‘Hurricane’ punches up screens, B.O. tally

'Topsy-Turvy' becomes weekend's per-screen champ

After an auspicious platform start, Universal is eagerly awaiting the bell signaling the next round for “The Hurricane.”

Denzel Washington starrer about wrongfully imprisoned boxer Ruben “Hurricane” Carter punched up the weekend’s most impressive limited-release results. U will expand it Friday to about 1,500 runs.

At 159 sites, the Norman Jewison-helmed pic grossed an estimated $2.4 million, for an average of $15,405.

That per-screen mark trailed only Sony’s “Girl, Interrupted,” which took in $146,000 at nine locations to average $16,206.

“Girl” also goes wide on Friday. Sony’s Jeff Blake expects about 1,800 to 1,900 playdates.

Technically, the per-screen champ was USA’s “Topsy-Turvy,” but Mike Leigh’s light-opera epic is showing only at the Paris in Gotham. Three-day estimate is $38,841, up 31% from the New Year’s weekend.

Most intriguing limited story is Disney’s “Fantasia/2000,” which is eight days into a four-month Imax engagement.

B.O. for large-format pics isn’t reported as promptly as that of mainstream fare, so no three-day estimate was provided. But Mouse House said for first full week of business, Jan. 1-7, animated feature grossed $5 million on 54 U.S. screens and another $1.5 million at 21 overseas sites.

Domestic tally is more than double the previous large-format record set by MacGillivray Freeman’s “Everest” in 1998. That pic went on to gross $72.5 million.

“I had high hopes for it, but I’ve been surprised,” said Rich Gelfond, co-CEO of Toronto-based Imax Corp. “We’ve had sellouts even in secondary markets.”

“Fantasia” is a true test case, as it is the first full-length studio release to play in large-format venues.

Nothing on regular-size screens provided much drama, but most smaller releases held up fairly well.

Miramax’s “The Cider House Rules” expanded to 816 screens from 332 and pulled in $3.3 million. So-so screen average of $4,013 dropped 14%.

Sony’s “The End of the Affair” is on the upswing after making several year-end Ten Best lists. Drama collected $650,000 on 92 screens, 44 more than last week. It’s ticketed for about 800 runs by Jan. 21, Blake said.

Fox Searchlight’s “Titus” grossed $45,002 at four sites. Cume of Shakespearian adaptation is $162,000. Another small Fox pic, “Boys Don’t Cry,” slipped just 4% in its 14th weekend. Weekend total of $106,000 brings cume to $2.9 million.

Paramount’s “Angela’s Ashes” held steady with New Year’s, bringing in $62,000 at six locations.

Disney’s “Cradle Will Rock” made it to $1 million with $168,000 take, but biz on 38 screens slipped 15% despite holiday comparison.

Lions Gate’s “Mr. Death,” Errol Morris’ docu, zapped $21,000 on three screens. Cume is $72,000.

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