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Box Office Breakdown: Ticket Buyers Escape to Madagascar 2

Madagascar 2

Move over High School Musical 3. Another family-friendly movie is taking over.

This past weekend, stormed into theaters in a big way. The animated sequel took in a whopping $63.1 million, making it second biggest debuter this year. (The Dark Knight pulled in $75.2 million in July.) The film - which topped its 2005 predecessor by $2.1 million - also had the 7th best opening for a cartoon ever.

In other noteworthy news, last week’s #2 was pushed aside for another R-rated comedy. , starring Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, surpassed expectations to rake in an impressive $19.2 million. That amount nearly doubled what Zack and Miri - this week’s #5 - earned during its first three days. Meanwhile, a movie that was critically-panned did fairly well in its limited release. - the wannabe cult musical featuring Paris Hilton - averaged $6,711 over 8 theaters. That’s a number most of the movies in the Top Ten couldn’t match.

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Box Office Breakdown: High School Musical Makes it Two for Two

High School Musical 3

This past weekend, moviegoers showed very little interest in Halloween-themed fare. Despite several horror options, ticket buyers put a G-rated film on top once again.

Although Friday night was slow for cineplexes everywhere, theater attendance thankfully picked up by Saturday. And while there was tight battle for 2nd place, had an easy fight for #1. One week after its $42 million debut, the Disney feature added another $15.3 million to the bundle.

Coming in second was a movie on the opposite end of the wholesome spectrum. - a movie that narrowly escaped an NC-17 rating - pulled in just over $10 million during the past three days. That turnout placed the raunchy comedy amongst Kevin Smith’s highest debuters. (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back earned $11.1 million in 2001 while 2006’s Clerks II raked in $10.1 million.)

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Box Office Breakdown: High School Musical at the Top of the Class

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

This past week, the multiplexes had a little bit of something for everyone: politics, animals, music, dancing, thrillers, Oscar contenders and even horror. Not surprisingly, this meant a lot of dollars were shelled out in return.

As expected, the big screen debut of had tweeners (and their loving parents) all atwitter. Thanks to a $42 million debut, the G-rated film officially became the best musical opener of all time. (Mamma Mia! - with its $27.8 million - was the previous leader.)

Meanwhile, a film on the other end of the ratings spectrum was scaring up some decent dollars of its own. , which probably could have waited to premiere on Halloween, took in approximately $30 million over the last three days. Although it was pitted against the highly-anticipated Disney sequel, the movie carved out its own audience and raised first place-worthy numbers. Although the series is currently on its fifth life, the 2008 installment came within $4 million dollars of Saw III, the franchise’s best performer to date.

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Box Office Breakdown: Max Payne Outvotes W for #1

Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in Max Payne

Even though was the host of last Saturday’s SNL, it was Mark Wahlberg - a minor player on that same show - who ended up on top.

This past weekend, finally managed to do what no other movie has done yet: take Beverly Hills Chihuahua down. The video game adaptation earned $17.6 million putting nearly $6 million between itself and the family flick.

Surprisingly, a whole Oprah show dedicated to couldn’t provide that star-studded cast enough buzz. Despite a $10.5 million take, the drama still placed behind the four-legged film. (Bee did, though, earn more per theater than any Top Ten entry.) Meanwhile, Oliver Stone’s latest project did a respectable job for a politically-themed movie. W. also raked in $10.5 million this weekend, narrowly missing third place.

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Box Office Breakdown: Chihuahua Refuses to Kneel Down

Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of Lies

Put a couple of Oscar-nominees in a Middle East-based film and what do you get? Answer: Third place.

Despite the star-wattage in Ridley Scott’s new CIA movie, failed to meet expectations this weekend. The Russell Crowe/Leonardo DiCaprio thriller pulled in a surprising $12.9 million for Warner Bros. That turnout is especially low given the film’s reported $100 million budget.

On the flip side, an entry with a relatively small price tag did better than Lies this week. , Sony Screen Gem’s horror contribution, earned $14.2 million and a second place finish. In just three days, the film has already surpassed its $12 million production costs.

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Box Office Breakdown: Beverly Hills Chihuahua is Weekend’s Top Dog

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

On a weekend with seven new wide releases, it was that emerged as Best in Show. The film, one of the few family-oriented titles currently being offered, earned nearly $30 million over the past three days. That amount was enough to easily surpass Eagle Eye, last week’s #1. The talking-dogs feature also gave Disney its best October opening thus far.

Of the other new entries in the Top Ten, one was religion-centric while the other had political overtones. (Could this be an election year?) Coming in at #10 was , the documentary from Bill Maher. Although the movie was only offered in limited release, it pulled in $6,792 per theater. That was the second highest average amongst the chart toppers. Meanwhile, An American Carol, a right-wing satirical comedy, found itself in 9th place.

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Box Office Breakdown: Eagle Eye Soars to #1

Eagle Eye

Despite mixed reviews for his latest film, Shia LaBeouf once again proved he has box office appeal. , a film from Disturbia‘s D.J. Caruso, earned $29.2 million over the past three days and the #1 spot. Even a Friday night presidential debate couldn’t stop the thriller from putting nearly $16 million between itself and Nights in Rodanthe, this weekend’s #2. Although Nights - the third pairing for Diane Lane and Richard Gere - took in $13.4 million, the romantic drama did almost $1 million less than 2002’s Unfaithful.

- a faith-based film starring Kirk Cameron - surprised many with its 4th place finish. Although it was only available in 839 theaters, the movie had an impressive $8111 per screen average. Meanwhile, two films outside the Top Ten boasted averages over the $10,000 mark. The Duchess (ranked #13) pulled in $10,238 per theater while Ed Harris’ Appaloosa (#35) did slightly better with $10,469.

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Variety


In Theaters This Weekend: September 26, 2008

Nights in Rodanthe

Here are some possible suggestions for your upcoming weekend:

New Eagle Eye Trailer Released


Whether it is the amazing teaser trailer, the fact that Spielberg is attached, or simply Shia LaBeouf, Eagle Eye has caught the attention of all sorts of film fans.

Adding more of a peek into Michelle Monaghan‘s character, the trailer has gotten me even more pumped about the upcoming film. Director D.J. Caruso and LaBeouf did it once with Disturbia—who says that they can’t do it again this September?

Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, and Billy Bob Thornton also star in the film.

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