"21" wins jackpot at North American box office
By Dean Goodman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new gambling drama "21" played a winning hand at the weekend box office in North America, earning an estimated $23.7 million in its first round, distributor Columbia Pictures said on Sunday.
The fact-based saga revolves around a team of college whizzes who conspire to count cards at blackjack tables in Las Vegas. The cast includes Kevin Spacey, a professor who coaches the students, and Laurence Fishburne, who plays a casino thug. The movie was directed by Australian filmmaker Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde").
Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp, said the opening for the $35 million film exceeded expectations, and it played strongly to old, young, male and female moviegoers.
After two weekends at No. 1, the animated smash "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!" slipped to No. 2 with $17.4 million. The 20th Century Fox comedy, featuring the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, became the first release of 2008 to hit the century mark, with sales of $117.3 million to date. Fox is a unit of News Corp.
New at No. 3 was the spoof "Superhero Movie," with a disappointing $9.5 million. Industry observers had expected an opening in the low- to mid-teen millions. Two months ago, the similarly themed "Meet the Spartans" opened to $18.5 million. "Superhero Movie" was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., and produced by Weinstein Co's Dimension Films banner. Both are privately held. MGM declined comment.
Prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry's latest comedy "Meet the Browns" tumbled two places to No. 4 with $7.8 million, 61 percent lower than its opening weekend haul. Its total stands at $32.8 million. The film was released by Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
The Owen Wilson comedy "Drillbit Taylor" fell one place to No. 5 with $5.3 million, also in its second weekend. Its drop was 49 percent, and its total rose to $20.6 million. The film was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. Continued...