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Source: Yahoo News
'Once Upon a Time in Mexico' Reignites Box Office
54 minutes ago Add Entertainment - Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Action-thriller "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" came out with guns blazing at the North American box office this weekend, opening at No. 1 and leading the movie business from a late-summer slump into its pre-Oscar fall season
Starring Antonio Banderas (news), Johnny Depp (news) and Salma Hayek (news), the third film in a series from director Robert Rodriguez (news) about a gun-slinging mariachi singer grossed an estimated $24 million in its first three days, according to distributor Sony Pictures Entertainment.
That was more than triple the meager $6.7 million opening of the top-grossing film from a week ago, the David Spade (news) comedy "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star," which dropped to No. 4 in its second weekend.
The debut tally for "Once Upon a Time" marked Sony's seventh No. 1 release at the box office this year and fell just shy of the $25.4 million generated by "Desperado," the second film in the "El Mariachi" trilogy, during its entire run.
"Twenty-four million is really a terrific number for us," said Sony Pictures distribution president Rory Bruer, adding that the high-octane action and handsome players made for a winning combination. "I think it's just very hot and sexy with a really hot ensemble cast."
"Once Upon a Time" was followed in the box office pecking order by the weekend's two other wide releases -- the con-artist caper "Matchstick Men," starring Nicolas Cage (news) and Sam Rockwell (news), at No. 2, and the gory, flesh-eating creepfest "Cabin Fever" at No. 3.
"Matchstick Men," a Warner Bros. Pictures release, grossed nearly $13.3 million in the Friday-through-Sunday period, while "Cabin Fever," from independent distributor Lions Gate Films, generated nearly $8.5 million in ticket sales.
"Dickie Roberts" from Paramount Pictures followed in fourth place with $5 million, and another Depp movie, Walt Disney Pictures' swashbuckling "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" slipped to No. 5 with $4.6 million.
Overall, sales for the top 12 films at the North American box office totaled $73.5 million, up slightly from the same weekend last year and more than $20 million above last week's post-U.S. Labor Day end-of-summer low point, according to box office tracking service Exhibitor Relations Co. .
The weekend following Labor Day is traditionally one of the slowest of the year, marking a low ebb between the flood of big-event summer fare and a fall slate of prestige films the studios hope will attract some Academy Award attention.
Business should continue to perk along next weekend with the release of Woody Allen (news)'s latest film, "Anything Else," as well as the Mike Figgis (news) thriller "Cold Creek Manor," starring Dennis Quaid (news) and Sharon Stone (news)," the family drama "Secondhand Lions," starring Michael Caine (news), Robert Duvall (news) and Haley Joel Osment (news), and the supernatural "Romeo and "Juliet" tale "Underworld," starring Kate Beckinsale (news).
Rounding out the top 10 at the box office this weekend were "Freaky Friday," "Jeepers Creepers 2," "Open Range," "S.W.A.T" and "Seabiscuit."
Sony Pictures is a division of Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news) (news - web sites) . Warner Bros. is a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc . Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc. Disney Pictures is a unit of the Walt Disney Co .
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