SUNDAY UPDATE: Sony’s animated kiddie fare Open Season kicked butt this weekend for No. 1. It was an embarrassing loss for Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner despite Disney’s heavy promotion of their Coast Guard action/adventure The Guardian. (So what did we learn? That Costner’s career is definitely toast, while Kutcher’s appeal is limited.) Opening in 3,833 theaters, Sony’s “when the hunted become the hunters”, starring a domesticated grizzly bear and a scrawny mule deer, earned $23 million this weekend thanks to an expected rug rats’ Saturday bump. It was Sony’s 11th No. 1 opening this year, and Sony’s 10th film of the year to open to more than $20M — a gargantuan feat of marketing muscle. By contrast, The Guardian, in 3,241 theaters, made only $17.8 million its debut weekend. The two movies sucked the life out of the rest of this weekend’s box office. The third-place movie, Jackass 2, took in $14 mil for a $51.4 cume. Meanwhile, the AP reported that a small-town Illinois theater owner shut down for two weeks rather than show Jackass 2 or other new releases that he calls “drivel.” The Lorraine Theatre in downtown Hoopeston reopened Friday showing Disney’s football biopic Invincible. The owner said he’ll shut down again if faced with a similar batch of films, even though contractual issues with the studios — such as guarantees on first-week receipts — sometimes limit his options. “I just didn’t think I should use my high-quality facilities to show people vomiting on screen,” he noted. No. 4 was The Weinstein Co/MGM’s School for Scoundrels, which opened in 3,004 theaters for an anemic $8.5 mil weekend. (Remember when star Billy Bob Thornton used to appear in important pics instead of teen drivel?) Finally, in fifth place, holdover Jet Li’s Fearless from Rogue/Focus Pictures added $4.8 mil for a $17.9 mil cume.
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