Gritty war pic holds top spot with $18 mil

Weekend auds were split between battles and bathos.

Sony/Revolution Studios’ heroic military tale “Black Hawk Down” flew to its second straight weekend box office victory with an estimated $18.2 million over a fifth frame of release.

Gritty Somalia-based war pic now hovers in 3,101 theaters after opening in limited release over the holidays. It was the second sesh of super-saturation distribbing for “Hawk,” and a modest 36% drop helped thwart bowing competish.

The strongest of those was Warner Bros./Pandora’s teen-femme drama “A Walk to Remember,” as bestseller adaptation strode to an estimated $13.6 million. Perf tied for second place with Disney’s soph-sesh family laffer “Snow Dogs,” while Sony Screen Gems/Lakeshore opener “The Mothman Prophesies” conjured an estimated $11.8 million one spot back.

President Bush and top advisers were among those taking in “Black Hawk” this weekend. Distrib arranged a screening of the Ridley Scott-helmed, Jerry Bruckheimer produced pic at the Camp David presidential retreat.

“Hawk,” an estimated $92 million production, flew cume to $60.1 million.

Exciting record

“To be over $60 million after the first 10 days of wide release is pretty exciting,” Sony marketing and distrib topper Jeff Blake enthused.

Blake rated the “Mothman” bow as good for a crowded marketplace. Pic was a $15 million acquisition for distrib.

Elsewhere among the weekend’s top perfs, Universal/Imagine’s “A Beautiful Mind” biopic took fifth place with an estimated $11.7 million, on a slim 1% drop from its last frame, possibly benefitting from its four Golden Globes noms, which included best drama.

Disney opener “The Count of Monte Cristo” was sixth with $11.5 million. A 200-theater expansion is planned next week for the Kevin Reynolds-helmed swashbuckler, he said.

New Line expanded Sean Penn-Michelle Pfeiffer starrer “I Am Sam” from a single venue to a wide 1,268 theaters and grossed $8.3 million in seventh place.

Distrib’s “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” landed eighth with $8 million in its sixth sesh to run cume to boffo $258.7 million.

Laffer pulls

20th Century Fox’s bowing chopsocky laffer “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist” kicked in $7.3 million in ninth place. Pic cost Fox an estimated $9 million.

“We’ll be in profitability by the end of the week,” Fox distrib chief Bruce Snyder said.

Paramount’s “Orange County’ rounded out the top 10 with an estimated $4.6 million in its third sesh.

Industrywide, frame proved a strong one with $132.5 million in total grosses — a 37% improvement over the same sesh a year ago, according to B.O. tracker ACNielsen EDI. Perf was helped by comparison with a year-earlier frame that was 2001’s Super Bowl football weekend, when moviegoing drops among males.

Year-to-date, 2002 is just ahead of the same portion of last year with a total $650 million in B.O. vs. a year-earlier $646 million.

Depth impressive

EDI exec veep Dan Marks noted a half-dozen pics grossed $11 million or more apiece this weekend, only the second time that’s happened in a year after a similar perf over the New Year’s frame.

“That’s pretty sensational depth,” Marks observed.

Several platformers also continued to do substantial biz this weekend.

USA Films’ ensemble period drama “Gosford Park” unspooled in another 100 theaters for a total 756 in its fifth frame and grossed $2.9 million, or $3,875 per site. Robert Altman-helmed “Park” benched cume at $16.1 million.

Universal Focus’ French-language actioner “Brotherhood of the Wolf” distribbed in another 183 locations for a total 290 and devoured $1.6 million, or $5,425 per venue. Cume through three seshes is $4.2 million.

Disney added two venues for a total 999 for ensemble laffer “The Royal Tenenbaums” and fetched $3.3 million, or $3,323 million. Cume reached $41.7 million.

‘Bedroom’ at $14.5 mil

Meanwhile, Miramax’s Sissy Spacek starrer “In the Bedroom” fell a modest 12% in its fourth weekend while holding steady with 456 playdates and tucked away roughly $2 million. Perf, repping $4,300 per engagement, rolled cume to $14.5 million.

In a specialty rollout, Miramax’s Benjamin Bratt starrer “Pinero” grossed an estimated $56,000 from four theaters, or $4,000 per venue. Playwright biopic, which had a one-week Academy-consideration run in December, inked cume at $94,800.

Distrib also bowed Italian-language drama “The Son’s Room” in a single L.A. location, picking up $4,500.

Fine Line’s Todd Solondz-helmed “Storytelling” grossed $82,000 from four theaters, or an impressive $20,500 per venue.

Sony’s Japanese tooner “Metropolis” grossed $100,000 from an initial nine locations for a notable $11,072 per site.

And Sony Classics’ “Beijing Bicycle” drama rode to $21,543 in five engagements, or $4,308 per playdate.

There are two wide releases set for next weekend, with Sunday marking this year’s Super Bowl game. Miramax unspools romantic comedy “Birthday Girl” and Sony the youth laffer “Slackers.”

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