January 17, 2006

‘Glory Road’ scores narrow box office victory

By Brian Fuson

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Glory Road" narrowly
took the No. 1 spot at the holiday box office from preliminary
leader "Hoodwinked" when final data were issued Tuesday.

A mere $48,187 separated the two films: Disney's college
hoops saga tallied $16.93 million during the Martin Luther King
Jr. holiday weekend, while the Weinstein Co.'s Little Red
Riding Hood cartoon ended up with $16.88 million.

Both films did much better than originally estimated
because business on Monday turned out to be stronger than
anticipated. When the studios issued projections Monday
morning, "Glory Road" came in with $16.5 million, compared with
$16.6 million for "Hoodwinked."

Projections are not an exact science, and often the final
gross is adjusted down or up slightly when the actual grosses
are reported -- usually down. The projections used by both
distributors in this case were based on what like films did
during previous King four-day holiday weekends.

Meanwhile, Paramount's comedy adventure "Last Holiday"
slipped $200,000 from early estimates, taking the No. 3 spot
with a debut of $15.5 million. The only other wide release was
20th Century Fox's "Tristan & Isolde," which arrived at No. 8
with $7.6 million, down $300,000 from early estimates.

After the box office shuffling was done, it was the
third-highest-grossing King weekend on record. The four-day
gross for the 93 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter was
$154.3 million, down 8% from last year's $168.5 million.

The outlook for "Glory Road" looks bright as the James
Gartner-helmed sports drama scored a dazzling 99% favorable
grade from moviegoers, according to CinemaScore -- a rating
that all but guarantees positive word-of-mouth.

The PG-rated "Glory" skewed male slightly with 57% checking
off that column in exits, and a bit older, with 68% in the
25-and-up category.

The computer-animated "Hoodwinked" was given a positive
grade by a moderate 83% of those polled, according to
CinemaScore. The family comedy was fairly even in the gender
demographic, leaning slightly female, and played younger, with
58% in the under 25 group. As expected, a sizable 49% were
younger than 18.

The Wayne Wang-helmed "Holiday" could hold up in the weeks
to come, as the Queen Latifah vehicle scored a respectable 93%
positive grade. The PG-13 film appealed largely to females,
with 69% comprising that gender, and slightly older, with 60%
in the 25-and-older grouping.

"Tristan" attracted a larger female audience than
"Holiday," with 74% comprising that gender. The romantic drama,
directed by Kevin Reynolds and starring James Franco and Sophia
Myles, found a younger audience this weekend, with 65% in the
under-25 demo.

Golden Globe winners 20th Century Fox's "Walk the Line" and
Focus Features' "Brokeback Mountain" couldn't take advantage of
those kudos this weekend, but look for those awards in
advertisements next weekend. "Brokeback" placed ninth with $7
million from 683 houses, moving the total to $32.1 million, and
"Walk the Line" has grossed $98.3 million to date.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter