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So-so opening for <i>Alexander</I> (14447)

14447Entertainment News2004-11-30

So-so opening for Alexander

Alexander the Great may have conquered millions in his march across the Persian Empire 2,400 years ago, but moviegoers in North America easily repelled his advances over the weekend. Alexander, director Oliver Stone's three-hour epic starring Irishman Colin Farrell as the youthful (and bisexual) Macedonian warrior, opened at number 6 with ticket sales of just $13.5 million for the three days beginning Friday. Since opening on Wednesday to get a jump-start on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, the film has earned $21.6 million from theaters in the United States and Canada--short of the $25 million hoped for by the film's financier, Intermedia Films. "Overall it's solid, but it could have been better," Intermedia chairman and CEO Moritz Borman told Reuters. He cited such negative factors as its lengthy running time and mixed reviews.

Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc., said it paid $35 million for North American rights from Intermedia, a unit of Munich-based IM Internationalmedia AG. The film, a dream project of Stone's for 15 years, cost about $150 million to make, said Borman. He predicted it would do better overseas, just as the early summer epic Troy did, and he noted that Alexander did well in Canada. The foreign campaign begins in Germany in late December, he said. The film also stars Jared Leto as Alexander's special boyhood chum, Rosario Dawson as his sex-starved wife, Angelina Jolie as his nagging mother, and Val Kilmer as his abusive father.

Nicolas Cage's action-adventure National Treasure was number 1 for a second weekend with $33.1 million, followed by the animated superhero saga The Incredibles with $24.1 million. Their respective totals rose to $87.9 million and $214.7 million. National Treasure lost just 6% of its audience from last weekend; most films generally drop about half in their second rounds. The Incredibles should finish near the $300 million mark, observers predicted. Both were distributed by Walt Disney Co., with the latter produced by Pixar Animation Studios Inc. Disney said it was the first time in almost two years that a studio has owned the top two spots.

Christmas With the Kranks, a holiday comedy starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, opened at number 3 with $22.7 million for the three days and a better-than-expected $32 million since its Wednesday bow. The $60 million film was distributed by Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp. It was produced by Sony-based Revolution Studios and directed by Revolution founder Joe Roth. The Polar Express held steady at number 4 with $20.1 million in its third weekend, taking its total to $82.2 million. The Christmas cartoon was distributed by Warner Bros., which evenly split the $170 million production budget and marketing costs with real-estate heir Steve Bing. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, another animated family feature, fell three places to number 5 with $17.8 million, for a 10-day total of $58.6 million. The film was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.

Also new to the top 10 was Finding Neverland, a whimsical tale starring Johnny Depp as Scottish playwright Sir James Barrie. After two weeks in limited release, the Miramax Films project jumped five places to number 8 with $4.7 million. It was playing in 513 theaters, far short of the 3,200-plus commanded by each of the top five films. Miramax is a unit of Disney. Also in limited release, out director Pedro Almodovar's new film Bad Education dropped a mere $600 in its second weekend, pulling in an astounding $147,000 on three screens.

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