Crime pays for Samuel L. Jackson at box office

Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:10pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Samuel L. Jackson ruled the North American box office for the second time this year, while moviegoers largely ignored three other new releases as overall weekend sales resumed their downward spiral.

According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, Jackson's cop thriller "Lakeview Terrace" sold a modest $15.6 million worth of tickets during its first three days of release. It barely surpassed the $14 million opening for Jackson's 2006 bomb "Snakes on a Plane."

But Screen Gems, the distributor of the $20 million film, said the three-day tally was at the upper end of its expectations. Screen Gems is a low-budget division of Sony Corp.

Jackson plays a vindictive cop who makes life hell for his new neighbors. Reviews were mixed, even though it was directed by Neil LaBute, the filmmaker behind such edgy dramas as "In the Company Of Men."

The 59-year-old actor was last at No. 1 with the sci-fi action movie "Jumper," which opened with $27 million in February and finished with $80 million.

As for the other three rookies, the Lionsgate romantic comedy "My Best Friend's Girl," starring Kate Hudson and Dane Cook, opened at No. 3 with $8.3 million; the MGM cartoon "Igor" was No. 4 with $8 million; and Paramount/DreamWorks' Ricky Gervais comedy "Ghost Town" was No. 8 with $5.2 million.

Last weekend's champ, the Coen brothers' comedy "Burn After Reading" slipped to No. 2 with $11.3 million. The Focus Features release, which stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt, has earned $36.4 million after 10 days, and should end up in the $50 million range, the studio said.

SALES FALLING   Continued...

<p>Samuel L. Jackson in a scene from "Lakeview Terrace" in an image courtesy of Sony Pictures. REUTERS/Handout</p>