March 15, 2009 / 5:41 PM / 9 years ago

"Race to Witch Mountain" takes first at box office

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Disney family adventure “Race to Witch Mountain” outran superhero movie “Watchmen” to take the top spot with $25 million in this weekend’s contest at the North American box office.

Cast members (from L-R) Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino, Dwayne Johnson and AnnaSophia Robb pose at the premiere of the movie "Race to Witch Mountain" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The reworking of the 1975 action adventure “Escape to Witch Mountain” stars Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson, who also headlined Disney’s “The Game Plan.”

“We had a big family audience, but about 20 percent of the audience was unaccompanied adults,” said Mark Zoradi, president of the studios motion pictures group at Walt Disney Co. “There was a little bit of people looking back toward the first movie.”

He declined to make overall projections for “Witch Mountain” but said, with schools out for spring break over the next few weeks, it looks to be “in for a good solid run.”

“Watchmen,” an adaptation of a cult comic book series, saw its weekend box office take fall 67 percent from a week earlier to $18.1 million, distributor Warner Bros Pictures said.

The drop was in line with expectations and similar to the one after openings of other “tent-pole” movies, said Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president and general sales manager of domestic distribution at the studio owned by Time Warner Inc.

He said the studio believes “Watchmen” has “tremendous staying power” and will make a projection for overall receipts next week.

The film’s take for its first two weeks was $86 million.

The debut of horror film remake “The Last House on the Left” came in No. 3 for the weekend with $14.7 million.

Produced by Rogue Pictures/Universal Pictures, the film stars Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter in a refashioning of Wes Craven’s 1972 horror thriller.

It fell far short of the more than $40 million opening last month of another horror genre remake, “Friday the 13th.”

Universal is a unit of General Electric Co’s NBC Universal. Rogue is a unit of closely held Relativity Media.

Fox’s Liam Neeson thriller “Taken” slipped to No. 4 with $6.7 million in its seventh weekend. It has earned $126.8 million to date. Fox is owned by News Corp.

Actor/writer/director Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail” dropped to No. 5 with $5.1 million, taking its haul to date to $83.2 million. The black-themed comedy was released by Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

No. 6 for the week, “Slumdog Millionaire,” has so far earned $132.6 million, moving the tale of impoverished Indian orphans into the top-10 highest grossing Best Picture Oscar winners of all time, according to Sheila DeLoach, senior vice president of distribution at Fox Searchlight.

Reporting by Deena Beasley, Editing by Anthony Boadle

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