Political thriller snatches $8 million Friday

Moviegoers switched their gaze from Presidents Day holdovers yesterday to Sony’s “Vantage Point.”

Snapping up $8 million from 3,149 theaters, the Pete Travis political thriller is positioned to take the top spot at the weekend box office.

Last weekend’s No. 1 film, “Jumper” took a 57% dive from its previous Friday figure into second place. The Fox-New Regency sci-fi actioner collected $3.8 million from 3,430 engagements moving its cume to $47.4 million.

Disney-Summit’s “Step Up 2 the Streets” lost 53% of its box office beat from last Friday, grossing $3 million in third from 2,480 playdates for a domestic cume of $34.6 million.

Par’s “The Spiderwick Chronicles” charted the softest drop among last weekend’s Presidents Day entries with a -33%. The kid lit pic captured $2.96 million in fourth place from 3,847 for a current running cume of $33.9 million.

Warner Bros.’ “Fool’s Gold” placed fifth, collecting $1.96 million in coin from 3,075, off 49%. In the midst of its third frame, the $48 million domestic B.O. for the Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey headliner is trailing 15% behind the duo’s previous 2003 outing “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” which finaled at $105.8 million.

In its second Friday, U’s “Definitely, Maybe” grossed $1.6 million from 2,220, down 46%, raising its nine-day take to $18.2 million.

Moviegoers checked out Michel Gondry’s “Be Kind Rewind,” spending $1.4 million at 808 hardtops. While the New Line distributed pic landed in seventh, the day’s other frosh fare fell outside the top 10. Lionsgate’s laffer “Witless Protection” arrested few with $660,000 from 1,333 while MGM-Sidney Kimmel’s “Charlie Bartlett” remained an unpopular high school kid with $634,000 off 1,122 theaters.

Of the best picture Oscar nominees that posted reputable results yesterday, Miramax’s “No Country for Old Men” saw a 30% gain over last Friday after expanding its theater count from 925 to 1,101. The Coen Brothers’ film raked in $562,000 raising its domestic haul to $62.4 million. Fox Searchlight’s “Juno” and Par Vantage’s “There Will Be Blood” both saw respective dips of -9% and -6%. “Juno” took eighth place yesterday with $1.1 million off 1,727 and a domestic B.O. of $127.4 million while “Blood” tapped $651,000 from 1,402 for a current take of $33.1 million.

Focus Features’ “Atonement” grossed $291,000 in 755, down 17%, taking its total to $48.5 million. Warner Bros.’ “Michael Clayton” secured $145,000 from 425 locales, down 28%, and a running cume of $48 million.

On the limited front, Friday ticket sales for “U2 3D” swelled 238% after National Geographic upped the pic’s theater count to 686. The concert film rang up $316,000 bringing its domestic B.O. to $4.1 million.

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