Box-Office Goes To The Dogs

Disney and a bunch of ugly little pooches took the box-office by storm this weekend. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” easily trotted to the top spot with $29 million marking the best October debut in the studio’s history.

It was a ridiculously crowded time at the box-office this weekend with six wide releases vying for dominance against an already crowded field left over from a busier than usual September. The result was a blood bath with several newcomers left splattered on the pavement.

The two survivors were ‘Chihuahua’ and the Michael Cera coming of age teen romance/concert flick “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”.

The latter opened along expected lines with a $12 million tally and in third place. Also faring well was the Bill Maher anti-religion doco “Religulous” which opened on a mere 500 screens (most other newcomers landed on 1500+ this week) but raked in $3.5 million for a per screen average of $7,000 – the best outside of ‘Chihuahua’.

David Zucker’s right-wing satire “An American Carol” came in ninth with $3.8 million despite scathing reviews – a pleasant result for Vivendi who should be happy. Last week’s openers “Eagle Eye” and “Nights in Rodanthe” held up better than expected – falling just 39% and 45% respectively. Western “Appaloosa” also surprised as it jumped up to fifth place in its third week of release with $5 million from just over 1,000 screens. Faith-based firefighter saga “Fireproof” also held well and fell just 40% to pullin $4 million and eighth place.

Where the blood began to flow was just outside of the Top Ten. Greg Kinnear inventor drama “Flash of Genius” took in just $2.3 million in 11th spot, Miramax thriller “Blindness” which opened Cannes earlier this year to poor reviews opened at Number 12 with just $2 million, and the Simon Pegg/Kirsten Dunst comedy “How To Lose Friends And Alienate People” had a disastrous opening in 19th spot with $1.4 million and a $801 per screen average.

Only one true limited release hit this week – the Anne Hathaway dark comedy “Rachel Getting Married” – which took in an amazing $33,667 per screen average on nine screens.