‘Rambo’ outdueled by ‘Spartans’

Fox comedy tops box office with $6.8 million

In a box office smack down between Hellenic soldiers, a mercenary and a Gotham monster, Fox’s new laffer “Meet the Spartans” won the top spot Friday with $6.8 million while Liongate’s “Rambo” slotted second with $6.7 million – the best opening day for Sylvester Stallone.

Flexing its B.O. muscle two decades after its last chapter, “Rambo” topped Stallone’s previous first day record of $6.2 million which was posted by “Rocky Balboa” in December 2006.

Playing in 2,605 theaters, the opening day for “Spartans” is in sync with Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer’s previous multi-hyphenate spoofs, last year’s “Epic Movie” and 2006’s “Date Movie” both of which grossed $6.8 million.  The three-day opening for “Epic” clocked in at $18.6 million while “Date” bowed to $19.1 million.

“Rambo,” which unspooled in 2,751 theaters, will continue to spar with “Spartans” throughout Saturday and Sunday for the weekend’s No. 1 slot.

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Facing the onslaught of four wide entries, Martin Luther King Jr. holiday holdovers, “27 Dresses” and “Cloverfield” both took hits Friday, however “Dresses” looked a bit more attractive to auds than Par’s monster.

Fox-Spyglass’ “Dresses” took third with $4.2 million at 3,074 engagements, down 46% from a week ago and a current cume of $35.9 million.

In fourth, Par’s “Cloverfield” dropped 76% with $4.1 million off 3,411 hardtops and a running eight-day domestic cume of $55.7 million.

Sony-Screen Gems new Diane Lane thriller “Untraceable” registered $3.7 million from 2,368 playdates for fifth place while the weekend’s last wide entry, Par Vantage’s “How She Move” ranked outside the day’s top 10 with $1.2 million from 1,531 theaters.

Among those Oscar best pic nominees reporting Friday, Fox Searchlight’s “Juno” grossed the most with $2.9 million on 2,426, down 5%, and a total cume of $92.8 million.  After jumping its theater count from 389 to 885, Par Vantage’s “There Will Be Blood” popped 51% with $1.26 million, raising its domestic coin to $11.1 million.  Focus Features’ “Atonement” tallied $1 million at 1,400 locales, down 18%, for a running take of $34.9 million.  Miramax’s “No Country for Old Men” stole $614,000 from 1,107 situations, repping an 86% surge and a total domestic haul of $50 million.