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Archive for Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Thunder’ rolls in $14.3M

September 2, 2008

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— "Tropic Thunder" hauled in $14.3 million to stay on top of the box office as Hollywood's solid summer wound down sleepily, with Hurricane Gustav contributing to a slow Labor Day weekend at theaters.

The DreamWorks-Paramount comedy was the No. 1 flick for the third-straight weekend, raising its total to $86.6 million, according to studio estimates Monday.

Debuting at No. 2 with $12 million over the four-day weekend was 20th Century Fox's sci-fi thriller "Babylon A.D.", starring Vin Diesel as a mercenary smuggling a woman into New York City in a post-apocalyptic future.

With coastal Louisiana nearly deserted because of Gustav, Hollywood business was virtually nonexistent in that region.

"The theaters are closed. There is just no business at all down there," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner Bros., whose "The Dark Knight" was No. 3 with $11 million.

Gustav made a slow weekend even quieter. The top 12 movies pulled in $93.4 million, down 23 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when "Halloween" opened with $30.6 million.

Still, Hollywood finished a fraction ahead of 2007's record summer revenue.

From the first weekend in May through Labor Day, business totaled $4.2 billion, up from $4.18 billion during summer 2007, according to box-office tracker Media By Numbers.

But accounting for higher ticket prices, attendance was down 3.5 percent.

"It's record revenue, but barely. Kind of an underwhelming end to a great summer," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers.

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