Weekend Wrap-Up for April 20-22, 2007

Sleepy Box Office Waits for Spider-Man

By John Hamann

April 22, 2007

It really is easy to lose one's temper at Wal-Mart.

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The box office geared down again in anticipation of May and a round of blockbusters, the first being Spider-Man 3, now only two weekends away. We had our fourth repeat winner out of the last ten weekends, but Disturbia has little to crow about. New films included Fracture from New Line, Vacancy from Screen Gems, Hot Fuzz from Focus Features and In the Land of Women from Warner Bros. All of these films (minus the hilarious Hot Fuzz) are just filler - neither really good or really bad, starring no one really exciting, and are really just cast-offs for their respective studios.

The number one film for this April weekend is again Disturbia, the fourth film to repeat at number one over the last ten weekends (the others are Blades of Glory, 300, and Ghost Rider). This one is not an event picture like the others, but is number one out of the mess that was released this weekend. In its second frame, Disturbia earned an okay $13.5 million, and was off 39% from the previous weekend. The percentage drop is something that Paramount and DreamWorks will be quite happy with; however, it would have been much higher had any real films been released. The best news here for Paramount is that Disturbia will raise the profile of its star, Shia LaBeouf, prior to the release of the studio's tent pole summer release, Transformers. Also, the Hasbro event flick will have trailers in front of Disturbia, which is targeted at the same audience.


The other good news for Paramount is that Disturbia was really middle of the road in terms of budget size. Director D.J. Caruso (Two for the Money, plus a handful of other forgettable movies) brought Disturbia in for about $20 million, a figure the movie earned in its first weekend of release. The better-than-expected drop may get the thriller up to $60 million, so it will turn into cash for the studio prior to the release of the DVD, which these days is a decent accomplishment for any film released to theatres. So far, Disturbia has earned $40.7 million - but again, the success here is more important for Transformers than Disturbia.

In second place we have Fracture from New Line, another film trying to cash in on The Silence of the Lambs, which was released 16 years ago. Fracture, employing a menacing (but soft) Anthony Hopkins, earned $11.2 million this weekend from 2,443 venues. It had a not-so-great venue average of $4,576, but may have some good things going for it. Along with Hopkins, Fracture also stars recent Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling, so this feature does have the opportunity to draw both old and young. Good news also stems from the critical notices. At RottenTomatoes, 110 critics chimed in on the thriller, and of those 78 liked it enough to give it a positive review. That equals a strong fresh rating of 71%, and user reviews are even better, coming in at 86%. Fracture is from director Gregory Hoblit, who did equally good but also middling successful thrillers like Frequency ($45 million total) and Primal Fear ($56 million total). A good hold next weekend might position this one for a $40 million finish, and may actually serve as decent counter-programming against Spider-Man 3.

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