‘Burn’ edges ‘Perry’ on Friday

Coen bros' film tops box office with $6.5 million

The fall box office sprang to life in its second Friday as four wide bows aimed at adults took the top four spots, led by Ethan and Joel Coen’s “Burn After Reading” and “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys.”

“Burn After Reading” distributed by Focus Features and produced by Working Title, grossed $6.5 million in first place at 2,651 theaters while Lionsgate’s “Family” followed in second with $6.3 million from 2,070. In third, Overture’s cop thriller, “Righteous Kill,” marking the first on-screen pairing of thesps Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in 13 years, collected $5.7 million at 3,152 while Picturehouse’s “The Women,” an update of George Cukor’s 1939 classic film, generated $3.7 million from 2,962 in fourth.

Unlike last weekend when the only wide release “Bangkok Dangerous” clocked a three-day take of $7.8 million, this weekend’s wide releases should each reap higher hauls by Sunday. Nicolas Cage shoot-em up “Bangkok” charted outside the top five yesterday with $730,000, repping a 73% decline and an eight-day cume of $10.8 million.

“Burn After Reading” is on its way to becoming the top opener ever for both the Coens and Focus Features. The spy comedy headlining George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton surpassed the Coens’ previous opening day record of $4.1 million posted by 2003’s “Intolerable Cruelty.” The Coens’ biggest opener to date remains “The Ladykillers” which bowed to $12.6 million in the spring of 2004.

“Burn After Reading” is the fourth wide release for the Coens. Typically their films, such as their previous title, Oscar best pic winner “No Country for Old Men,” are rolled out on a platform basis.

Among Perry’s top first days in the fall, “Family” slots behind the $7.4 million racked up by October’s “Why Did I Get Married?” which opened to $21.4 million. By Sunday, “Family’s” three-day B.O. should be just below “Married’s.” Back in March, Perry unspooled “Meet the Browns” which had an opening day and weekend of $8.1 million and $20 million respectively.

By Sunday, the opening for “Righteous Kill,” directed by Jon Avnet, could potentially match the total cume of the helmer’s previous R-rated Pacino cop thriller “88 Minutes” which finaled at $16.9 million back in the spring. “Righteous Kill” was produced and financed by Millennium Films and Emmett/Furla Films.

Sony’s “House Bunny,” was the only summer film to remain in the top five, coming in behind “Women” with $1.3 million on 2,763, a 24% dip and a total running cume of $39.2 million.

Among specialty releases, Slow Hand Cinema’s Americana doc “Proud American” made $34,000 yesterday from 750 sites. The Warner Independent film “Towelhead” helmed by Oscar winner Alan Ball and released through big Warner chalked up $16,000 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles. With a Friday theater average of $3,924, the drama is expected to have the highest per theater haul for the weekend.