Laffer lands $40 mil; 'Cars' parks in 2nd

Adam Sandler continues to click with audiences.

Sony’s “Click” grossed a solid $40 million, easily taking the No. 1 spot. Pic did, however, come in behind such recent Sandler comedies as last summer’s “The Longest Yard,” 2003’s “Anger Management” and 1999’s “Big Daddy.”

If studio’s estimate holds up, the “Click” opening will end up in a virtual tie with 2004’s “50 First Dates.” Results come even though “Click” had the widest opening ever for a Sandler film.

On a smaller scale, frame’s other opener had a strong debut. Rogue’s “Waist Deep” took $9.5 million — from primarily African-American auds — at only 1,004 playdates.

In total, weekend was 8% ahead of the same one a year ago, when “Bewitched” had a dismal bow, pushing summer 2006 about half a percent ahead of last year’s season, according to Nielsen EDI.

Sony had been hoping “Click” would be one of Sandler’s best bows, since the movie seemed to be tracking well with families and older moviegoers as well as with the star’s core young aud. Exit polling found the demos were broad — auds were split evenly over and under 25 and by gender, and 40% were families.

Sony distribution prez Rory Bruer said, “$40 million is sweet and I feel very confident about the future of the film.”

“Click” averaged $10,670 at 3,749 theaters; most of Sandler’s comedies end up more than tripling their opening gross.

Despite its hard-core violence, “Waist Deep’s” strong perf primarily rested on the appeal of star Tyrese Gibson to black women.

Eighty-three percent of moviegoers were African-American and 60% were women, with 67% of attendees naming the star as the top reason they saw the pic, released by Focus’ Rogue label.

Per-play average was $9,414.

Last week’s two big openers had major drops. Par’s “Nacho Libre” was down 57% at $12.1 million, showing it likely won’t have the staying power of director Jared Hess’ “Napoleon Dynamite” or star Jack Black’s “School of Rock.” Cume stands at $52.7 million.

“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” declined 62% to $9.2 million, about the same second-weekend fall as the previous franchise entry, “2 Fast 2 Furious,” which had a much bigger opening. Total take for “Tokyo Drift” is $42.6 million.

After experiencing the biggest second-weekend drop for a Pixar toon last weekend, Disney’s “Cars” revved back up this weekend with a modest 33% fall to $22.5 million. That’s a smaller third-weekend drop than for “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” or “Monsters, Inc.”

Still, the $155.9 million cume for “Cars” is well behind both “Nemo” and “Incredibles” after their third weekends.

“The Break-Up” became the first live-action comedy to break $100 million this year, bringing its cume to $103.7 million.

Small stuff

In limited release, First Look released “Kids” helmer Larry Clark’s “Wassup Rockers,” to a boffo $29,500 in an exclusive engagement at Gotham’s Angelika. It expands to L.A. and Chicago on Friday.

“Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” grossed a solid $17,000 at one theater in New York for Lionsgate, bringing cume since its Wednesday opening to $25,240. It hits L.A. on Friday.

Roadside Attractions opened “The Road to Guantanamo” to a less impressive $65,175 at 15 locations, or $4,345 per play.

After a boffo bow last weekend, IFC and the Weinstein Co.’s docu “Wordplay” had a decent second frame, taking in $326,500 from 45 theaters, giving it a $7,255 per-play average and bringing its cume to $377,980. It’s skedded to play between 75 and 100 theaters in the top 30 markets next weekend.

First Independent opened post-9/11 ensemble story “The Great New Wonderful” to a so-so $40,000 at eight theaters, averaging $5,000. Pic did particularly well at Gotham’s Angelika, though, taking in more than $13,000 there.

Total box office for 2006 is now 3% ahead of 2005 at the same point.

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