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'3:10 to Yuma' shoots its way to top of the box office

The western remake hauls in $14.1 million. Another action movie, 'Shoot 'Em Up,' pulls in only $5.5 million.

September 10, 2007|Josh Friedman | Times Staff Writer

Film distributors came out with their guns blazing as Hollywood launched the fall season over the weekend with two major action movies aimed squarely at male audiences.

Lions Gate Films' "3:10 to Yuma," a critically acclaimed western remake starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, hit its target, hauling in an estimated $14.1 million in the U.S. and Canada to open at No. 1, the company said Sunday.

But New Line Cinema's high-octane thriller "Shoot 'Em Up," with Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci, was the latest box-office misfire for the beleaguered studio. The film pulled in $5.5 million, well shy of expectations, and placed sixth despite moderately favorable reviews.

"Our success this weekend validates our release strategy," said Lions Gate President Tom Ortenberg, who had moved up "3:10 to Yuma" from its originally scheduled Oct. 5 launch.

"We wanted to be the first western into the marketplace and the first prestige film of the fall," Ortenberg said. "With our critical and commercial success, we're now well positioned for the upcoming awards season."

Warner Bros. plans to release "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," a western starring Brad Pitt, on Sept. 21. Miramax's "No Country for Old Men," a crime drama with a western flavor, comes out Nov. 9.

Lions Gate plans a heavy awards marketing campaign for director James Mangold's "Yuma," Ortenberg said.

"3:10 to Yuma" met box-office expectations in its opening weekend. Though it isn't shaping up as a blockbuster, Lions Gate believes it could play strongly for several weeks.

The audience leaned male and over age 25, Ortenberg said. But, he added, younger patrons and females rated it just as highly as older men in theater exit surveys, which bodes well for its prospects.

Relativity Media, Hollywood financier Ryan Kavanaugh's investment vehicle, put up the money for the $50-million production and partnered with Lions Gate, which is handling the movie's distribution and marketing in North America and several overseas territories.

The weekend after Labor Day is typically a slow period for movies, with school schedules and football telecasts competing for consumers' attention. But it also marks the start of autumn on Hollywood's calendar.

Industrywide grosses were up about 16% from the same weekend in 2006, research firm Media by Numbers said. It was the ninth straight weekend of year-over-year improvement.

MGM and Weinstein Co.'s holdover horror hit "Halloween" sank 62% in its second weekend but still finished No. 2, hauling in about $10 million.

Sony Pictures' raunchy comedy "Superbad" finished third with $8 million, lifting its total through four weekends above the $100-million mark.

Sony's comedy "The Brothers Solomon," the only other major new release, managed just $525,000 from 700 theaters and finished way out of the top 10.

New Line executives declined to comment on the opening of "Shoot 'Em Up." The Time Warner Inc. studio's fortunes perked up a bit this summer with the hits "Hairspray" and "Rush Hour 3" but it still ranks only seventh among domestic distributors so far this year, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

The fall season heats up Friday with three wide releases: the thriller "The Brave One," starring Jodie Foster; the comedy "Mr. Woodcock," starring Billy Bob Thornton; and the creature feature "Dragon Wars," a big budget South Korean production.

Several smaller films that could be award contenders also are being rolled out, including director David Cronenberg's mystery "Eastern Promises" and the war drama "In the Valley of Elah," from writer-director Paul Haggis.

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josh.friedman@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

'Shoot 'Em Up' fails to spark

"3:10 to Yuma" opened about as expected but the other major new film, "Shoot 'Em Up," was a big disappointment. Star power and stronger reviews may have made the difference for the western, which stars Russell Crowe.

"Halloween" fell sharply, as most horror movies do in week two.

"Superbad" became the year's 20th movie to top the $100-million level.

Preliminary results (in millions) in the U.S. and Canada, based on studio projections:

*--* -- Movie 3-day gross Total Weeks -- (studio) (millions) (millions)

1 3:10 to Yuma $14.1 $14.1 1 -- (Lions Gate)

2 Halloween 10.0 44.2 2 -- (Weinstein/MGM)

3 Superbad (Sony) 8.0 103.7 4

4 Balls of Fury 5.7 24.3 2 -- (Focus/Universal)

5 The Bourne Ultimatum 5.5 210.1 6 -- (Universal)

6 Shoot 'Em Up 5.5 5.5 1 -- (New Line)

7 Rush Hour 3 5.3 129.2 5 -- (New Line)

8 Mr. Bean's Holiday 3.4 25.1 3 -- (Universal)

9 The Nanny Diaries 3.3 21.0 3 -- (Weinstein/MGM)

10 Hairspray 2.0 114.9 8 -- (New Line) *--*

Industry totals

*--* 3-day gross Change Year-to-date gross Change (in millions) from 2006 (in billions) from 2006 $82.0 +15.7% $6.99 +7.4% *--*

Note: A movie may be shown on more than one screen at each venue.

Source: Media by Numbers

Los Angeles Times

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