Sunday, September 25, 2005

Foster's Flightplan Buries Burton's Bride


Jodie Foster has done it again. As she nears her 43rd birthday, the actress proved that she had enough credibility and clout to bring audiences into theatres with her first major release in three years, the thriller Flightplan from Touchstone Pictures. It earned an estimated $24.4 million its opening weekend in over 3,400 theatres, averaging $7,198 per theatre.

Although many saw it as the favorite due to stellar reviews and an impressive opening weekend in limited release, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride had to settle for second place this weekend. Still, the unconventional stop-motion animated musical comedy earned just over $20 million as it expanded into over 3,200 theatres nationwide this weekend, and it looks likely to earn more than Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas which didn't fare nearly as well its opening weekend.

The nicest surprise this weekend may have have been Fox Searchlight's Roll Bounce starring recording artist Bow Wow. Produced by the guys who made the breakout hit Barbershop a few years ago, the 70's roller-disco comedy brought in an estimated $8 million opening weekend in less than 1,700 theatres to take fourth place.

Meanwhile, Reese Witherspoon's supernatural romantic comedy Just Like Heaven dropped down to third place with $9.8 million, bringing its total to just under $30 million.

Screen Gems' horror thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose continues to do well despite an almost 50% drop-off in its third weekend, and the studio should be delighted with its cumulative gross of just over $62 million. The film cost roughly $19 million to produce. Likewise, Nicholas Cage's Lord of War from Lions Gate had a significant drop in its second weekend, earning just under $5 million in its second weekend for sixth place.

At #7, Universal Pictures comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, continues to claw its way to $100 million, adding another $4.3 million this weekend.

The Constant Gardener, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, has made back its production budget as it earned another $2.2 million in eighth place, bringing its total over the $27 million mark. The Top 10 was rounded out by Fox's action sequel Transporter 2 with Jason Statham, and Rogue Pictures' Cry_Wolf, both earning just over $2 million.

Just outside the Top 10, Warner Independent Pictures' documentary March of the Penguins added another $1.7 million to bring its gross to an impressive $72.8 million, while Lasse Hallström's drama An Unfinished Life made just a bit less than that in 888 theatres to bring its total to $5.7 million. New Line's Wedding Crashers finally dropped out of the Top 10 after ten weeks there, grossing $206 million, over four times its production budget.

Released by New Line in limited release, David Cronenberg's take on the John Wagner graphic novel A History of Violence, with Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello, earned $504 thousand its opening weekend in 14 theatres, a respectable average of $36 thousand per theatre. By comparison, Roman Polanski's version of Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist opened in five theatres and only averaged $13.8 thousand per theatre for a total of $69 thousand. Both films expand nationwide next weekend, but it's not a good sign for Polanski's latest film if it can't do better in New York and Los Angeles. On the other hand, Cronenberg is looking to have his biggest hit in over ten years once the film expands into more than 1,000 theatres next week.