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Monday, April 21, 2008

'Forbidden Kingdom' roundhouses its way to $21m, April 18-20, 2008

Appearing together for the first time in their long and storied careers, martial arts legends Jet Li and Jackie Chan fought off the competition with their debut of The Forbidden Kingdom, finishing in the top spot with an estimated $20.9 million. The debut was Jet Li's biggest opening since 1998's Lethal Weapon 4. It was also the best opening ever for a Jackie Chan film outside of the Rush Hour franchise. Averaging a top ten best $6,623 in 3,151 theaters, the PG-13 Lionsgate release attracted a largely young male audience. Reviews were mildly positive (62% on Rottentomatoes.com).

Debuting in second was Universal's well-reviewed R-rated comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which opened with an estimated $17.4 million in second. Budgeted at a modest $30 million, the Judd Apatow produced flick averaged a solid $6,201 in 2,798 theaters. Though the debut was stronger than this spring's Drillbit Taylor ($10.3m), it fell well short of other Apatow hits Superbad ($33.1m), Knocked Up ($30.7m) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($21.4m).

Falling 56% to third was last week's champ Prom Night, which took in $9.1 million. In ten days the $20 million budgeted horror remake has grossed $32.5 million.

Al Pacino's horrifically-reviewed 88 Minutes debuted with just $6.8 million this weekend, averaging $3,136 in 2,168 theaters. The Sony thriller received a painful 6% recommendation rating on rottentomatoes.com, making it one of the most poorly reviewed films of 2008.

Opening in 1,052 theaters was Ben Stein's creationist "documentary" Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which took in a frightening $3.2 million this weekend. Released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, the film averaged $2,997 per theater.

Thanks to a better than expected opening from Forbidden Kingdom, the top ten films grossed an estimated $78.9 million, up 15% from last year's comparable frame when Disturbia held onto the top spot with $13 million. However, it was down 17% from 2006 when Silent Hill opened at No. 1 with $20.2 million.

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