September 6, 2006

“Invincible” fends off mixed bag of newcomers

By Nicole Sperling

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Disney's "Invincible"
edged out newcomers "Crank" and "The Wicker Man" at the North
American box office during the Labor Day holiday weekend,
according to final data issued Tuesday.

However, the two darlings of the weekend were indie films:
"Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Illusionist," which
respectively claimed the fourth and fifth slots.

"Invincible" became the seventh film of the year to hold on
to the top spot for two straight weekends. Grossing $15.43
million for the four-day period, the '70s-set football drama
starring Mark Wahlberg proved as strong as its name. Its 11-day
total rose to $30.07 million.

Lionsgate performed exactly as expected with "Crank," its
R-rated adrenaline rush starring Jason Statham. The thriller
grossed $12.90 million for the four-day period, not as strong
as the $20 million bow for Statham's previous film,
"Transporter 2," which opened at No. 1 during the Labor Day
holiday last year.

The film reached its core audience of young men. Good
thing, too, because exit pollster Cinemascore graded the film a
lowly "C+." Nonetheless, it will be profitable for Lionsgate,
having cost less than $12 million to make.

Warner Bros. Pictures' "Wicker" underperformed, earning
just $11.74 million. Industry insiders had expected the Nicolas
Cage horror remake to open in the midteen range. According to
Cinemascore, "Wicker" scored an "F" with moviegoers. In fact,
only 30% of moviegoers gave the film a positive ranking.

Fox Searchlight's "Little Miss Sunshine" grossed $9.61
million. The indie road-trip film has become a word-of-mouth
hit, earning $35.73 million since it bowed six weeks ago.

"The Illusionist" earned $8.12 million, jumping nine places
as it expended to 971 theaters in its third weekend. Indie
distributor Yari Film Group's period drama stars Edward Norton
as a turn-of-the-century magician. It has earned $12.18 million
to date. Yari intends to expand it next weekend to the
1,200-1,400 theater range.

The weekend's other new release, Sony Pictures' basketball
drama "Crossover" opened at No. 13 with $4.40 million. The
inexpensive urban film, starring Anthony Mackie and Wesley
Jonathan, scored pretty well with its male-dominated audience,
earning a "B" grade from Cinemascore.

In limited release, Samuel Goldwyn Films and Roadside
Attractions opened a new version of "Lassie," which earned
$374,879 in 170 theaters.

20th Century Fox opened the Luke Wilson vehicle "Idiocracy"
in 130 theaters. From writer-director Mike Judge ("Office
Space"), the film grossed a dismal $177,559.

Sony Pictures Classics opened director Zhang Yimou's
"Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles" on five screens; it
earned $36,295 over.

IFC bowed Kirby Dick's documentary "This Film Is Not Yet
Rated" on two screens. The NC-17 film, which examines the
MPAA's movie rating system, earned $37,785.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter