'Sentinel,' 'Dreamz' also opening wide

“Silent Hill” is hoping to frighten “Scary Movie 4″ out of first place this weekend.

Sony TriStar’s horror videogame adaptation is aiming for a gross in the high teens. If it follows in the path of “Scary Movie 3,” which declined 58% in its second frame, the latest entry in the spoof franchise should land in the same territory.

Weekend’s other wide openers are Fox thriller “The Sentinel” and U’s satire “American Dreamz,” both of which should be competing with the fourth frame of “Ice Age: The Meltdown” for third place in the $10 million neighborhood.

Sony Pictures Classics is taking “Friends With Money” wide after two very successful limited frames.

Though based on a hit game franchise, “Silent Hill” has been sold as a moody horror pic. As it opens at 2,926 locations, Sony’s hoping it can come close to the performance of its horror hits like “When a Stranger Calls,” which bowed to $21.6 million in February.

Given the videogame imprimatur, “Silent Hill” may lose some teen girls who often turn out for horror films, but it could also gain males in their 20s and 30s who still love their PlayStations.

Fox and Regency bow “The Sentinel,” which should appeal to a primarily adult aud, on 2,819. Despite the relatively high print count, it doesn’t look likely to do as well as the last thriller starring Michael Douglas, “Don’t Say a Word,” which opened to $17.1 million in September 2001.

U will try to pull off the tricky balance of drawing older moviegoers interested in smart satire and younger fans of “American Idol” for “American Dreamz.” Studio doesn’t expect mass appeal, however, as it’s opening at a modest 1,500 playdates.

Last pic from writer-helmer Paul Weitz, “In Good Company,” grossed $14.3 million when it went wide in January 2004, while “About a Boy” did a more modest $8.6 million in May 2002.

Both “Silent Hill” and “American Dreamz” are opening day-and-date in the U.K. via Pathe and UIP, respectively.

“Dreamz” and “Sentinel” should be close Stateside to Fox toon “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” which looks likely to decline to around $10 million in its fourth frame. As of Wednesday, it had cumed $153.6 million, putting it on track to cume a little more than the original, which took $176.4 million domestically.

Overseas, however, “Ice Age: The Meltdown” is far outpacing its predecessor. As of Wednesday, foreign grosses had hit $291 million — that’s $85 million ahead of the final international total for the first “Ice Age.”

Fox Intl. is adding approximately 1,300 screens via launches in Italy, Japan and South Korea to boost its total playdate count to about 9,600 in 60 markets. The distrib had originally planned to open “Meltdown” — known as “Ice Age 2″ in most foreign territories — in July in Japan, but decided to go earlier to take advantage of that market’s Golden Week festivities.

BVI is expanding “Scary Movie 4″ into Germany, Italy and Mexico after the spoof franchise showed decent traction last frame with $9.2 million at 1,070 playdates in eight markets. It’s also widening “Eight Below” with launches in Australia, China and the U.K. after grossing $12.3 million, mostly in Asian markets.

Back in the U.S., SPC is taking “Friends With Money” wide quicker than expected in only its third week. Female friendship drama outperformed expectations its first two frames in limited, averaging $21,048 per play its first weekend and $17,611 its second. Jennifer Aniston starrer will hit 991 theaters this frame, making a gross in the mid to high single digits likely.

In limited release, Magnolia bows Aussie import “Somersault” at five locations in New York and L.A.

(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)

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