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B.O. shows bite

Vampire sequel tops; 'Mountain' hot

Sony’s Screen Gems horror pic “Underworld: Evolution” sunk its teeth into a boffo $27.6 million over the weekend, dominating a full slate at the box office.

While “Brokeback Mountain” was expanding its range, few made the passage to “The New World” or checked out Christian pic “End of the Spear.”

Meanwhile, “Hoodwinked” successfully expanded, “Walk The Line” crossed the $100 million mark, while “Munich” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” continue to struggle.

In limited release, nobody really seemed to be “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” while “Match Point” and “Transamerica” both had healthy expansions.

“Evolution” averaged $8,606 per play at 3,207 locations. Gross was well above the $21.8 million bow for the original “Underworld” in September 2003.

Big opening comes after similarly strong bows for Lionsgate’s “Hostel” and “Saw II.”

Following its success at the Golden Globes, Focus Features nearly doubled the print count for “Brokeback Mountain” to 1,196 and got a 35% B.O. boost to $7.8 million, making it No. 5.

Weekend also proved that a movie about two cowboys in love can indeed play in Peoria. “Brokeback” grossed $11,000 Friday and Saturday in the mythically meaningful Midwestern burg.

Pic’s average was $6,548 per play and cume is $42.1 million. Focus is set to add another 250 prints next week, with an ever bigger jump possible after the Oscar nominations Jan. 31.

Meanwhile, “Munich” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” remain two of the holiday season’s big disappointments. Steven Spielberg helmed historical drama dropped 38% to $3.1 million in its third wide frame. Cume is $38.1 million.

Sony’s adaptation of the bestselling novel fell 35% to $2.8 million in its fifth weekend wide, pushing its total take to just $51.3 million.

Every Tribe Entertainment and Rocky Mountain Pictures’ “End of the Spear” bowed to a weak $4.7 million at 1,162 theaters, putting it in eighth place. Per-play average for the story of Christian missionaries in Ecuador was $4,055.

Terrence Malick’s “World” had a better average, but just barely managed to crack the top 10 as it opened in only 811 theaters after a two week run at three in December.

Helmer cut 15 minutes from the slow-moving pic for its wide release, but the New Line negative pickup still managed to gross only $4.3 million, giving it a per-playdate average of $5,240 and cume of $4.4 million.

All three second-week holdovers saw relatively modest drops.

“Hoodwinked” was by far the best, as Weinstein Co. grew its print count from 2,394 to 3,002 following a better-than-expected bow. Toon fell just 11% as a result, grossing $11.1 million in second place. Per-play average was $3,690 and cume is $29.3 million.

In third place, “Glory Road” declined 33% to $9.1 million. Disney basketball drama averaged $3,813 at 2,396 playdates, bringing its cume to $28.1 million.

Par’s “Last Holiday” was a hair behind, grossing $9.1 million at 2,514 theaters, down 29%. Per-play take was $3,620 and cume is now $26.4 million.

Sony’s “Fun With Dick and Jane” continues to show strong legs as it broke the $100 million mark this weekend. Jim Carrey starrer fell 30% to $6.1 million, averaging $2,159 at 2,826 playdates. Cume is $101.7 million.

Though it was out of the top 10, Fox saw a huge 77% jump for Golden Globe winner “Walk the Line,” which added 261 playdates. Pic took $3.1 million at 1,125 theaters, averaging $2,756 and bringing the cume to $102.1 million.

Albert Brooks’ “Looking for Comedy” grossed a dismal $455,000, taking just $2,826 per playdate at 161 locations. It remains to be seen whether WiP will go through with a planned February expansion for the pic given the weak start.

Woody Allen’s “Match Point” isn’t losing steam thus far. DreamWorks upped the dark drama’s print count from 312 to 441 and got a 50% B.O. boost as a result, grossing $3 million. Per-play average was a healthy $6,825 and cume is now $10.2 million.

“Match Point” is the first Woody Allen pic to cross $10 million domestically since “Small Time Crooks” in 2000.

Also spiking was “Transamerica.” The Weinstein Co. added 29 playdates following star Felicity Huffman’s Golden Globe victory and pic got 241% B.O. growth as a result, taking $309,858 at 38 theaters. Average was $8,154 per play and cume is $870,106.

Sony Pictures Classics added 218 prints for “Capote” to capitalize on Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Globes win and more than doubled its gross, taking $925,264 at 348 playdates. Average was $2,659 and cume is $14.2 million after 17 weeks.

Frame was up a very healthy 23% over the same one last year. 2006 is thus far ahead 2% compared to 2005, according to Nielsen EDI.

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