" to $21.4M on its way to a stellar $109.3M (five times its debut) two summers ago.

With mindless popcorn sequels dominating the marquees for the past month, "Knocked Up" brings a breath of fresh air into the multiplexes. Moviegoers looking for new characters and new situations will be pleased. The marketing push has been strong but television spots are not too funny, mostly because the bulk of the humor is too racy to feature on broadcast television. But when opening weekend audiences find out how much funnier the actual film is compared to the trailer and commercials, red hot word-of-mouth will keep the pic playing week after week.

The public’s appetite for studio comedies has been healthy over the last six months with "Wild Hogs," "Night at the Museum," "Blades of Glory," and "Norbit" selling an amazing $626M worth of ticket stubs combined. "Hogs" even popped back into the top ten last weekend in its thirteenth session signaling the hunger in the marketplace right now for something good that will make people laugh. Universal enjoys going after adults on the weekend after Memorial Day. In 2005 it debuted the serious Russell CroweRenee Zellweger boxing pic "Cinderella Man" to $18.3M while last year the studio exceeded expectations with the $39.2M bow of the date flick "The Break-Up." "Knocked Up" should play to much of the same audience as the Jennifer Aniston film, although with less starpower and no tabloid gossip about the star’s personal lives, the grosses won’t soar as high.

Critics have been praising "Knocked Up" and its strong cross-gender appeal will make it a hit with the date crowd. A unique concept and a great title will also help sell the film. "Pirates" will only be in its second weekend and will still be pulling in a broad audience so there will be some competition. But "Knocked Up" has great buzz and will start selling itself after people begin pouring out of the Friday night shows. Opening in 2,873 theaters, the Universal release may gross about $24M this weekend and witness small declines in the weeks ahead.


"Yay, pregnancy."

Less than a year after co-starring with Ashton Kutcher in "The Guardian," Kevin Costner teams up with the "Punk’d" star’s gal pal Demi Moore in the new psychological thriller "Mr. Brooks." In the R-rated film, the former bodyguard plays a family man who moonlights as a serial killer while the ex-G.I. Jane stars as a detective hot on his trail. The MGM release should play to the oldest audience of any major release out now. That’s a good thing since direct competition will not be too fierce. But despite some moderately good reviews, Brooks is anchored by two aging actors who were bulletproof box office stars fifteen years ago, but are not all that reliable at the turnstiles nowadays.

"Knocked Up" has much more buzz around it and will take away much of the thirtysomething crowd, but the forty-plus audience might give "Mr. Brooks" a try. Older adults did little for "Georgia Rule" which bowed to just $6.8M but April’s "Fracture" had a decent $11M opening. Costner should draw an audience more like the one that came out for the Anthony Hopkins thriller. The marketing push has not been too forceful so a large turnout is not likely. Invading 2,453 theaters, "Mr. Brooks" may generate a $9M debut.


Where Dane Cook gets his career advice.

Picturehouse targets the Lady Foot Locker crowd with its new drama "Gracie" which tells the true story of a teenage girl in the late 1970s who fought to play competitive soccer when the sport did not open its doors to her gender. The PG-13 flick stars Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, and Carly Schroeder and has been marketed squarely to its core audience of teenage girls. "Gracie" is unlikely to score any goals with other audience segments and is not being released in too many theaters so a modest opening is likely. Reviews have been mixed. Kicking its way into about 1,000 locations, "Gracie" might find itself with an opening weekend take of around $3M.


The mullet-headed heckler is always an important training component.

Fox Searchlight invades the arthouses once again with its Russian fantasy epic "Day Watch," the sequel to Timur Bekmambetov‘s "Night Watch" which became a mammoth blockbuster in its home country in 2004. Last year, "Night Watch" bowed in the U.S. to a sturdy $35,475 average from only three theaters and eventually collected $1.5M from 158 sites. "Day Watch" continues the battle of Light vs. Darkness in an adventure set in Moscow with digital effects that could rival any $200M-budgeted Hollywood tentpole pic. The R-rated film debuts on Friday in New York and Los Angeles with two theaters in each city plus a solo house in San Francisco. More markets across the country will be added in the weeks ahead.


"Day Watch"

None of the newbies looks like first-place material so "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should easily retain its box office crown. However, a substantial fall is likely. As a third part of a franchise coming off of a big holiday bow, the drop would of course be large. "Dead Man’s Chest" fell by 54% in its sophomore frame. Add in the fact that fan reaction isn’t exactly stellar and the ship should sink by a large amount. Don’t expect the latest "Pirates" to suffer the 67% crash that the third "X-Men" flick saw a year ago when it came off of the Memorial Day frame. Instead, it could perform more like 2004’s "The Day After Tomorrow" which fell 60% coming off of the same holiday weekend. Luckily for Johnny Depp and pals the competition is not too fierce this weekend. A similar 60% tumble would give "At World’s End" about $46M worth of weekend loot which would boost the ten-day cume to $218M.

"Shrek the Third" will also not have much in the way of competition for its family audience, but comedy fans will certainly abandon ship and head for "Knocked Up." The ogre franchise makes a sizable portion of its money from teens and young adults and those folks are going to be moving on. Last weekend’s 56% drop was affected by the arrival of "Pirates." This weekend, it could stabilize and fall by 45%. That would give "Shrek the Third" around $29M for the weekend and $256M after 17 days.

"Spider-Man 3," the only May threequel with the actual number three in its title, has also been fading away. A 45% drop would give the Sandman saga roughly $8M boosting the cume to $319M.

LAST YEAR: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn proved more popular than super heroes as their romantic comedy "The Break-Up" knocked "X-Men: The Last Stand" out of the number one spot in only its second weekend. The Universal comedy opened to $39.2M on its way to a better-than-expected $118.7M. The mutant sequel tumbled 67% to $34M in its sophomore frame for the runnerup position. Paramount’s toon sensation "Over the Hedge" held up well in third with $20.6M followed by "The Da Vinci Code" with $18.6M and "Mission: Impossible III" with $4.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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 an estimated $9.1M on the Paramount release. After 17 days, the PG-13 sleeper hit has raked in a impressive $52.2M 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 an estimated $7.6M from 2,019 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,767 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 $7.2M debut, according to estimates. The Paramount release, which was expected to top the charts this weekend, averaged a feeble $2,642 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 HopkinsRyan Gosling thriller "Fracture" dropped a reasonable 36% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.1M. With $21.3M 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 32% to fifth place and grossed an estimated $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. Disney’s animated film "Meet the Robinsons" held up well thanks to no new kids competition and dipped 31% to an estimated $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.

Focus widened the run of its British action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" by expanding from 825 to 1,272 sites and grossed an estimated $4.8M this weekend for a decent $3,758 average on the sophomore frame. That represented a slim 18% dip in the gross but a steeper 47% drop in the average with the cume rising to $12.5M. The $16M production could conclude its North American run with $21-23M adding to its $49M tally from overseas.

The horror flick "Vacancy" suffered the worst fall in the top ten dropping 45% from its poor debut to an estimated $4.2M. Sony’s $19M thriller starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale has taken in just $13.9M 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 $4M, according to estimates. The R-rated film about ten death row inmates in a contest for survival was dead on arrival averaging a pathetic $1,732 from 2,310 sites for Lionsgate. Rounding out the top ten was Ice Cube’s family comedy "Are We Done Yet?" with an estimated $3.4M, off 34%, for a $43.8M 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 an estimated $2.8M from 1,816 locations for a miserable $1,542 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 46% to an estimated $2.2M putting the cume for the Halle BerryBruce 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 over $8M 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 an estimated $1.9M, off 33%, boosting the total to $158.8M. A final tally of $163-165M seems likely.

The top ten films slumped to an estimated $57.4M which was down 33% from last year when "RV" opened at number one with $16.4M; and down 26% from 2005 when "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" debuted on top with $21.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

In the battle of the single-word-titled thrillers, "Fracture" beat out "Vacancy" but neither could dislodge "Disturbia" from the number one spot this weeend. It was mostly a sluggish frame at the North American box office as the top ten slumped to its third worst level of 2007.

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 an estimated $13.5M. Off only 39%, the Paramount release of a DreamWorks production averaged a solid $4,464 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 $40.7M 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 an estimated $11.2M watching Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling go at it. The R-rated film from New Line averaged a solid $4,574 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 an estimated $7.8M. Down 44%, the Paramount title is still the widest release in the marketplace with 3,459 locations and the cume has hit $101.1M. 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, according to estimates. The R-rated pic about a couple stranded in a motel where videotaped killings take place averaged a mild $2,979 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 an estimated $7.1M in its fourth frame, down 43%, for a total of $82.2M.

Shooting up the best average among all wide releases in the marketplace was the new British action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" which premiered to an estimated $5.8M from 825 theaters for a potent $7,075 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 an estimated $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 an estimated $4.9M from 2,155 theaters. Averaging a weak $2,281 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 BerryBruce Willis thriller "Perfect Stranger" collapsed in its second weekend and tumbled 63% to an estimated $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 an estimated $2.9M, off 39%, 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 an estimated $2.3M in its seventh adventure and lifted its staggering domestic total to $204.7M. 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 two-thirds of its audience was Fox’s adventure "Pathfinder" which grossed an estimated $1.7M in its second weekend. The Viking pic has collected a puny $8M 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 an estimated $1.6M, down 65%, boosting the mild cume to $22.7M. The $53M double feature "Grindhouse" crashed 68% in its third try and took in an estimated $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 11% to an estimated $1.3M. The average was diluted down to a poor $1,216 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 an estimated $139,000 for a $4,200 average. Cume sits at $280,000 with more cities being added this Friday. Fox Searchlight’s "The Namesake" collected an estimated $765,000 from 327 locations in its seventh weekend averaging $2,339 for a cume of $9.8M to date.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $70.1M which was down an unsettling 26% from last year when "Silent Hill" opened at number one with $20.2M; and off 10% from 2005 when "The Interpreter" debuted on top with $22.8M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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 an estimated $23M. 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 $7,872 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 38% to an estimated $14.1M. The 17-day cume stands at a potent $90.2M. Like "Disturbia," "Blades" was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by its new parent Paramount.

Slipping only 28% was Disney’s animated comedy "Meet the Robinsons" with an estimated $12.1M which lifted the total to $72M. 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 an estimated $11.5M. The critically-panned Sony release averaged a mediocre $4,322 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 36% to an estimated $9.2M. That gave the Sony release a cume of $33M 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 $4.8M opening, according to estimates. The R-rated film averaged a mild $2,791 from 1,720 locations.

The rest of the top ten was filled with four films separated by only $400,000. Buena Vista’s motorcycle comedy "Wild Hogs" grossed an estimated $4.6M, down only 30%, for a stellar cume of $152.2M. Hilary Swank’s horror flick "The Reaping" tumbled 55% in its second weekend to an estimated $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 48% to an estimated $4.3M boosting the total to $200.8M. Overseas, "300" collected an estimated $14.8M this weekend to lift the international haul to $204.1M 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 TarantinoRobert Rodriguez flop "Grindhouse" which plunged 63% in its sophomore session to an estimated $4.2M. Budgeted at $53M, the double feature has taken in just $19.7M 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 an estimated $4M from 1,607 sites for a slow $2,492 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 $3.1M, according to estimates, giving the R-rated film an average of just $3,521 from 877 locations. Lionsgate made no impact with its Ray Liotta actioner "Slow Burn" which bowed to an estimated $805,000 from 1,163 playdates for a puny average of $692 per theater.

Three films fell out of the top ten this weekend. Mark Wahlberg’s sniper pic "Shooter" dropped 47% to an estimated $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 28% to an estimated $2.8M for a cume of $9.9M after 12 days. Warner Bros. took in an estimated $2.1M for the animated actioner "TMNT," off 56%, for a total of $50.7M. Look for a $53-55M final.

Platforming to solid results was the Molly Shannon comedy "Year of the Dog" which bowed in seven New York and Los Angeles sites and grossed an estimated $112,000. The Paramount Vantage release averaged $16,049 and will open in nine additional cities this Friday boosting its theater count to more than 30.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $92.5M which was down 14% from last year when Scary Movie 4 opened at number one with $40.2M; but up 29% from 2005 when The Amityville Horror debuted on top with $23.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder skated to another gold medal victory over the Easter holiday as the comedy "Blades of Glory" remained atop the charts despite the arrival of a handful of new pictures. The Quentin TarantinoRobert Rodriguez experiment "Grindhouse" opened well below expectations and finished with disappointing results in fourth place.

Overall, moviegoers were in the mood for existing films as the top five holdovers all dipped by less than 33%. The top ten delivered more than $100M in ticket sales for the sixth consecutive frame giving the marketplace continued strength.

Comedy was king of the box office once again as "Blades of Glory" grossed an estimated $23M in its second weekend slipping only 30%. The Paramount release has now laughed up an impressive $68.4M in just ten days and looks headed north of $120M. The gross was slightly bigger than the $22.1M sophomore weekend take of Ferrell’s last hit "Talladega Nights" which tumbled by a larger 53% in its second lap last summer. With no major comedy competition this month, "Blades" should continue to pull in healthy numbers in the weeks ahead.

Also holding up well in its second weekend was Disney’s animated pic "Meet the Robinsons" with an estimated $17M, off 32%. Still attracting solid business from its 3D engagements, the G-rated toon has banked a solid $52.2M in its first ten days and is also hoping to join the century club.

Leading the crop of new flicks was the Ice Cube comedy "Are We Done Yet?" with an estimated $15M for a third place finish. The Sony followup to the 2005 sleeper hit "Are We There Yet?" averaged a solid $5,214 from 2,877 sites and has grossed $19.1M since opening on Wednesday. "Done"’s extended five-day opening was similar to "There"’s three-day bow of $18.6M from January 2005. That film went on to collect $82.3M and still stands as Cube’s top-grossing picture ever. Like the first one, the PG-rated Done played primarily to a family audience.

The weekend’s big shocker was the violent two-for-one pic "Grindhouse" which debuted in fourth place with an estimate of only $11.6M. The three-hour-plus homage to the B movies of the 1970s averaged a decent $4,417 from 2,624 locations but did not come close to the opening weekend tallies of previous films from directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The long running time for the $53M production forced theaters to offer fewer showtimes and a lack of female appeal may also have contributed to the less-than-stellar bow. Openings for other R-rated offerings from the maverick filmmakers include $29.1M for Rodriguez’s "Sin City" and $22.1M and $25.1M for Tarantino’s "Kill Bill" installments. Reviews for "Grindhouse" were very positive but The Weinstein Co. may not find much long-term success as most fans of the directors probably planned to see it sooner rather than later.

Hillary Swank’s new horror flick "The Reaping" came in fifth place in its debut grossing an estimated $10.1M from 2,603 locations for a moderate $3,872 average. The R-rated tale of a scientist investigating supernatural occurances in a small Louisiana town launched on Thursday and scared up $12M over four days. "The Reaping" also took off in 16 international markets and grossed an estimated $7.1M overseas.

The year’s biggest blockbuster "300" followed in sixth place with an estimated $8.8M in its fifth battle, down just 23%, lifting the overall domestic haul to $193.9M. Overseas, the Spartan smash pulled in another $32M over the weekend boosting the international total to $173M and the global gross to a stunning $367M. "Wild Hogs," the second largest hit of 2007, dipped 21% to an estimated $6.8M giving Buena Vista a fantastic $145.5M to date.

Dropping to eighth was Mark Wahlberg’s action pic Shooter with an estimated $5.8M, off 31%, for a cume of $36.7M. Falling 47% to an estimated $4.9M was the Warner Bros. toon "TMNT" which put its total at $46.7M thus far.

Fox’s family drama "Firehouse Dog" opened in tenth place with dismal results grossing an estimated $4M from 2,860 theaters. Averaging a weak $1,399, the PG-rated film about a boy and his celebrity pooch bowed on Wednesday and collected $5.3M over five days. With so many other films courting the family crowd over Easter weekend, "Dog" was completely overlooked.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $107.1M which was dead even with last year’s Easter frame when "Scary Movie 4" opened at number one with $40.2M; but up 23% from 2005’s holiday in March when "Guess Who" debuted on top with $20.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com