'Kung' hit hard, grosses top previous football frame

Sony/Revolution Studios’ “Black Hawk Down” soared to a three-peat perf atop weekend rankings with $11.5 million in estimated box office over the difficult Super Bowl frame. Somalia war tale’s cume cruised to $75.1 million.

Disney took sesh’s No. 2 and 3 positions, mushing “Snow Dogs” and “The Count of Monte Cristo” to $9.9 million and $9 million in estimated B.O., respectively.

It was a third straight silver-medal finish for laffer “Dogs,” while swashbuckling “Count” climbed three rungs in its soph sesh. Both pics enjoyed slim 24% drops.

Another soph player, Warner Bros./Pandora’s feel-good drama “A Walk to Remember,” finished fourth with $8.8 million on a skimpy 28% decline. And second-week suspenser “The Mothman Prophecies” from Sony Screen Gems/Lakeshore was sixth with $7.5 million on an acceptable 33% fall-off.

‘Kung’ falls

But 20th Century Fox’s chopsocky laffer “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist” fell a heftier 46% to $3.8 million over its second frame. That was good for ninth place.

Industrywide, sesh was roughly flat with a year-ago at an estimated $101 million in total grosses, according to data from B.O. tracker ACNielsen EDI. But frame still repped a Super Bowl-weekend record.

That’s because pro football’s annual championship — which preoccupies most U.S. males and many femmes — came one weekend later than usual, due to a sked delay after Sept. 11. And grosses from the frame bested a previous record of $97 million in Super Bowl-frame B.O. set last year.

In both cases, Bowl-sesh totals were boosted by prominent femme-friendly titles — “Walk to Remember” this year and “The Wedding Planner” last.

Elsewhere in the latest frame, Sony/Screen Gems’ youth laffer “Slackers” opened in a 10th place tie with Paramount’s teen comedy “Orange County.” Each grossed an estimated $3 million domestically.

‘Slackers’ rights

Sony acquired U.S. rights to “Slackers” from the late Destination Films for $4 million. Alliance Atlantis is Canadian distrib.

“We picked it up mostly for video,” Sony marketing and distrib topper Jeff Blake observed.

Universal/Imagine biopic “A Beautiful Mind” pushed cume to an impressive $104.6 million through seven frames with another $8.5 million in fifth place this weekend.

New Line fantasy “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” — a $630 million-plus worldwide phenom — was seventh with $6.6 million. And distrib’s family drama “I Am Sam” landed eighth with $6.5 million.

Miramax Nicole Kidman starrer “Birthday Girl” bowed out of the top 10, unwrapping $2.5 million from a just-wide 1,000 playdates, or $2,500 per engagement. Quirky romancer played to auds 60% female, with most patrons age 21 or older.

Distrib — which notes “Girl” played best in major-market arthouses and upscale suburban venues — plans to hold in current locations for at least another week.

‘Italian’ adds dates

Miramax’s Danish-language “Italian for Beginners” added 10 engagements this weekend for a total 14 and grossed $150,000, or a fluent $10,700 per playdate.

And its Sissy Spacek starrer “In the Bedroom” rolled into 84 more locations for a total 549, grossing an estimated $1.9 million, or $3,461 per site. “Bedroom” may be slowing as a commercial crossover from its arthouse base, though kudo-season notices for cast and others could stoke further interest.

Universal Focus’ French-language “Brotherhood of the Wolf” expanded 101 theaters to 393 and ate up $1.8 million, or $4,590 per venue. Actioner ran cume to $6.7 million.

And Fine Line’s Todd Solondz-helmed “Storytelling” added one playdate for a total five and grossed $53,000, or an average $10,600. Pic broadens to 50 runs on Friday.

Also next weekend, Warners’ Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer “Collateral Damage” — delayed by content sensitivities after Sept. 11 — is among four pics set for wide release. Others include MGM actioner “Rollerball,” which had been delayed by marketing changes; Miramax/Dimension suspenser “Below;” and Universal laffer “Big Fat Liar.”

Meanwhile, Sony/Revolution filled a government request this week to ship several screeners of “Black Hawk” to military bases in Afghanistan and the surrounding region. Military officials plan to unspool heroic war drama for troops over coming weeks.

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