'Hide and Seek' Comes Out on Top
Another weekend, another horror hit. On the heels of Universal's White Noise success earlier this month, 20th Century Fox came swinging back after its recent Elektra blow with the star-driven thriller Hide and Seek featuring Focker fresh Robert De Niro, child actress Dakota Fanning and her unseen sinister friend "Charlie."

Hide and Seek counted to $22 million at 3,005 theaters over the weekend, a solid No. 1 hit in the range of The Forgotten and White Noise. According to Fox's exit polling, 57% of the $30 million R-rated picture's audience was under the age of 25, and 57% was female.

The marketing tried to make a psychological thriller look like a supernatural thriller, via the editing in the trailer and the poster tagline "Come out come out whatever you are." Fanning saying "Come out, come out, wherever you are" became the movie's catch phrase and echoed Mr. DeNiro's same line in the 1991 psycho picture Cape Fear. The use of a creepy girl and elder male star recalled Fox's marketing for their 2001 thriller Don't Say a Word with Michael Douglas and Brittany "I'll never tell" Murphy.

In the days prior to opening, Fox hyped Hide and Seek further by announcing that they were shipping the final reel separately from the rest of the movie in order to protect the twist ending from spoilers. It's a gimmick in the vein of White Noise's electronic voice malarkey earlier this month.

After tackling the imaginary friend in Hide and Seek, Hollywood faces the Boogeyman next weekend.

{lnk41368}Alone in the Dark{/lnk} could describe anyone who went to see this movie. Lions Gate's $20 million video game adaptation snagged $2.8 million at 2,142 theaters, ranking No. 14 for the weekend. Based on the trailer, the title didn't match the picture either as, accompanied by an army, actor Christian Slater certainly wasn't alone.

Hoping to carve some winter creature feature green like The Relic or Pitch Black did in the past, Alone in the Dark was hampered by looking generic and by showing off its monster wares instead of building a creepy atmosphere. It's another strike-out for its director Uwe Boll, who guided another weak video game adaptation House of the Dead, which opened to $5.7 million in 2003, and who has yet another on the way called Bloodrayne.

After the snowstorm in the East reduced grosses last weekend, the holdovers rebounded with small drops for the most part, led by Are We There Yet?. The Ice Cube comedy melted a mere 12 percent to $16.3 million, easily the strongest second weekend hold ever for Cube, who's more accustomed to 50 percent dips. In ten days, the $32 million production has made $38.5 million.

Reaching $258.4 million to date, Meet the Fockers passed The Incredibles over the weekend to become the fourth highest grossing picture from 2004. Among all time grosses, it now ranks No. 29.


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Weekend Box Office Chart

NOTE: This story was updated on Jan. 31 with actual grosses.