‘Virgin’ territory

U's raunchy romp stays on top vs. 'Grimm'

Doing impressive business in an otherwise sluggish late-summer frame, Universal’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” held onto the top spot for a second week, scoring $16.4 million over the weekend.

Perf was off just 23% from the pic’s opening. Cume on the Steve Carell laffer is $48.7 million.

Though it went into the frame with strong tracking and was ahead of “Virgin” in Friday grosses, Dimension’s “The Brothers Grimm” bowed in the No. 2 spot, posting $15.1 million from 3,087 locations in its opening — lower than expected for the Terry Gilliam-helmed fantasy starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger.

Both of the frame’s other wide openers opened further down the chart. Sony’s underground frightener “The Cave” debuted at No. 6, with $6.2 million from 2,195 venues; Lions Gate’s “Undiscovered” barely registered with just $690,000 from 1,304, placing the pic well out of the top 10.

Other pics in the top five all showed modest drops. In third place was DreamWorks’ plane thriller “Red Eye,” which with $10.4 million was 36% off its opening, lifting cume to $32.7 million. At No. 4 Paramount’s “Four Brothers” brought in $7.8 million, down 37% in its third frame. Cume on the revenge pic is $55.3 million.

New Line’s “Wedding Crashers” rounded out the top five. Playing its seventh weekend, laffer lapped up $6.3 million, down just 22%, pushing cume to $187.7 million.

Warner Independent’s “March of the Penguins” has now grossed more than $50 million, taking in $4.6 million, a drop of 26%, in its 10th weekend. Cume on the nature doc is $55.7 million.

“Virgin” is now the second R-rated laffer to play well this summer. Its 23% drop compares well to the perf of “Wedding Crashers,” which dipped just 24% in its second week.

A passionate performer

“Virgin” is also the first R-rated pic to hold the top spot at the box office two weeks in a row since “The Passion of the Christ” did it back in early 2004.

“The Cave,” co-produced by Lakeshore, didn’t make much noise, but Sony distrib prexy Rory Bruer noted that since North American distrib rights cost about $6.5 million, “we’ll do fine on this.”

Even by late-summer standards, overall business was slow. Nielsen EDI estimates the total weekend’s take at $96 million, 7.6% lower than last year’s comparison frame.

This year’s summer season grosses are $3.367 billion, which is 9.2% behind 2004’s season.

Year to date, 2005 has seen $5.868 billion, 7.8% lower than last year through this point.

In the limited market, the new titles didn’t overwhelm. Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Memory of a Killer” opened to $43,368 from six screens for an average of $7,228.

IFC’s “The Baxter” brought in just $37,708 off of 47 screens, an average of $802 per engagement.

‘Flowers’ blossoms

Among the most promising holdovers, Focus Features’ “Broken Flowers” grossed $1.7 million from 433 engagements, which averages out to $3,880 per screen. The Jim Jarmusch-Bill Murray collaboration has cumed $8.6 million.

Dirty joke doc “The Aristocrats” is slowing a bit as it expands. Thinkfilm pic brought in $708,295 at 225 this weekend, for an average of $3,148. Cume is $3.8 million.

Thinkfilm’s “The Untold Story of Louis Emmett Till” had another good weekend in exclusive play at Gotham’s Film Forum, grossing $9,745. Cume is $30,725.

Sony Classics’ “Junebug,” in its fourth week, counted $270,451 off 55 screens, averaging $4,917 per engagement and bringing cume to $769,480. Label’s “2046,” also in its fourth weekend, brought in $128,202 from 31 venues, for an average of $4,136 per; cume is $637,233. Lions Gate doc “Grizzly Man,” now in its third frame, grossed $355,000 off 86 screens, or an average of $4,128. Cume is $1.2 million.

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