promnight_galleryposter.jpgSUNDAY AM: Sony and Fox dominated a modest weekend box office populated by mostly mediocre movies. The Friday-through Sunday domestic gross crowned Sony/Screen Gems’ horror flick Prom Night as the box office king with $22.7 million from 2,700 theaters. That’s exactly what rival studios thought the pic would earn, even though Sony execs were trying to lower expectations to high teens. The PG-13 young-skewing slasher film, a contemporary remake of a cult classic, cost a dirt cheap $20M and was critic proof. For 47% of females under age 25, Prom Night was their first choice. “That’s who drives those PG-13 horror movies. Plus, it’s prom season,” noted a rival studio marketing maven who praised the P&A campaign orchestrated by Screen Gems’ head of marketing Mark Weinstock for such a disgusting film. The marketing campaign included interactive in-theater promotional standees that were so novel, they were the subject of a feature in The New York Times.

streetkings_galleryposter.jpgThat other newcomer, Fox Searchlight’s Street Kings, based on the James Ellroy dirty cop story/script, was a distant #2 with $12 million this weekend from 2,467 venues, even though the R-rated drama starred Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker and Hugh Laurie. But they were wasted in this poorly reviewed film (only 31% positive on Rotten Tomatoes). Its gross was decidedly less than the mid-to-high teens my box office gurus had predicted.

A three-week holdover, Sony’s casino caper pic 21 is showing some legs by clinging to 3rd place with $11 million this weekend from 2,736 sites. Its new cume totals $62.2 mil.

Fox’s week-old family fare Nim’s Island grabbed No. 4 with $9 million this weekend from 3,518 plays, only down 32% without yet taking into account big Saturday kid matinees. Its cume is $25.2M.

smartpeople_galleryposter.jpgStill stumbling is Universal’s Leatherheads, starring George Clooney who fumbled this screwball comedy’s direction and script with moviegoers. It mustered only #5, after a week in theaters, earning a paltry $6.2 million its second weekend in release in 2,771 runs (down 51% from its lackluster opening). Its new cume totals $21.9. Time to punt.

Fox’s Horton Hears A Who! clinched #6 starting its 5th week in release, earning $6 mil this weekend from 3,209 runs for a hefty new cume of nearly $139.6M.

That little Sundance movie Smart People was put in limited release by Miramax in 1,106 theaters because of a good cast consisting of Dennis Quaid (unfortunately, with a beard), Ellen Page and Sarah Jessica Parker in a so-so reviewed dark comedy. It made $4.2 mil this weekend from 1,106 dates.

Rounding out the Top 10, DreamWorks’ thriller The Ruins was 8th ($3.3M for the weekend, cume of $13.5M), The Weinstein Co’s spoof Superhero Movie was 9th ($3.1M for the weekend, cume of $21.2M), and Paramount’s Judd Apatow-produced comedy  Drillbit Taylor ($2M for the weekend, cume of $28.4M)) took 10th.

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