‘Anger’ drives Sony to April B.O. win

Niche pix 'Beckham,' 'Luck,' 'Wind' perform well overall

Sony dominated the April box office with a take of $141 million thanks to Revolution’s laffer “Anger Management.”

March 31-April 29 frame chalked up $542 million, 1% below the April 2002 record of $549 million.

“A percent off from last year isn’t too bad,” said Dan Marks, exec VP of Nielsen EDI. “April is typically a weak month. It’s the second worst frame for releases that eventually garner over $100 million.”

Next to “Anger Management,” only two April pics have become members of the century B.O. club: 1993’s “Indecent Proposal” ($107 million) and last year’s sleeper “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” ($241 million).

Since April is traditionally a slow month, studios hold off on unspooling product with high B.O. prospects, opting to bow them in summer.

On the other hand, specialty films such as “Bend It Like Beckham” and “Better Luck Tomorrow” have been generating decent results in under 500 engagements.

During the weekend of April 18-20, five theaters bowing “A Mighty Wind” ranked in Nielsen EDI’s list of top 10 engagements — a remarkable feat as this list is usually populated with some of the frame’s widest openers.

“Specialty films get a break when broad releases do not find broad auds,” said Marks. “If nothing else is enticing to auds out there, they’ll give an eye to arthouse releases.”

The top 10 of April ’02 was populated with a bulk of action-thrillers. With 81% of the schools off on Good Friday, distribs programmed youth skewing pics such as “Holes” and “What a Girl Wants” around the holiday frame. These pics have played far more solidly among their demos than previous April ‘tween pics such as 2001’s “Josie and the Pussycats” ($14 million) and 2000’s “Ready to Rumble” ($12 million).

Last month’s top films included Sony-Revolution’s “Anger Management,” $105 million; Fox-New Regency’s “Phone Booth,” $41 million; Disney’s “Holes,” $37 million; Warner Bros.’ “What a Girl Wants,” $33 million; Disney’s “Bringing Down the House,” $26 million; New Line’s “A Man Apart,” $25 million; Warner Bros.’ “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” $24 million; DreamWorks’ “Head of State,” $23 million; MGM’s “Bulletproof Monk,” $20 million; and Miramax’s “Chicago,” $19 million.

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