'Stomp' Steps Up
The latest hip-hopped up dance drama, Stomp the Yard, took center stage over the four-day Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, six years to the date (Jan. 12-15) after Save the Last Dance jump-started the sub-genre. Like that movie, Step Up, You Got Served, Honey and others, Stomp exceeded expectations, and it ended the reign of three-week champ Night at the Museum.

Stomp the Yard served up $25.9 million at 2,051 theaters, ranking as the fifth highest-grossing M.L.K. opening on record, slotted below Save the Last Dance's $27.5 million. The $14 million production from Sony's Screen Gems was marketed like a mash-up of Drumline and You Got Served, and Sony's exit polls indicated that 59 percent of the audience was female.

In its fourth weekend, Night at the Museum kept attendance high, down eight percent to $21.8 million. With $190.5 million in 25 days, 20th Century Fox's family comedy eclipsed Happy Feet as the top grosser from the Holiday 2006 season. Also maintaining well, The Pursuit of Happyness eased 17 percent to $10.7 million for $138.1 million in 32 days.

Two Paramount Pictures expanded significantly to modest results. Dreamgirls more than doubled its theater count but business rose 18 percent to $10.3 million, while Freedom Writers upped its release pattern by 60 percent but dropped six percent to $8.8 million. Compared to Dreamgirls, which was down three percent to $8.4 million for the proper three-day weekend, past musical Chicago's box office climbed 53 percent to $10.8 million at its similar expansion point. Dreamgirls and Freedom Writers have accumulated $67.1 million in 32 days and $20.2 million in 11 days, respectively.

Among other openers, Alpha Dog sniffed up $7.4 million at 1,289 locations, which was okay for a gritty crime or wayward youth drama, a type of movie that tends to receive limited releases. According to distributor Universal Pictures, 53 percent of the audience was female, while 17-to-20 year olds were the strongest age contingent at 27 percent.

Primeval behaved like the genre grist that January is known for, grossing $6.8 million at 2,244 sites. Distributor Buena Vista unnecessarily played coy in promoting the movie: it was a crocodile creature feature but marketing suggested that it was about a serial killer.

Though M.L.K. has recently been a popular frame for kids movies like Snow Dogs, Racing Stripes and Hoodwinked, Arthur and the Invisibles failed to capitalize, eking out $5.8 million at 2,247 venues. The partially live-action computer-animated fantasy, a hit in its native France, was another European import from The Weinstein Company after last year's dud Doogal and appeared to be strictly for tykes with its sprite adventure.

Among milestones, Casino Royale became the highest-grossing James Bond movie at $162.8 million, topping Die Another Day's $160.9 million. However, adjusted for ticket price inflation, Casino would rank tenth in the franchise.

Overall, weekend business was one percent higher than last year when Glory Road and Hoodwinked led in a photo finish at $16.9 million apiece.


• Review - 'Alpha Dog'

• 8/14/06 - 'Step Up' Stands Out

• 1/17/06 - 'Glory' Glides Past 'Hoodwinked' (MLK Weekend, 2006)

• 1/18/05 - 'Coach Carter' Delivers (MLK Weekend, 2005)


4-day Weekend Box Office Results

3-day Weekend Box Office Results

• Dance Movies

• True Crime Movies

• Creature Features

NOTE: This report was originally written on Monday, Jan. 15 and was revised on Tuesday, Jan. 16 with actual grosses.