Sam J Beats Both Clooney & Pitt at Weekend’s Box Office

LAKEVIEW WITH SAMUEL L. JACKSONSamuel Jackson and Lakeview Terrace has clear look over all comers

By Keith Williams

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) 9/22/08 – Bullying Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers’ comedy hit into second place after only one week at the top, the new thriller Lakeview Terrace intimidated an estimated $15.6 million from 2464 patios, pushing the weekend’s other new releases, My Best Friend’s Girl, Igor and Ghost Town into disappointingly lower slots on the nation’s top ten.

A career best, both critically and commercially for writer/director Neil LaBute, Lakeview Terrace, despite sounding somewhat similar to the 1992 thriller Unlawful Entry, goes a long way to redeeming his credibility after the debacle of The Wicker Man remake. For star Samuel L Jackson, he can now leave snakes and planes well behind him and reassure studios he is still a valid draw at the box-office, given the right material. After last week’s star-studded schedule, a straight-forward B-movie thriller, albeit with pretensions, proves audiences still like a quick thrill, especially those provided by Screen Gems which specialises in marketing this PG-13 style genre so successfully.

Burn After Reading, the film it nabbed the no 1 position from, didn’t drop as disastrously as many expected, taking a smoking $11.3 million on a 41% decline, making it the fourth biggest hit so far on their resume, but drops for Righteous Kill (52.7%) and The Family That Preys (56.8%) were more dramatic, accumulating $7.7 million and $7.5 million respectively. Target audiences for both films appear to have had their fill last week, extending no noticeable word-of-mouth to those even mildly curious.

As for the other three new releases, well it’s only 12 weeks or so to Christmas, so expect middling to blush-making returns for others similarly dumped before the blockbusters hit. My Best Friend’s Girlfriend’s Whatever took even less than industry pundits predicted, roping in an estimated $8.3 million from 2604 love triangles. Are these alleged comedies starting to blur? Which one’s this? Take three stars of medium to increasingly rare appeal, revolve the roles around in a tortured triangle, light the fuse and don’t stand well back as the heat is likely to fizzle more than sizzle.

Nonetheless, MBFG did marginally better than Igor, the latest in those post-modern fairy-tale style 2D animation efforts, which pulled the switch at 2339 laboratories for a less-than-reviving $8 million. Coming in at no 4, at least it drew in some live audiences, while Ghost Town playing in 1505 dental surgeries for $5.1 million appears to have appealed only to the dead, or those in need of fillings. After his mirthless spots in Night at the Museum, For Your Consideration, and Stardust, Ricky Gervais in his first leading role seems to suggest that whereas on TV he’s brilliant, in feature films his comic presence yet again proves out of tone with large-scale, cinematic surroundings.

Amongst holdovers, The Women tumbled 47.5% to bring in $5.3 million, The Dark Knight fell by 28.5% – the lowest drop-off in the Top Ten – for $2.9 million, and The House Bunny, poised for departure from the top ten, a decline of 32.6% for $2.8 million.

Really good news of the week, however, must be reserved for the latest Keira Knightley frock epic, The Duchess, which scored the biggest per-screen-average with $28,932, with a total of $202,527 at 7 palaces. Expect it to revitalize the charts when going wide.

Rank. Movie Title (Distributor)
Weekend Gross | Theaters | Total Gross | Week #

1. Lakeview Terrace (Sony / Screen Gems)
$15.6 million | 2,464 | $15.6 million | 1

2. Burn After Reading (Focus Features)
$11.3 million | 2,657 | $36.4 million | 2

3. My Best Friend’s Girl (Lionsgate)
$8.3 million | 2,604 | $8.3 million | 1

4. Igor (MGM (Weinstein))
$8.0 million | 2,339 | $8.0 million | 1

5. Righteous Kill (Overture Films)
$7.7 million | 3,152 | $28.8 million | 2

SOURCE: HOLLYWOOD TODAY

PHOTO: Daily News