Last weekend’s horror entry, “30 Days of Night” placed third, drawing $2.2 million from 2,859 coffins, a 65% drop from its first Friday and a current domestic body count of $22.8 million.
In fourth, Disney’s Dwayne Johnson headliner “The Game Plan” continued to gain yardage at the B.O., scoring $1.8 million off 3,342 for a current cume of $72.6 million.
Another Lionsgate title “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” rounded out fifth place, engaging $1.6 million from 1,897, off 54% from its second Friday, for a total cume to date of $43.2 million.
After widening from 201 theaters to 698, Fox Searchlight’s “The Darjeeling Limited” chalked up $565,000 in its fourth Friday, a 33% uptick from a week ago and a new cume of $4.9 million. The Sidney Kimmel Entertainment-MGM release “Lars and the Real Girl,”surged 411% with $280,000 after upping its theaters yesterday from 21 to 296. The cume for “Lars” currently stands at $684,000.
Among limited releases, Thinkfilm’s Sidney Lumet crime drama “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” charted Friday’s highest screen average with $9,625 off two Gotham theaters or $19,250.
Roadside Attraction’s Mexican romance drama “Bella” from first-time helmer Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, wooed a notable $419,000 off 165 playdates. “Bella” boasts a higher opening screen average of $2,540 than previous Latin releases this year such as “El Cantante” which generated $1,993 per theater from 540 playdates ($1.1 million), “Ladron que roba el ladron” which grossed $1,393 per theater from 340 ($474,000) and “Feel the Noise” which mined $1,110 per engagement from 1,015 ($1.1 million).
Less impressive among Friday’s limited fare were MGM’s “Music Within” which opened to $23,000 in 17 theaters, Warner Bros. “Rails & Ties” with $3,000 off five theaters and Strand Releasing’s “Slipstream” which grossed $2,000 off six theaters.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE 25 YEARS
In television, new technologies get spun and old business models go flat, but the "Wheel" rolls on.
Dominant since it launched in syndication during the first term of the Reagan era, and renewed on the stations that clear it through the first term of the next administration, "Wheel of Fortune" remains bolstered by a daily audience of nearly 12 million viewers, a following bigger than most primetime hits these days.
The typical "Wheel" aud is quite broad, cutting across many lines of age, gender and ethnicity, its core following just old enough not to fly through the commercial time with a DVR or forsake it for some fancy digital program offering.
Nevertheless, change comes naturally to the program. According to Harry Friedman, exec producer of both "Wheel of Fortune" and its inseparable sibling, "Jeopardy!" the decision to bring "Wheel" into the digital age for its 25th season was as uncomplicated as Sony Pictures Television topper Steve Mosko suggesting, "What do you think about doing 'Wheel' and 'Jeopardy' in high-definition?"
Certainly, the high-def upgrade -- which debuted Sept. 11 and carried a pricetag of $4 million -- had plenty of thought behind it. Mosko had the weight of the broader Sony organization's high-definition ambitions to consider, and syndication's No. 1 program provided an excellent opportunity to "stick a flag in the ground," he says.
"For a lot of stations, it's their highest-rated program," Mosko explains, noting that inspiration to simultaneously convert both "Wheel" and "Jeopardy!" came directly from a meeting with Sony honcho Howard Stringer. "The fact that we could offer (the shows digitally) provided us with a huge opportunity to push the whole high-def initiative."