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NEW MOVIE RELEASES! 7 new films are released this weekend, including 3 #Latino actors who leave their mark on the s…

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Pau Brunet


2009/01/19 at 12:00am

‘Paul Blart’ tops at box office!

'Paul Blart' tops at box office!

Sony’s Kevin James laffer “Paul Blart Mall Cop” debuted to an estimated $33.8 million from 3,144 runs in another boom session at the domestic B.O. that saw unexpectedly strong results across the board.

The Martin Luther King. Jr. holiday weekend was up a whopping 31% over last year, and that was only for Friday through Sunday. Studios can look forward to more good business on Monday.

Like “Mall Cop,” Lionsgate’s horror pic “My Bloody Valentine 3-D” and Fox release “Notorious” overperformed in their openings

“Valentine” — the widest 3-D release to date — grossed an estimated $21.9 million from 1,033 3-D locations and 1,501 conventional runs to narrowly beat “Notorious” for third place, according to Rentrak.

“Notorious,” a biopic of slain rap artist Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G., grossed an estimated $21.5 million from 1,638 theaters to post the best per-location average — $13,126 — of the weekend. Film was distributed by Fox but produced and marketed by Fox Searchlight. Opening is the biggest ever for the specialty unit.

Warner Bros.’ holdover sleeper hit “Gran Torino,” directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, gunned past “Valentine” and “Notorious” to come in second. Film declined a mere 25% to an estimated $22.2 million in its second weekend in wide release for a cume of $73.2 million.

The other new wide release was Paramount’s family comedy “Hotel for Dogs,” which also came in ahead of expectations with an estimated $17.7 million from 3,271 to place No. 5. Pic was produced by DreamWorks.

Paramount prexy of distribution Jim Tharp said “Hotel for Dogs” could ultimately do three or four times its opening number thanks to the long holiday weekend. Same applies to the other new releases.

“Certainly, ‘Hotel for Dogs’ came in at the top end of anyone’s expectations,” Tharp said.

On the specialty side, Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” enjoyed a noticeable bump from its Golden Globe wins.

The year-earlier sesh wasn’t weak: Par’s high-profile “Cloverfield” debuted to $40.1 million for the three days and Fox’s “27 Dresses” opened at $23 million. Rather, more films this year did more biz.

Even titles with overlapping auds managed to find their groove. “Mall Cop” and “Hotel for Dogs” both vied for families, although “Mall Cop” generally played to older kids.

“Ultimately, we got everybody,” Sony worldwide prexy of distribution Rory Bruer said.

“Mall Cop” is a victory for James, as it’s the first feature he’s toplined. Comedy was produced by Adam Sandler’s production shingle Happy Madison and cost $26 million to produce. Sony believes the film could hit $40 million by midnight on Monday.

Produced for under $15 million, “Valentine” should bring strong returns for Lionsgate. Most 3-D fare has been family or teen fare, such as “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour.”

Lionsgate said 3-D runs turned in revenues four times greater than conventional runs, thanks to higher ticket prices.

“This is the first time horror fans have gotten something in 3-D,” Lionsgate prexy of distribution Steve Rothenberg said, speaking of the digital iteration of the format. “Notorious,” produced for under $20 million and starring Jamal Woolard as Wallace, crossed over beyond its key demo, according to Fox. Film played slightly more to men.

Fox said the big surprise was that 40% of the audience was under age 25, even though Wallace — also known as Biggie Smalls — was killed more than a decade ago.

“He is a cultural icon that has touched a nerve and resonated with younger auds, proving the impact he’s had on the landscape,” Chris Aronson said.

Among the producers of “Notorious” is Sean Combs.

Elsewhere on the top 10 chart, Fox’s femme comedy “Bride Wars” declined only 44% in its second frame to an estimated $11.8 million from 3,228. Cume is $37.6 million in the pic’s 10th day in release.

Universal/Rogue Picture’s horror title “The Unborn” dipped a respectable 50% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.8 million from 2,359 for a cume of $33.1 million.

Ed Zwick’s drama “Defiance,” a Paramount Vantage release, placed No. 8 as it went wide. Film grossed an estimated $9.2 million from 1,789; cume is $9.5 million.

Christmas hit “Marley and Me,” from Fox, grossed an estimated $6.3 million from 2,952 runs for a cume of $132.7 million in its fourth sesh.

Mack Chico


2008/08/31 at 12:00am

‘Tropic Thunder’ reigns for third straight week

'Tropic Thunder' reigns for third straight week

Action film parody “Tropic Thunder” clung to the top spot at the North American box office for a third straight week as the summer moviegoing season sputtered to a lackluster close, Hollywood studios reported on Sunday.

Paramount Pictures’ farcical combat movie within a comedy, starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black, sold an estimated $11.5 million in U.S. and Canadian tickets Friday through Sunday to bring its three-week tally to $83.8 million.

While the final weekend heading into the U.S. Labor Day holiday is typically one of the slowest of the summer, the box office was especially lethargic despite five new films competing for attention in domestic theaters. None of those even managed to even crack the $10 million mark.

“It was an underwhelming end to a phenomenal summer,” said Paul Dergarabedian, head of box office tracking service Media By Numbers.

Business also was likely dampened by the approach of Hurricane Gustav along the U.S. Gulf Coast, where many families were too busy boarding up their homes and fleeing to higher ground to go to the movies.

“Tropic Thunder,” about a group of self-absorbed actors who get caught up in a real-life battle with narco-terrorists while filming a war movie in Southeast Asia, was the only film to post ticket sales in the double-digit millions.

Its biggest competition came from a real action flick, the sci-fi thriller “Babylon A.D.” from 20th Century Fox starring Vin Diesel, which grossed an estimated $9.7 million in its first weekend to land at No. 2.

Blockbuster Batman sequel “The Dark Knight” climbed up a notch on the box office chart to No. 3 with weekend receipts of nearly $8.8 million, pushing its cumulative domestic haul to an estimated $502 million after 45 days in release.

“Dark Knight,” a Warner Bros picture, becomes only the second film to cross the $500 million threshold. Two weeks ago, it surpassed “Star Wars” as the second highest grossing movie ever, behind only “Titanic” at $601 million.

Weekend ticket sales as a whole were sluggish, however, down 14 percent from the same period a year ago, as several new films failed to gain traction at the megaplex.

Two comedies opening on Friday, “Disaster Movie” and “College,” plus Don Cheadle’s thriller “Traitor,” which debuted on Wednesday, and “Hamlet 2,” a comedy that expanded nationally on Wednesday, grossed just $17.9 combined this weekend.

Together with “Babylon A.D.” those films together accounted for $27.6 million in ticket sales, only about $1 million more than the top-grossing movie from last year’s same weekend, “Halloween,” managed all by itself.

The Labor Day holiday on Monday marks the official conclusion to the 18-week summer film season, which can account for as much as 40 percent of the movie industry’s total business for the year.

When final studio figures come in later this week, Hollywood is expected to eke out roughly $4 billion in North American box office receipts, perhaps even slightly exceeding last summer’s record $4.18 total.

But with the actual number of admissions down more than 3 percent from a year ago, the gain in revenues is fueled mostly by higher ticket prices.

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