'Sisters' draws strongest among openers
“Barbershop” threw open its doors to crossover auds this weekend, as MGM’s urban laffer sheared through four wide openers to repeat atop box office rankings with an estimated $13.3 million.
Fox Searchlight’s “The Banger Sisters,” a femme-pleaser starring Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon, finished No. 2 as the strongest new release with an estimated $10.3 million. And IFC Films’ record-breaking sleeper “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was third with an estimated $10 million.
Two other wide openers tied for a disappointing fourth, as Paramount’s remake of the classic military adventure “Four Feathers” and Warner Bros./Franchise actioner “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever” each grossed an estimated $7.1 million. Sony’s kid-snatching drama “Trapped,” starring Charlize Theron and Kevin Bacon, bowed at No. 10 with just $3.2 million.
Strong specialty action
A pair of impressive limited bows topped a frame brimming with specialty-market action.
Disney unspooled anime tooner “Spirited Away” in 26 theaters and grossed an estimated $450,144, or $17,313 per venue. “Spirited” — Japan’s highest-grossing film ever — expands to 60 plus locations on Friday.
And Lions Gate bowed its well-reviewed, quirky drama “Secretary” in 11 theaters and grossed $190,000, or $17,273 per site. A romancer about a dominating boss and his submissive assistant, “Secretary” widens to 50 locations next weekend.
Elsewhere, Focus unspooled its “8 Women” musical in nine sites to gross $93,163, or a solid $10,351 per venue. Cume reached $188,040, as U.S. opening followed earlier limited run in Canada.
Holdover United Artists widened black comedy “Igby Goes Down” by 92 theaters to a total 102 and grossed $838,000, or $8,212 with an $1.3 million cume.
Fine Line opened its drama “Invincible” in four locations and grossed $16,000, or $4,000 per venue, with pic to expand to 15 runs in two weeks.
And Goldwyn/IDP bowed German suspenser “Das Experiment” in four theaters and grossed $22,000, or $5,500 per venue. “Experiment” bubbles over into 12-15 locations on Friday.
In a continuing run, Paramount Classics broadened German-language laffer “Mostly Martha” by 28 engagements to a total 131 and grossed an estimated $343,000, or $2,618 per playdate with a $2.2 million cume.
And Thinkfilm expanded drama “The Last Kiss” by six runs for a total 30 and grossed $110,397, or $3,680 per playdate. Cume reached $587,467.
Sony’s commercial soph-sesher “Stealing Sanford” posted a 42% drop this weekend to $3.5 million with a $10.8 million cume.
“Barbershop,” which saw a modest 36% fall-off, helped its cause by adding 289 venues. Partly as a result of that expansion, grosses were less dominated by urban locales and Ice Cube starrer demonstrated significant appeal to mainstream auds.
“Banger Sisters,” directed by tyro helmer Bob Dolman, skewed 74% female with 80% of patrons over age 25. Fox Searchlight distrib prexy Steve Giulula said pic succeeded in reaching its targeted older femmes.
“It’s not an easy demo to get out to the movies,” Giulula said. “So, we’re just thrilled. For a $10 million film to do this in its opening weekend is just fantastic.”
Searchlight landed two pics in the top 10 for the first time ever, as continuing platformer “One Hour Photo” grossed $4.7 million to finish sixth. Robin Williams suspenser’s cume reached $21.8 million through five seshes.
Warners is just the distributor on Franchise production “Ballistic,” helmed by Kaos in his feature debut. Warners exec veep distrib Jeff Goldstein took pic’s disappointing bow in stride.
“We’re moving on to the next one,” Goldstein said. “Some movies work, and some don’t.”
Par execs couldn’t be too tickled over the opening perf of Heath Ledger starrer “Four Feathers,” which was hampered by mostly downbeat critics’ notices. But distrib topper Wayne Lewellen plans to add 300 additional runs next week in line with a pre-release strategy of building on prospective positive buzz among patrons.
“We thought the picture would be a little more upscale and thought word-of-mouth would allow us to expand it a little wider,” Lewellen said.
“Feathers” auds were evenly split among males and females, with 70% of patrons over age 25.
“Trapped” was a modestly priced pickup from Senator, Sony spokesman Steve Elzer said.
“Our exposure on it is minimal,” Elzer stressed.
He acknowledged pic marketing was complicated by current public sensitivities over a spate of high-profile child abduction cases. “We were not going to exploit the current headlines to generate awareness,” the spokesman said.