“Sahara,” the year’s first action-adventure film, took the top spot at the North American box office over the weekend, with the noir “Sin City” sliding to No. 2 in its second week.
A marketing push through the U.S. heartland paid off for the PG-13-rated “Sahara” in its first weekend. It drew a broad audience that was less skewed toward older males, the film’s primary target, according to studio executives.
The film racked up $18.5 million at North American theaters, exceeding industry expectations of $10 million to $12 million, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. Final results will be available on Monday.
“This really delivers in multiple audience (segments) which is really exciting for us,” said Cary Granite, president of Anschutz Film Group, which produced the film under its Bristol Bay label.
Released by Paramount Pictures, “Sahara” features an Indiana Jones-type character played by Matthew McConaughey in search of a lost Civil War battleship. Also starring are Penelope Cruz and William H. Macy. Paramount is a unit of Viacom Inc.
“Sin City,” the R-rated adaptation of Frank Miller’s comics from Dimension, a unit of Disney’s Miramax studio, slid to No. 2 in its second week at the box office with $14.1 million and cumulative sales-to-date of $50.7 million.
The film starring Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba and Mickey Rourke, knocked the weekend’s second new release, Twentieth Century Fox’s “Fever Pitch,” a chick flick with a baseball theme, into third place. Fox is a unit of News Corp .
Fox spokesman Bruce Snyder said the film, starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore, reached expectations with $13 million in wide release and that he expected it to remain in the Top 10 for weeks to come.
Sony Pictures’ PG-13-rated “Guess Who,” an update of the 1967 classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” with Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac, came in at No. 4 in its third weekend with $7.1 million and a cumulative total of $51.1 million.
Tied for fourth place was PG-13-rated “Beauty Shop,” starring Queen Latifah. The film drew $7.1 million over the weekend and has a cumulative total of $26.4 million. “Beauty Shop” was released by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Inc., before the company was acquired on Friday by a Sony-led investor group.
Taking sixth place was “Robots,” from Fox, which drew $4.7 million in ticket sales and a four-week cumulative haul of $111 million.
“Miss Congeniality 2” starring Sandra Bullock took seventh place in its third week. The film, put out by Warner Bros., a division of Time Warner Inc., drew $4.1 million and a cumulative total-to-date of $37.5 million.
Taking eighth place was the Vin Diesel comedy “The Pacifier,” which brought in $3 million. The family movie crested the $100 million mark for Walt Disney Co.’s Buena Visa studio with a cumulative total of $100.5 million in six weeks.
Horror sequel “The Ring Two,” in its fourth week in theaters, took in $2.9 million. The DreamWorks film’s cumulative total is $72.3 million.
After three weeks in limited release and one week in full release, New Line Cinema’s “The Upside of Anger” came in at No. 10 with $2.6 million, down 35 percent from last weekend’s total.
The R-rated film starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen, showing in slightly more than one third the number of theaters as most of its box office competitors, has a cumulative total-to-date of $12.4 million. New Line is a unit of Time Warner Inc.