Zombieland Lives; Drew's Whip It Not So Much

    Zombieland, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone Columbia Pictures

    Yes, vampires are hot. But zombies are not exactly dead.

    The zombie comedy Zombieland had a nifty box office weekend, topping all films—and its budget, with an estimated $25 million Friday-Sunday.

    Drew Barrymore's Whip It, the star's directing debut on roller-derby wheels, got lost in the pack, opening in sixth place with $4.9 million, while the Toy Story franchise's comeback clicked, grossing $12.5 million for its 3-D double-feature bill.

    More zombie-versus-vampire findings, plus the skinny on the Coen Brothers' latest:

    Zombieland opened bigger than any Resident Evil flick, and bigger, actually, than any zombie movie ever, save the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, per Box Office Mojo stats.  

    Zombies still have a long way to go before they catch vampires. Five vampire flicks have opened bigger than the biggest zombie flick, including the reigning bloodsucking champ, Twilight.

    Zombies still have a long way to go before they get top billing. Sony exec Rory Bruer described his studio's Zombieland as an "action-comedy-buddy-road-trip film," with the emphasis on the comedy, and not so much on the undead. "Quite frankly," Bruer told E! News today, "we knew that we had a really funny movie, and that is the primary thing of the film."

    Zombieland reputedly cost $23.6 million to produce, so it's good.

    Whip It reputedly cost $10 million, so it's not terrible. Still, its per-screen average was weak, and doesn't bode well for future laps around the rink for Barrymore, Ellen Page and crew.

    • Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man, was, multiplex for multiplex, the weekend's biggest movie, grossing $251,510 at just six theaters.

    It's hard to see where A Serious Man stacks up against the Coens' previous movies. In terms of theaters, this was their smallest opening ever.

    The Toy Story special, featuring movies No. 1 and 2, was the hottest ticket in the Top 10 after Zombieland.  

    Or maybe Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ($16.7 million) was. The CGI comedy, which lost a chunk of its 3-D screens (and its 3-D ticket prices) to Toy Story, held very well, even as its two-weekend hold on No. 1 slipped.

    Ricky Gervais still isn't what you'd call box office, but The Invention of Lying ($7.4 million) did mark an improvement over his last big-screen comedy, Ghost Town.

    Bruce Willis' Surrogates ($7.3 million) looked even more done than it did last weekend. So far, the $80 million sci-fi film has grossed $26.4 million.

    • Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story ($4.9 million) broke wide, and broke into the Top 10.

    Paranormal Activity, the little horror movie that might, took some more baby steps, breaking into the Top 20 with $535,000, Box Office Mojo reported.

    Top 10 evictees include: Inglourious Basterds, which lasted six weekends, grossed $116.9 million, per Box Office Mojo, and became Quentin Tarantino's top-grossing movie, and Jennifer's Body, which lasted two weekends, grossed $14.7 million and didn't become anybody's box office highlight.

    Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself's Top 10 run ended after just three weekends, a pretty fast slide for a former No. 1. Overall, the movie, which  grossed $48.4 million, was on the low end for a Perry movie featuring (albeit not all that prominently) his signature Madea character. 

    Here's a look at the weekend's top-grossing films based on Friday-Sunday estimates as compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

    1. Zombieland, $25 million
    2. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, $16.7 million
    3. Toy Story/Toy Story 2, $12.5 million
    4. The Invention of Lying, $7.4 million
    5. Surrogates, $7.3 million
    6. Whip It, $4.9 million (tie)
    6. Capitalism: A Love Story, $4.9 million (tie)
    8. Fame, $4.8 million
    9. The Informant!, $3.8 million
    10. Love Happens, $2.8 million

    (Originally published Oct. 4, 2009, at 9:25 a.m. PT)


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