Box Office News

Box Office Analysis, April 24: ‘Hill’ Silences ‘Scary Movie’

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Apr 24, 2006 | 5:19am EDT

Moviegoers made their voices heard this weekend. Grossing a noisy $20.2 million at the North American box office in its debut weekend, the video game-turned-movie fright flick Silent Hill took the top spot away from reigning champ, the horror spoof Scary Movie 4, which slipped to second place with $17 million.

Sony Pictures scored its fourth No. 1 opening of the year with Silent Hill, despite the fact it wasn’t pre-screened for critics--a move by studios to thwart negative press prior to a film's opening. According to The Associated Press, two-thirds of the audience for Silent Hill was under 25, an age group less likely to pay attention to reviews. Horror genres also tend to be critic-proof, pulling in fans over opening weekends despite neagtive reviews.

Meanwhile, the new White House assassination tale The Sentinel, starring Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland and Eva Longoria, opened in No. 3 with a fair $14.6 million, while the Hugh Grant American Idol parody American Dreamz, premiered in the lowly eighth position with a paltry $3.7 million.

After a dismal 2005, when movie attendance fell 8 percent, Hollywood looks to be heading into a potentially big summer. A surge over the past month has attendance running 4 percent ahead of last year's, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told AP.

"This is exactly where the industry wants to be as we approach the biggest moviegoing season of the year," Dergarabedian said. "It's night and day from where we were last year."

The Top 12 films this week grossed an estimated $100.3 million, down 8.64 percent from last weekend’s total of $109.8 million but up 22.05 percent from last year's draw of $82.2 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: Universal’s PG-13 rated The Interpreter, which debuted at No. 1 with $22.8 million in 2,758 theaters, averaging $8,275 per theater; MGM’s R-rated The Amityville Horror, which dropped to second place in its second week with $13.7 million in 3,323 theaters, averaging $4,125 per theaters; and Paramount’s PG-13 Sahara, which dropped to third place in its third week with $9 million in 3,200 theaters, averaging $2,821 per theaters (Click here to read last year's box office report).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: Silent Hill (Sony Pictures, R)

• Gross: $20.2 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2,926

• Per-theater average: $6,904

No. 2: Scary Movie 4 (Weinstein Co., PG-13)

• Gross: $17 million (-58%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 3,674

• Per-theater average: $4,636

• Cume to date: $67.6 million

No. 3: The Sentinel (20th Century Fox., PG-13)

• Gross: $14.6 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2,819

• Per-theater average: $5,197

No. 4: Ice Age: The Meltdown (20th Century Fox, PG)

• Gross: $12.8 million (-36%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 3,540 (-333)

• Per-theater average: $3,616

• Cume to date: $167.8 million

No. 5: The Wild (Disney, G)

• Gross: $8 million (-17%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,854 (unchanged)

• Per-theater average: $2,821

• Cume to date: $21.9 million

No. 6: The Benchwarmers (Sony Pictures, PG-13)

• Gross: $7.3 million (-26%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 3,094 (-188)

• Per-theater average: $2,359

• Cume to date: $47.1 million

No. 7: Take the Lead (New Line Cinema, PG-13)

• Gross: $4.2 million (-37%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 2,413 (-596)

• Per-theater average: $1,761

• Cume to date: $29.5 million

No. 8: American Dreamz (Universal., PG-13)

• Gross: $3.7 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 1,500

• Per-theater average: $2,467

No. 9: (TIE) Inside Man (Universal, R)

• Gross: $3.7 million (-42%)

• Weeks opened: 5

• Theaters: 2,021 (-456)

• Per-theater average: $1,831

• Cume to date: $81.2 million

No. 10: Friends with Money (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

• Gross: $3.5 million (+380%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 991 (+949)

• Per-theater average: $3,584

• Cume to date: $5.3 million

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