WB’s on the march

Darkhorse hits give studio monthlong B.O. win

Warner Bros.’ trio of surprise hits “The Whole Nine Yards,” “My Dog Skip” and “Romeo Must Die” propelled the studio to a victory in the March B.O. market share race.

With $87.2 million in the Feb. 28-March 30 span, Warners captured 17.6% of the total market. That tally edged Disney, which posted $84.5 million and 17%.

Frame’s top grosser by far was Universal’s “Erin Brockovich,” which has topped the weekend standings three straight times. The Julia Roberts starrer pulled in $62 million in March, putting it well ahead of the Mouse House’s “Mission to Mars,” which collected $51.1 million.

Overall, March receipts of $496 million repped a 7.4% increase over the $461.7 million recorded in the comparable span a year ago.

‘Skip’s’ wow bow

“Nine Yards” won three straight B.O. crowns for Warners, but about half of its $54.8 million heading into last weekend came in February. The G-rated “Skip” cost less than $10 million to make and has already fetched $28 million.

“Romeo,” another sleek actioner produced by WB hit man Joel Silver, nearly unseated “Brockovich” as B.O. champ, but runner-up status didn’t tarnish its $29.5 million March take.

Universal, despite the manna from Roberts, wound up a distant third place, with $64.7 million and 13% market share. Still, that was an improvement over its No. 6 showing for the entire first quarter.

Disney notched a decisive win in the January-March period, with 15.4% of the business.

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