‘Anger’s’ still the B.O. rage

Pic stays on top as auds dig 'Holes'

This article was updated at 8:30 p.m.

“Anger Management” remained the box office rage with an estimated gross of $25.6 million in its soph session, easily topping the Easter weekend.

Sony/Revolution’s comedy declined an acceptable 39% from its opening (which set a record for April) and lifted its 10-day cume past $80 million. The Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler starrer drew strongly across all demos and looks likely to contend for a third consecutive victory next weekend, according to Sony distribution prexy Rory Bruer.

“We’ve met or exceeded expectations every day,” said Bruer, adding that a final cume in the range of $150 million is a “very real” possibility.

Nicholson’s last five wide-openers on average dropped a modest 30% during their second weekends, compared with an average 44% decline for the past five Sandler vehicles — meaning the “Anger” dip was about halfway between the two.

Trio can’t control “Anger”

The comedy easily held onto the top spot despite solid competition from a trio of openers — Disney’s family drama “Holes” with $17.1 million, Warner Bros.’ hip-hop spoof “Malibu’s Most Wanted” with $13.1 million and MGM’s martial arts actioner “Bulletproof Monk” with $8.6 million.

Disney distrib chief Chuck Viane cited strong reviews and fan base for the book “Holes” and noted that the film pulled in 51% of its customers from the 18-and-over demo. He predicted “Holes” may show enough leg to mirror last year’s strong spring perf by the Mouse House’s “The Rookie.”

Warner’s distrib topper Dan Fellman was also bullish over the future of “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” with 25% of the nation’s schools on spring break this coming week (over 60% of the pic’s audience over the weekend was under 18). He added that “Wanted” should be highly profitable, given its $15 million budget.

Five of the other six holdovers in the top 10 saw weekend-to-weekend declines of under 30% with “Chicago” slipping by only 22% as the tuner’s cume reached $160.7 million.

Twentieth Century Fox’s opening of Latino romantic comedy “Chasing Papi” generated moderate returns with $2.2 million at 585 engagements. Warner Bros. matched that take with the debut of Christopher Guest’s folk-music mockumentary “A Mighty Wind” at 133 playdates for a robust $16,541 per engagement, pushing its five-day cume to $2.8 million.

Studio has set a May 9 wide release for “Wind”; exit-poll scores put the film above Guest’s “Best in Show,” which cumed $18.7 million in 2000.

Paramount Classics/MTV Films’ “Better Luck Tomorrow” remained potent in its second weekend of limited release, with $515,000 at 42 sites to lift the drama’s cume past $1 million. Its demo shifted from 60% Asian-American in its opening weekend to 40% and plans call for expanding to 400 runs next weekend.

“Winged Migration” soars

Sony Classics’ opening of Oscar-nommed docu “Winged Migration” generated a high-flying $36,710 at a single Gotham venue. The documentary will come to L.A. on May 2.

Fox Searchlight’s “Bend It Like Beckham” continued to score respectably with $1.9 million at 392 engagements to lift its six-week cume to $6.7 million. The company’s third weekend of “The Good Thief” also posted impressive numbers with $615,000 at 122 playdates to push its total to $1.3 million.

Goldwyn/Fireworks’ “Raising Victor Vargas” grossed $142,000 at 33 runs to cume $340,000; Destination/Goldwyn’s “Cowboy Bebop” took in $75,600 at 28 engagements to lift its total to $556,000.

Industrywide B.O. totaled $106 million — matching the same weekend last year, which was headed by a $36.1 million opening for “The Scorpion King.” This marked the second frame in a row that weekend B.O. has not fallen year-to-year, following seven straight declines. Those dips have left year-to-date grosses down by 8% from 2002 at $2.134 billion.

” ‘Anger Management’ has brought some real life back to the business,” noted Dan Marks, VP of B.O. tracker Nielsen EDI. “It held up very well off a big opening.”

“Anger” will face competition next weekend from openings of New Line’s “The Real Cancun,” the quickly produced spring break vehicle; Sony thriller “Identity,” with John Cusack and Ray Liotta; Lions Gate drama “Confidence,” starring Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz; and MGM’s comedy-drama “It Runs in the Family,” featuring Kirk and Michael Douglas.

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