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‘Who’ Wins Again at the Box Office

March 24, 2008

Audiences are still listening to Horton and his Who pals.

“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who,” 20th Century Fox’s animated adaptation of the beloved children’s book, remained the top movie for a second straight weekend with $25.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Featuring the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, the movie raised its 10-day total to $85.5 million.

“Horton” fended off a rush of new movies opening over Easter weekend.

Lionsgate’s “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” about a single mom who connects with previously unknown kin at her late father’s funeral, opened in second place with $20 million.

It was the latest success for writer-director and co-star Perry, whose past hits for Lionsgate include “Madea’s Family Reunion” and “Why Did I Get Married?” Shot on modest budgets, Perry’s movies play to a built-in fan base.

“You kind of know what you’re going to get with Tyler Perry, and that’s a good thing,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. “You want to be in business with this guy because he’s going to make you money every time.”

“Shutter,” 20th Century Fox’s fright flick about a newlywed couple tormented by a spirit whose image appears in their photos, opened at No. 3 with $10.7 million.

Just behind it at No. 4 was Owen Wilson’s comedy “Drillbit Taylor,” which pulled in $10.2 million. The Paramount release stars Wilson as a laid-back homeless guy who signs on as bodyguard for three bullied teenage nerds.

The acclaimed “Under the Same Moon,” a border tale about a Mexican boy trying to reunite with his mother in the United States, was No. 10 with $2.6 million, a record opening weekend for a Spanish-language film. Released by Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co., the movie has taken in $3.3 million since opening Wednesday and also took in $1.7 million in Mexico, where it debuted this weekend.

“Under the Same Moon” surpassed the previous Spanish-language record set by “Ladron Que Roba a Ladron,” which opened with $1.6 million last Labor Day weekend.

Both movies opened in far more theaters – “Under the Same Moon” at 266, “Ladron” at 340 – than typical Spanish-language films, which generally debut in a handful of cinemas before gradually expanding to wider release if they click with movie-goers.

“We thought this was a movie that could play as a commercial movie, not as an arthouse movie, to Spanish-language audiences,” said Peter Rice, Fox Searchlight president.

The movie started mainly in theaters catering to Spanish speakers. But it also enjoyed strong word-of-mouth publicity in cinemas dominated by English-language crowds, where business picked up strongly over the course of the weekend, said Weinstein Co. co-founder Harvey Weinstein, whose had found success with foreign-language films such as “Cinema Paradiso” and “Amelie” when he ran Miramax.

Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co. plan to gradually roll “Under the Same Moon” out to more theaters in the coming weeks.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who,” $25.1 million.

2. “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” $20 million.

3. “Shutter,” $10.7 million.

4. “Drillbit Taylor,” $10.2 million.

5. “10,000 B.C.,” $8.7 million.

6. “Never Back Down,” $4.9 million.

7. “College Road Trip,” $4.6 million.

8. “The Bank Job,” $4.1 million.

9. “Vantage Point,” $3.8 million.

10. “Under the Same Moon,” $2.6 million.

On the Net:

http://www.mediabynumbers.com

Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Rogue Pictures are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co. (GE); Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp. (SNE); DreamWorks, Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc. (VIAB); Disney’s parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp. (NWS); Warner Bros., New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse are units of Time Warner Inc. (TWX); MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC)




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