‘Pirates’ still on top despite drop

'Knocked Up' delivers healthy bundle

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” easily sailed to No. 1 again but took a big plunge in its second outing, while “Knocked Up” was glowing after a healthy $29.3 million bow for the low-budget comedy.

Third installment of Disney’s hugely successful franchise grossed $43.2 million. Pic declined 62% from its boffo opening vs. 54% last summer for the soph session of the second “Pirates” pic, though this year’s comparison was tougher since “World’s End” opened on a holiday weekend.

Drop was identical to that of “Spider-Man 3” and lower than the 67% decline for “X-Men: The Last Stand” after Memorial Day weekend last year.

“That’s the nature of what our business is nowadays,” said Disney distrib prexy Chuck Viane. “With so many seats and show times on opening weekend, nothing can happen for a blockbuster but this kind of fall.”

After 10 days, “World’s End” has cumed $216.5 million. Though very impressive, total is well behind that of last year’s “Dead Man’s Chest,” which still holds the 10-day record of $258.4 million. “Spider-Man 3” grossed $240.2 million in its first 10 days.

Universal’s “Knocked Up” had a very healthy perf given a studio-pegged budget of $30 million. Its $29.3 million bow is significantly higher than the opening for the last Judd Apatow-helmed pic, 2005’s “40 Year-Old Virgin,” which debuted with $21.4 million and went on to cume $109 million.

Moviegoers were 57% female and two-thirds couples, showing that the romantic themes clicked with auds. U was particularly pleased at the 18% jump in grosses from Friday to Saturday, a sign pic may have staying power like “Virgin.”

“Every indication is that it will have legs,” said U domestic distribution president Nikki Rocco.

Comedy averaged $10,200 per screen at 2,871 locations.

MGM’s “Mr. Brooks” had a relatively soft bow in line with expectations. Kevin Costner starrer grossed $10 million at 2,453 theaters, giving it a per-play take of $4,085.

Picturehouse opened soccer pic “Gracie” to a weak $1.4 million at 1,164 playdates.

“Shrek the Third” fell 50% on its third weekend to $26.7 million. DreamWorks Animation toon has cumed $254.6 million.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight opened Russian sci-fi sequel “Day Watch” to $46,324 at five theaters in three cities. Per-play average was $9,265. On Friday, it expands to eight more cities.

Irish import “Once” tripled its print count to 60 and took in $450,650, or $7,511 per play. Cume is just over $1 million.

Miramax added one theater for Italy’s “Golden Door” in its second week and took in $33,000 at three locations, giving it an average of $11,000 and bringing cume to $78,915.

Sony Pictures Classics expanded Japanese toon “Paprika” from two to eight plays and grossed $59,309, taking in $7,413 per location. Cume after 10 days is $116,593.

SPC also expanded Luc Besson-helmed “Angel-A” from seven to 12 theaters on its second weekend. Pic grossed $21,933, or $1,827 per theater, bringing cume to $70,204.

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