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Monday, April 27, 2009

'Obsessed' paces box office with $28.5m debut, April 24-26, 2009

Sony Screen Gems hit the jackpot with their heavily marketed thriller Obsessed, which scorched the box office with $28.5 million, more than doubling its next closest competitor. Starring Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba, and Ali Larter, the debut finished off a record breaking April, once again finishing an impressive 30% higher than last year's comparable frame. Thanks to an edgy premise (a happily married black couple jeopardized by an obsessed sexy white temptress) and a rather hefty marketing campaign, Obsessed averaged an incredible $11,337 in 2,514 theaters. It was remarkably the seventh biggest April bow in history, as well as the second biggest in studio history, behind Streen Gems' 2005 thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose with $30.1 million. Budgeted at a modest $20 million, the already profitable PG-13 rated pic was poorly reviewed by critics.

Zac Efron's comedy 17 Again slipped 51% in its sophomore frame to $11.7 million, bringing its ten day take to a solid $40 million. At its current pace the PG-13 hit should finish with $70 million domestic.

Debuting in third was the action drama Fighting, which brought in $11.4 million. Starring Step Up's Channing Tatum, the Rogue Pictures release averaged $4,955 in 2,309 theaters. Released in 2006, Step Up bowed with $20.6 million on its way to $65 million. Fighting's prospects to repeat that total seem slim to none.

The most disappointing performance this weekend came from Paramount's drama The Soloist, which couldn't shrug off weak reviews finishing in fourth with $9.7 million. Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, the PG-13 pic based on a real life journalist and musician friendship, averaged $4,800 in 2,024 theaters. Budgeted at $60 million largely because of its two high-priced stars, The Soloist will have real trouble breaking $25 million domestic.

Rounding out the top five was Disney's Planet Earth wannabe Earth, which took in $8.6 million this weekend. Averaging $4,742 in 1,804 theaters, the G-rated documentary launched Wednesday (consequently on Earth Day), bringing in a very impressive $14.2 million over the five-day frame. The $8.6 million weekend haul was the second biggest opening ever for a documentary behind only 2004's Fahrenheit 9/11, which debuted with $23.9 million. It is already the second highest grossing nature-themed documentary in history, behind only 2005's March of the Penguins with $77.4 million.

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