Fish tale takes in $29 mil; 'Homicide' tanks

This article was updated at 9:15p.m.

Disney/Pixar’s fish tale “Finding Nemo” bubbled back up to the top of the box office sea this weekend with an estimated $29.2 million haul over its third happy outing.

But B.O. gloom reined elsewhere, as Sony/Revolution’s “Hollywood Homicide” bowed dead on arrival with just $11.7 million in fifth place. Toting a negative cost north of $75 million, Harrison Ford-Josh Hartnett starrer was the most notable casualty as three wide openers all proved stiffs.

Forensics cited moviegoer confusion over mixed tone of the buddy-cop actioner. Toxic crix notices mixed among decent reviews also didn’t help.

Universal’s action sequel “2 Fast 2 Furious” plunged a furious 62% in its soph sesh but still produced $19.1 million to grab the weekend’s runner-up honors. Jim Carrey vehicle “Bruce Almighty” from U/Spyglass drove to third place over its fourth frame with $14.2 million.

Paramount’s “Rugrats Go Wild,” a kidtooner with characters from two Nickelodeon skeins, finished highest of the new pics with $12.5 million in fourth place. New Line’s prequel laffer “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” — absent original topliners Carrey and Jeff Daniels — was the weakest opener with $11.1 million in sixth.

Industrywide, the weekend marked a big 26% downtick from the same frame a year ago with $122 million in total estimated grosses, according to B.O. tracker Nielsen EDI. Perf repped the first backsliding sesh of the past four weekends.

Bulking up for “Hulk”

“We’re getting to the part where the summer season needs a new $50 million-grossing picture every weekend to keep pace,” EDI prexy Tom Borys observed.

Next weekend would appear to offer just that, as U bows eagerly anticipated comix actioner “Hulk.” Other wide openers include Warner Bros.’ “Alex & Emma,” a Rob Reiner-helmed romancer starring Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson, and 20th Century Fox’s “From Justin to Kelly,” a musical featuring singers from Fox TV’s “American Idol” program.

Among limited bows this weekend, Thinkfilm unspooled drama “The Heart of Me” in five L.A. and Gotham locations and grossed an estimated $25,697, or $5,139 per site. And Miramax’s Jean Reno-Juliette Binoche romancer “Jet Lag” grossed a solid $10,000 each from L.A. and Gotham exclus.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Paramount Classics expanded drama “The Man on the Train” by eight locations for a total 80 and grossed $186,000. Perf of $2,325 per site runs cume to $1.2 million through six weeks of limited release.

Sony Classics docu “Winged Migration” added 11 engagements for a total 69 and grossed $330,420, or a solid $4,788 per playdate with a nearly $3 million cume.

Magnolia expanded docu “Capturing the Friedmans” by 33 locations for a total 38 and grossed $225,000, a sturdy $5,921 per site with cume of $430,000.

Thinkfilm docu “Spellbound” added seven engagements for a total 84 and grossed $329,828, or $3,926 per playdate with a $1.6 million cume.

Newmarket broadened drama “Whale Rider” by two theaters for a total 11 and grossed $165,061, or an impressive $15,005 per venue with a $360,716 cume. “Whale” rides to 73 locations Friday.

And United Artists broadened drama “Together” by 17 engagements for a total 42 and grossed $141,000, or $3,359 per playdate with a cume of $409,000.

“Nemo” eyes $300 mil

Disney execs were understandably giddy over a “Nemo” market hold of sufficient strength to put family tooner on track for a domestic run of $275 million-$300 million.

“It’s fin-tastic Father’s Day gift,” Mouse’s distrib boss Chuck Viane enthused. Brass at Sony and Revolution Studios were not so happy with the “Homicide” weekend.

“Certainly it’s disappointing,” Sony distrib prexy Rory Bruer allowed.

“It wasn’t for lack of trying,” Revolution partner Tom Sherak observed. Pic’s marketing campaign alternated commercials keying on comedic and action elements, Sherak said, but not enough moviegoers responded to either approach. An older-skewing demo base could help “Homicide” eke livelier grosses from subsequent frames, he said.

“Rugrats Go Wild” did considerably less biz than two earlier “Rugrats” pics though it outpaced Par’s 2002 tooner “The Wild Thornberrys,” whose characters also returned to “Go Wild.”

“It was in the window of what we expected,” Par distrib topper Wayne Lewellen said.

Sanguine reaction to limp bow is largely explained by pic’s modest $25 million negative cost.

Similarly, New Line spokesman John Smith said “Dumberer” opening “was what we were expecting.”

Pic’s negative cost is estimated in the high teen millions, and distrib hopes solid homevid biz will help shape profitability.

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