"Final Destination" retains lead at box office

Sun Sep 6, 2009 1:47pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Reigning champ "The Final Destination" fended off a challenge from Sandra Bullock's latest romantic comedy to lead the U.S. Labor Day holiday box office in North America for a second weekend, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.

"The Final Destination," the fourth movie in a horror franchise about disastrous occurrences, earned $12.4 million during the three days beginning Friday. The 10-day haul for the Warner Bros release rose to $47.6 million, buoyed by premium pricing for 3D screenings.

Warner Bros is a unit of Time Warner Inc.

"All About Steve," a critical bomb starring Bullock as a lovelorn crossword-puzzle expert, followed with $11.2 million, the best performance among three weak newcomers.

That marked a considerable drop from the $33.6 million launch of her previous hit "The Proposal" in June. "All About Steve" co-star Bradley Cooper did even better that month with the $45 million debut of his summer smash "The Hangover."

But the new picture played in 2,251 theaters, about 900 less than either "The Proposal," "The Final Destination" or "The Hangover." It was also released at a time -- the dying days of summer -- when the studios are clearing out underperformers so they can focus on their awards-season hopefuls.

"We're thrilled with the number," said an official at 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp. Bullock also produced the movie, whose audience was about two-thirds female, according to Fox.

"Inglourious Basterds" slipped one place to No. 3 with $10.8 million, taking the three-week tally for Quentin Tarantino's World War Two picture to $91 million. It needs just $17 million more to become his biggest film in North America, a title currently held by his 1994 breakthrough "Pulp Fiction" ($108 million).

The new film's foreign total stands at $83 million, and it already ranks as Tarantino's highest-grossing release in eight markets, including Germany, Russia and Turkey.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Sandra Bullock attends the premiere of the movie "All About Steve" at the Mann Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California August 26, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>