August 15, 2006

“Talladega” is boxoffice pace car

By Nicole Sperling

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Sony Pictures'
"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" was tops at the
North American boxoffice for the second week in a row, though
newcomer "Step Up" from Buena Vista Pictures opened to a
stronger-than-expected number while Paramount Pictures' "World
Trade Center" debuted solidly.

Dimension Films' PG-13-rated horror flick "Pulse" debuted
in the expected range, while Sony's family film "Zoom" didn't.

"Talladega" opened to $22 million for the three-day frame,
slightly lower than the Sunday estimates suggested. The Will
Ferrell starrer dropped 53 percent in its sophomore session,
for a per-screen average of $5,812. Written and directed by
Adam McKay, "Talladega" has earned $90.3 million in its first
10 days of release and should gross $100 million before next

The teen dance drama "Step Up" captured the hearts of girls
across the country. Bowing to an impressive $20.6 million, the
film, from choreographer-turned-director Anne Fletcher,
exceeded industry expectations and set itself up for a strong
theatrical run.

Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" earned $18.7 million
for its three-day period as expected after the film grossed
$4.4 million on its Wednesday opening. After five days in
release, "WTC" has earned $26.5 million.

Dimension's "Pulse," the English-language adaptation of
Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Kairo," earned a
respectable $8.2 million. The film's per-screen average totaled
$3,532 and took a direct bite out of the gross for Lionsgate's
"The Descent." That film, rated R, fell 48 percent in its
second week to earn $4.6 million. It has grossed $17.5 million
since it bowed August 4.


Most films in the top 10 remained in the same order as
Sunday's industry estimates suggested. Universal Pictures'
"Miami Vice" grossed $4.7 million in its third weekend, earning
the seventh spot in the top 10 as opposed to the ninth spot,
where it looked headed on Sunday. Sony's new flick "Zoom"
didn't fare nearly as well, grossing only $4.5 million in its
debut weekend. From Revolution Studios, the family film,
starring Tim Allen, posted a paltry per-screen average of
$1,803 and secured the ninth spot on its opening frame.

"Zoom" didn't earn much love from audiences either. Exit
pollster CinemaScore gave the picture an overall grade of B-.
Kids under 18 liked the film, rating it an A-, while those 25
and older gave it a C.

"Step Up" earned a solid A- from audiences. According to
CinemaScore, the star-crossed dance film attracted a
predominantly young female audience, who loved not only the
subject matter but new "it" guy Channing Tatum.

PG-13-rated "World Trade Center" also received a positive
A- score. The audience was evenly split between men and women,
with 74 percent of the audience older than 25. Most moviegoers
were attracted to the subject matter of heroism on September
11, but star Nicolas Cage and director Stone were also draws.

In limited release, Fabrication Films bowed "Conversations
With Other Women" on 13 screens. Starring Helena Bonham Carter
and Aaron Eckhart, the film earned $466,157 for a per-screen
average of $5,089. ThinkFilm's "Half Nelson" grossed $53,983 on
two screens in New York. The film, starring Ryan Gosling,
boasted an impressive per-screen average of $26,992.

Sony Pictures Classics bowed "House of Sand" on five
screens in New York and Los Angeles. The R-rated Brazilian
drama grossed $31,405 for a per-screen average of $6,281. The
indie distributor also opened its Pedro Almodovar retrospective
on one screen in New York. Titled "Viva Pedro," the special
engagement earned $13,399.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter