owen-wilson-2.jpgSUNDAY AM: Fox’s family fare holdover Horton Hears A Who! rose to No. 1 again this Easter Weekend with a big $25.1 million haul, this time with $10.2 million Friday, $9.2 million Saturday and an estimated $5.6 million Sunday from 3,961 venues. That gives the Dr. Seuss toon a big box office cume of $86.4 mil after only a week in theaters. Meet The Browns starring writer/director/actor Tyler Perry’s alter ego Madea as well as icon Angela Bassett opened in 2nd place for Lionsgate with $20.2 million this weekend from 2,006 plays. As we’ve seen before with Perry’s pics, 65% of his moviegoers tend to be African-American, though there is still plenty of crossover because of family-oriented themes. Perry further cements his status as one of Hollywood’s most reliable box office brands, A surprise for No. 3 was New Regency’s Thai horror film Shutter, because of its PG-13 rating and aggressive Internet ad campaign. Distributed by Fox, the newcomer took in $10.7 million from 2,753 dates. All easily bested Paramount’s Owen Wilson starrer Drillbit Taylor which placed only 4th: hurt by the star’s refusal to do publicity and the fact it plays young, the PG-13 tween comedy from Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen opened with $10.2 million despite a wide release of 3,056 runs. Meanwhile, I hear that Fox Searchlight/The Weinstein Co’s new release Under The Same Moon, from writer/producer Ligiah Villalobos, had a record-breaking opening weekend for a Spanish language film, with $2.6 million in 266 venues here. It was also crushing in Mexico, making $1.6 million from 350 screens – – #3 behind only Horton and 10,000 BC, and the highest opening for a Mexican title in 2008.

The rest of the Top 10 from Friday’s box office were holdovers. Here’s the chart:

  1. 1. Horton Hears A Who!/Fox $10.2M Fri, $9.2M Sat, $5.6M Sun (cume $86.4M)
  2. 2. Meet The Browns/Lionsgate $8.1M Fri, $7.2M Sat, $4.7M Sun ($20.2M)
  3. 3. Shutter/New Regency-Fox $4.6M Fri, $3.7M Sat, $2.3M Sun ($10.7M)
  4. 4. Drillbit Taylor/Paramount $4.0M Fri, $3.7M Sat, $2.4M Sun ($10.2M)
  5. 5. 10,000 BC/Warner $3.1M Fri, $3.4M Sat, $2.3M Sun ($76.3M)
  6. 6. Never Back Down/Summit $1.8M Fri, $1.7M Sat, $1.1M Sun ($16.7M)
  7. 7. College Road Trip/Disney $1.8M Fri, $1.7M Sat, $1.1M Sun ($32.0M)
  8. 8. The Bank Job/Lionsgate $1.3M Fri, $1.7M Sat, $1.1M Sun ($19.4M)
  9. 9. Vantage Point/Sony $1.3M Fri, $1.5M Sat, $950K Sun ($65.2M)
  10. 10. Under The Same Moon/Fox Searchlight-The Weinstein Co $700K Fri, $1.0M Sat, $872K Sun ($3.3M)

    FRIDAY AM: Weekend Prediction is Madea Will Bully Owen

meetthebrowns_galleryposter.jpgFox’s holdover Horton Hears A Who! should hang on for No. 1 because it’s Easter weekend: expect between $24M-$30M million from 3,961 theaters and the toon to be down only 30% from its huge opening Friday-through-Sunday. Even though Paramount’s Drillbit Taylor is playing in 1,000 more venues, it’s still going to trail badly behind Lionsgate’s Meet The Browns from writer/director/actor Tyler Perry.

As we’ve seen before with Perry’s pics, while 65% of his moviegoers tend to be African-American, there is still plenty of crossover because of family-oriented themes. (Last October, his PG-13 Why Did I Get Married doubled the gross receipts of Triple-A List star George Clooney’s R-rated Michael Clayton.) Perry is now one of Hollywood’s most reliable box office brands, able to tap into a deep reservoir of comedic mayhem and melodrama that his moviegoers love. He’s also critic-proof because his shtick is wearing thin for reviewers. Perry’s movies starring his character Madea do very, very well — and she’s in Meet The Browns alongside class act Angela Bassett. That strong combo is why my analysts predict between high teens and low $20s (as in millions) from 2,006 theaters (although one studio marketer thinks it could get tally close to $30M).

Paramount doesn’t expect its Drillbit Taylor to do much beyond low teens in 3,056 dates, and my box office gurus agree the weekend box office should range from $11M to $14M. Sure, the $30 million movie bears the Judd Apatow-Seth Rogen imprimatur, but as one analyst told me, “you’ve seen this plot a million times.” shutter_galleryposter.jpg(The pic pays homage to Tony Bill’s 1980 classic of this genre My Bodyguard with a cameo by its star Adam Baldwin.) With a running time of only 1 hour, 42 minutes, and just a PG-13 rating (most of Apatow’s fare is R), Drillbit Taylor can withstand star Owen Wilson ducking publicity or those terrible reviews. After all, it’s aimed at the tween boy crowd. “They’re really hard to reach with television, but 12 million of them go to the movies and that’s enough for the movie to play,” one studio marketer told me. “These young people are really viral. If they go and like it, it’ll catch on.”

New Regency’s Shutter (Thai horror without the graphic gore) launched an aggressive web ad campaign to make the review-challenged pic look like The Ring and The Grudge since it comes from the same executive producers. My box office gurus say it’s not in good shape tracking-wise. Distributor Fox only expects $6M but others think it can do $8M-$10M in 2,753 venues because of its PG-13 rating. Basically, this movie only exists to answer the question: Where do the careers of Dawson’s Creek has-beens go to die?

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