‘Road’ paves way in tepid B.O. frame

Holiday weekend sees overall weak frame

Solid bows for “Glory Road” and “Last Holiday” and a surprisingly strong showing by “Hoodwinked” made for a tight race atop the charts over the first three days of the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, “Munich” isn’t showing strong legs, quickly fading out of the top 10 in its second week of wide release.

Frame was weak overall as all three pics came in well behind market dominators on the holiday last year, “Coach Carter” and “Meet the Fockers.”

Disney’s “Glory Road” was just ahead of Paramount’s “Last Holiday,” nabbing $13.5 million compared with the latter’s $13 million. CGI toon “Hoodwinked,” the first family film from the Weinstein Co., opened well ahead of industry expectations with $12.2 million. Frame’s other debut, historical romance “Tristan & Isolde” from Fox, grossed a weaker $6.6 million.

Mouse House’s sports drama played to a mostly adult aud, though nearly 20% of moviegoers were teens, higher than studio expected. Despite the sports theme, gender split was nearly even.

“We were hoping to get into the teens for the whole weekend, so it’s nice to have already cracked it,” said Disney domestic distribution prexy Chuck Viane.

Per play average was $6,062 at 2,222 locations.

Queen Latifah starrer “Holiday” came in just behind, with an aud expected to tilt toward women and African-Americans. Pic averaged $5,171 at 2,514.

While turning in tiny B.O. compared to tentpole toons from Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks, “Hoodwinked” played surprisingly well. Appealing mainly to families, pic was a distant third on Friday but surged ahead to first place on Saturday thanks to matinees. With kids out of school Monday, it may very well come in first for the four-day weekend.

“We’re very excited given that we probably have the lowest marketing and production budgets for any movie that came out wide,” said Weinstein Co. domestic distrib senior exec VP Mike Rudnitsky. “We’d like to expand to close to 3,000 theaters this week.”

In a positive sign for the legion of indie toon houses gearing up production, Kanbar Entertainment-produced “Hoodwinked” is the first independently made CGI toon to bow successfully since Pixar hit the scene. Last such pic, Vanguard Animation’s “Valiant,” which was distribbed by Disney, opened to just $5.9 million in August.

“Hoodwinked” grossed an average of $5,102 at 2,394 playdates.

Coming in at No. 8, Fox’s young femme-targeted “Tristan” averaged $3,577 per play at 1,845 locations. Studio has relatively modest hopes for the epic romance.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” continues to roar, falling a modest 35% in its sixth frame to take $10.1 million and the No. 4 spot. Disney/Walden adaptation averaged $3,146 per play at 3,224; cume is $261.4 million.

That puts it well ahead of season’s other tentpole, “King Kong,” which declined 42% in its fifth frame. Coming in No. 7, “Kong” grossed $7.3 million at 2,814 locations for an average of $2,590. Domestic cume is $202.8 million, spectacular for most pics but something of a disappointment for U’s costly remake.

Lionsgate scarer “Hostel” fell 51% in its second weekend to $9.6 million. Playing 2,337 locations, average was $4,108; cume is $34.8 million.

Steven Spielberg historical drama “Munich” declined a decent 35% in its second wide frame. But after a disappointing start last week, pic is already out of the top 10, grossing $4.9 million at 1,498 theaters, for a per play average of $3,285. Cume is just $32.8 million.

“Casanova” also couldn’t recover from its rough start last week in wide release, falling 38% to gross $2.4 million, well out of the top 10. Per play average was $2,325 at 1,011 theaters. Cume for the Heath Ledger starrer is $8.6 million.

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