'Scary Movie 4' scares up best Easter opening ever

Monday, April 17, 2006

— Bob and Harvey Weinstein returned to the box-office lead as "Scary Movie 4" debuted with $41 million, the first No. 1 opening for the new company founded by the former Miramax bosses.

It was the best Easter weekend debut ever, beating the $30.1 million opening of "Panic Room" in 2002, according to studio estimates Sunday.

With the success of "Scary Movie 4," Bob Weinstein said he hopes to have a fifth film in the horror-spoof franchise in theaters over Easter weekend next year.

"I say the Weinsteins should be getting 'Scary Movie' 5 through 10 ready right away," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Weinstein said director David Zucker and writer Jim Abrahams, collaborators on "Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun" movies, would reteam for the next sequel.

"Scary Movie 4" was released under the Weinstein Co.'s Dimension label, which the brothers brought with them after their departure from Disney-owned Miramax last year. Disney continues to share half the proceeds from the "Scary Movie" flicks and any future installments in pre-existing Dimension franchises, such as the "Scream" or "Spy Kids" series.

The Weinsteins will have sole control over any new franchises Dimension undertakes.

Hollywood's overall revenues rose for the fourth straight weekend, with the top 12 movies grossing $110 million. That was up 23 percent from 2005's Easter weekend, which came three weeks earlier last year. It was up about 45 percent compared to the mid-April weekend last year.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "Scary Movie 4," $41 million.

2. "Ice Age: The Meltdown," $20 million.

3. "The Benchwarmers," $10 million.

4. "The Wild," $9.6 million.

5. "Take the Lead," $6.7 million.

6. "Inside Man," $6.3 million.

7. "Lucky Number Slevin," $4.6 million.

8. "Thank You for Smoking," $4.45 million.

9. "Failure to Launch," $2.6 million.

10. "V for Vendetta," $2.2 million.