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‘D2’ tops as pix find niche

It was almost business as usual Monday as Disney’s “D2: The Mighty Ducks” headed the weekend box office with an estimated $ 5,516,540. The figure represented quite a good hold, off just 12%, but a flagging average of $ 2,482.

The “almost” mentioned above is because Disney Studios was closed Monday, in memory of Frank Wells; the company released a couple of estimates, but actuals will be available today.

TriStar provided the sole national newcomer with “Threesome,” which placed fifth in the marketplace on a total gross of $ 4,001,024. There’s no question that its $ 3,301 average was on the soft side, but it’s difficult to say what lies ahead for the youthful romantic comedy.

The film’s daily box office was virtually unchanged day by day. It had a minimal upward bump of 12% from Friday to Saturday and the fluctuation for the entire three days was about 18%. Initially, it was performing as if it had primarily young male appeal; TriStar was certainly not selling the picture as an action-adventure, so go figure.

There were two very different gestalts — though roughly the same number of screens — going on in the launches of Trimark’s “Leprechaun 2” and Hollywood Pictures’ “Holy Matrimony.”

“Leprechaun 2” opened with $ 672,775 and a decent, if unspectacular $ 2,670 average on 252 screens.

A Trimark spokesman said the company was surprised when the horror sequel began to track better than any previous title in the company’s history; it had been decided earlier to do a 12-market launch and rotate into other locales using the 250-plus prints struck.

With a comparable number of working prints in a similar number of markets, “Matrimony” fulfilled dire commercial predictions gleaned from test screenings, as it opened to $ 394,574 on 235 and a $ 1,679 average.

With no dynamos or dinos in the marketplace, the most interesting things to monitor are the films that continue to grow ineffably … and the titles that haven’t been able to get a toehold from day one.

Gramercy’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral” has to be considered the current commercial phenom.

The romantic comedy from Britain, which debuted at the Sundance Fest, continues to add dates weekly without losing any perceptible momentum.

Since opening March 9, it’s expanded from five to 552 playdates, landing sixth this week with a gross of $ 3.9 million and with the best wide release average of $ 7,145.

Company chief Russell Schwartz said he hasn’t been involved with a specialized film of such quality and appeal since his days at Island with “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

The converse example is Warner Bros.’ “The Hudsucker Proxy,” another Sundance preem, which opened the same weekend as “Weddings”– also on five screens.

Initially it received a lot more attention but grossed less in its per-screen average.

Five weekends later, “Proxy” has plateaued in 125 situations with a cume of a bit better than $ 1.7 million. “Weddings” has generated $ 7 million more in the same period.

Though both films are considered niche items, one has obviously crossed over into the mainstream.

Or, as one insider observed, “I understand weddings, I understand funerals, but what’s a Hudsucker?”

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