SUNDAY: Lousy box office at movie theaters was the entertainment story this weekend as Sony yet again boasts the No. 1 movie. Audiences continued their lust for horror movies as The Covenant opened with $3.1 million in 2,681 theaters Friday and $3.6 mil Saturday for a $9 million weekend. (It was Sony’s 9th Numero Uno debut of the year, which ties the record. The studio hopes to break it next week with The Rock’s heavily hyped Gridiron Gang.) Focus Features’ well-reviewed Hollywoodland, starring Ben Affleck in what was being billed as his big return to the big screen after a long absence, had a disappointing opening in second place with $1.8 million from 1,548 theaters for what was only a $6 million weekend. Critics loved Affleck’s performance, and in a huge surprise he won Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for the role. But maybe moviegoers wanted Ben The Pin-up back, since he packed on 28 pounds to play this role of old Superman TV star George Reeves. This lack of interest in “old Hollywood” mystery-themed movies doesn’t bode well for next weekend’s The Black Dahlia. Meanwhile, The Weinstein Company (those brothers who brought you Miramax) is still looking for a hit as their pickup The Protector earned $1.8 million from 1,451 theaters for what was only a $5 million debut weekend. Disney‘s Mark Wahlberg football film Invincible ended the weekend No. 3, earning $5.9 million. Lionsgate’s Crank added $1.4 million for a $4.7 mil weekend. And, rounding out the Top Five, Fox Searchlight’s well-reviewed Little Miss Sunshine earned another $1.2 mil for what was a $4.6 mil weekend. Meanwhile, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on Friday joined Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as the only movies ever released to top $1 billion in worldwide grosses. (All weekend figures include Sunday estimates.)
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