Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Underworld Goes Over the Top

Source: Comingsoon.net

Opening in just over 3,200 theatres, Sony/Screen Gem's action-horror sequel Underworld: Evolution, starring Kate Beckinsale, took the box office crown with ease, grossing an estimated $27.6 million its opening weekend, an average of roughly $8,600 per theatre. The original Underworld grossed $21.7 million its opening weekend in September 2003, and went onto make $52 million domestically and another $42 million overseas, and the sequel, which cost less than $50 million before marketing costs, becomes the fourth highest opening movie for the month of January after 1997's Star Wars (Special Edition), Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down and the comedy Along Came Polly.

Most of the returning movies held up well from the extended Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with The Weinstein Company's computer animated comedy Hoodwinked expanding into over 3,000 theatres, taking a definite second place with just over $11 million and a minimal drop-off of 10.7% from the holiday weekend. It has earned just over $29 million in the past ten days.

Dropping down to third, Disney's basketball drama Glory Road with Josh Lucas edged out the Queen Latifah comedy Last Holiday, each earning around $9.1 million in their second weekends, bringing their total grosses to $28 and $26.4 million, respectively.

After winning four Golden Globes on Monday, Ang Lee's romantic Western Brokeback Mountain was expanded by Focus Features into 1,196 theatres on Friday, enough for it to make a jump into the Top 5 with an additional $7.8 million in its seventh weekend. Its per-theatre average of $6,548 was the second highest in the Top 10, and to date, the unconventional romantic drama has earned over $42 million on its road to Oscar glory.

The Jim Carrey comedy remake Fun with Dick and Jane crossed the $100 million mark over the weekend with another $6.1 million in its fifth weekend, another minor 30% drop-off from last week. It barely edged out the C.S. Lewis fantasy epic The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for sixth place, the latter having grossed $271 million in its impressive run at the box office. Only $13 million separates it from the second highest grossing film of 2005, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The independently-produced End of the Spear, a spiritual tale of missionaries killed by natives in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, used a grassroots campaign and strong commercials to get an impressive nationwide rollout into 1,163 theatres, where it grossed an estimated $4.7 million and entered the box office at eighth place. A second movie about first contact with natives received a nationwide rollout this weekend, as Terrence Malick's The New World, starring Colin Farrell and newcomer Q'orianka Kilcher, reopened in 800 theatres after a platform release over the holidays. The abbreviated version of the film pulled in $4.2 million to take tenth place.

In between, Eli Roth's gory thriller Hostel took another plunge, dropping from fifth to ninth with roughly $4.3 million in its third weekend, and bringing its total gross to $42.7 million.

Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong made its last appearance in the Top 12 with another $4.1 million added to its $209 million box office take, while 20th Century Fox's historic romance Tristan & Isolde wrapped up the Top 12 with $3.3 million.

Taking advantage of its three Golden Globe wins, the Fox biodrama Walk the Line, starring Best Actor and Actress Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, made an impressive 75% jump from last weekend, its $3.1 million weekend take was enough to finally get it across the $100 million mark after two and a half months in theatres.

Opening in limited release, Albert Brooks' first comedy in six years Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, was released by Warner Independent Pictures after a fall-out with Sony/Tri-Star over the title. Sadly, audiences weren't too inspired by the title either, and the comedy only made $455 thousand in 161 theatres, a pitiful theatre average of $2,826 that doesn't bode well for future expansion.