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Yard Stays On Top; Museum Still Second

Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for January 19-21, 2007

By John Hamann

January 21, 2007

I do. I do blame it on the rain.

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Finishing fourth is our first new entry into the top ten in the form of The Hitcher, the horror remake of the 1986 classic that starred Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Audiences either didn't remember how good the original was, or didn't care, as this version earned only $8.2 million this weekend despite debuting on 2,831 venues. It had a sorry venue average of $2.907, and with four new releases coming next weekend, could see a quick exit from the top ten. Critics said there was nothing to scream about and audiences listened. At RottenTomatoes, only 37 critics chimed in on this one. Of those, only nine liked it, leaving it with a 24% fresh rating. Take my word for it: Rent the original instead.

Fifth spot goes to another Christmas holdover in the form of Will Smith and his Pursuit of Happyness. Pursuit continued to churn this weekend, earning another $6.7 million from a still huge venue count of 3,066. This Sony film continues to hold strongly, as it dropped only 25% from last weekend. TPOH has now grossed $146.5 million, and could finish with as much as $170 million on the domestic front.

Paramount's Freedom Writers is our number six film, as the Hilary Swank flick seems to be finding its audience. Freedom Writers earned $5.6 million, off only 24% from the previous frame. Its total so far is not ground-breaking at $26.9 million, but it should finish above $40 million, which should keep the suits at Paramount happy, as this one was made for a little over $20 million.

Finishing seventh is a buzzy film being released by Picturehouse, a division of New Line Cinema and HBO. After three weekends of impressive limited release, Pan went wide this weekend, reaching a venue count of 609 sites. The expansion worked to an extent, as the goth fairy tale earned $4.7 million, and had a venue average of $7,750. Critics love this subtitled Spanish flick from Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2). At RottenTomatoes, 135 reviewers have chimed in on this one, and only five gave it a thumbs down. That's a 96% fresh rating - making it one of the best reviewed films of 2006. If good word-of-mouth follows this release, it could see some more decent results. Currently, it has earned $10.2 million.

Children of Men lands in eighth, as it has a rougher ride than Freedom Writers since both opened to similar opening figures. Children of Men earned $3.7 million this weekend from 1,524 venues, and was off 41% from the previous frame. The Clive Owen flick has grossed $27.5 million since opening three weekends ago.




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Finishing ninth is Golden Globe royalty The Queen, as Helen Mirren took dramatic actress award on Monday along with the film's screenplay. This movie has been open since September, and last weekend only had 344 venues to work with (but still grossed over $1 million). This weekend the venue count shot up to 1,586 and the gross went up with it, as The Queen earned $3.7 million, its best showing so far in its run. This is another film that got a great boost from The Golden Globes, and should see another boost when Oscar nominations are released. Having earned $30 million from late September to last weekend, The Queen now sits with a domestic gross of $35.9 million, and has also already earned over $35 million on foreign shores.

Rounding out the top ten this weekend is one of last weekend's misses in Arthur and the Invisibles, the Luc Besson-directed animated film. Arthur and the Invisibles earned $3.1million in its second frame, and was off a decent 28% compared to its debut weekend. The MGM release now has a cume of $9.3 million.

Overall, things aren't so hot at the box office. The top ten earned a not-so-good $70.8 million. That compares miserably with last year's tally of about $88 million, when Underworld: Evolution ruled the box office with an opening take of $26.9 million.


Top Ten for Weekend of January 19-21, 2007
Rank
Film
Number
of Sites
Percentage Drop from Last Week
Estimated
Gross ($)
Cumulative
Gross ($)
1 Stomp the Yard 2,051 -39% 13.3 41.6
2 Night at the Museum 3,483 -24% 13.0 205.8
3 Dreamgirls 2,214 +4% 8.7 78.1
4 The Hitcher 2,831 New 8.2 8.2
5 The Pursuit of Happyness 3,066 -25% 6.7 146.5
6 Freedom Writers 2,286 -24% 5.6 26.9
7 Pan's Labyrinth 609 +117% 4.7 10.2
8 Children of Men 1,524 -41% 3.7 27.5
9 The Queen 1,586 +233% 3.7 35.9
10 Arthur and the Invisibles 2,228 -28% 3.1 9.3

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