October 2, 2005

Foster’s ‘Flightplan’ still tops at box office

By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jodie Foster stayed aloft at the
North American box office for a second weekend as her airplane
thriller "Flightplan" outdistanced some low-flying competition
and overall sales ended a four-week winning streak.

The Walt Disney Co. release sold $15 million worth of
tickets in the three days beginning September 30, according to
studio estimates issued on Sunday. The film's 10-day haul rose
to $46.2 million, and industry observers believe it could add
about $30 million by the time its run ends.

Foster stars as a mother who manages to lose her daughter
aboard a transatlantic flight. The film generated some
additional publicity last week when labor unions representing
most of the nation's 90,000 flight attendants urged their
members to boycott it since it portrays a stewardess and a U.S.
air marshal as terrorists.

The top 10 contained three new releases, and one film
entering the top tier in its second weekend.

"Serenity," a film based on the short-lived
Western-flavored sci-fi TV series "Firefly," opened at No. 2
with $10.1 million, a figure within the modest expectations of
its distributor, Universal Pictures. It marks the feature
directing debut of "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon.

The animated fable "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" slipped one
place to No. 3 with $9.8 million in its second weekend of wide
release. The total for the Warner Bros. release rose to $32.9

"A History of Violence," a thriller starring Viggo
Mortensen and Maria Bello as a small-town couple terrorized by
some gangsters, jumped 14 places to No. 4 with $8.2 million in
its first weekend of wide release. The New Line Cinema release
was directed by Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, and has
earned $9 million after 10 days.

The surfing picture "Into the Blue," a showcase for the
buff bodies of Jessica Alba and Paul Walker, wiped out at No. 5
with $7 million. The film was inherited by Columbia Pictures
after its Sony Corp. parent led a group that acquired the
assets of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer earlier this year.

Disney's true-life golf saga "The Greatest Game Ever
Played," about an amateur who defeated the defending champion
at the 1913 U.S. Open, teed off at No. 9 with $3.8 million.

The best of the limited-release rookies was "Capote," a
critically hailed picture starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as
noted writer Truman Capote. The Sony Pictures Classics release
grossed $349,000 from 12 theaters, and will expand nationwide
on October 28.

Not so promising was "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio,"
starring Julianne Moore as a 1950s housewife who supports her
large family by winning jingle-writing contests. The film, from
closely held DreamWorks SKG, earned $155,000 from 41 theaters.

After four "up" weekends, overall sales were down from the
year-ago period, according to tracking firm Exhibitor
Relations. The top 12 films grossed $75.3 million, down 25
percent from last year, when the animated "Shark Tale" opened
at No. 1 with $47.6 million.

Universal Pictures is a unit of NBC Universal, which is
controlled by General Electric Co.