"Vantage Point" hits target at box office
By Dean Goodman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new assassination thriller "Vantage Point" shot to the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office in North America while Oscar nominees "Juno" and "There Will Be Blood" enjoyed solid sales ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.
Three other films hit theaters but were largely ignored by moviegoers: the comedies "Be Kind Rewind" at No. 7, "Witless Protection" at No. 13 and "Charlie Bartlett" at No. 14.
The heavily promoted "Vantage Point," which replays the shooting of the U.S. president from multiple points of view, earned an estimated $24 million in the three days since opening Friday, said distributor Columbia Pictures. (The data consist of actual figures for Friday and Saturday, and a Sunday estimate.)
As they did with the last two box office champs, "Jumper" and "Fool's Gold," critics heaped scorn on "Vantage Point." The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern said "an unsuspecting public is the target of yet another massive marketing campaign on behalf of damned near nothing."
William Hurt plays the president while Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox play Secret Service agents in the feature directing debut of TV veteran Pete Travis.
Columbia, a unit of Sony Corp, said it was pleased with the opening. It noted that the audience was divided fairly evenly by gender and viewers either side of 30 years old. The film was budgeted in the high $30 million range, the studio said.
"Jumper," a sci-fi fantasy starring Hayden Christensen as a man who can instantly leap around the globe, fell to No. 2 with $12.7 million. The 11-day total for the $85 million Fox release stands at $56.2 million. Fox is a unit of News Corp. Continued...