extinction20.jpgSUNDAY AM: It’s been gals, gals, gals galore at the box office this weekend. The third film in Sony/Screen Gems’ franchise, Resident Evil: Extinction, did even better than expected as the highest debuting gross of the franchise, showing that America still loves this R rated scifi series and its star Milla Jovovich. The No. 1 pic opened to $9.6 mil Friday and $8.6 mil Saturday in 2,828 theaters for a $24 mil weekend — more than  the $20 mil my box office gurus were hoping for. This weekend was the battle of the glamour girls. As for Jessica Alba’s Good Luck Chuck, the jury is still out whether she’s a bonafide movie star. (We already know Dane Cook isn’t. Remember his flop, Employee Of The Month?) The No. 2 Lionsgate laugher debuted to $5.1 Friday and $5.2 mil Saturday from 2,612 venues, with its weekend total a softer $13.8 mil. Sometimes the sexy actress whose poster is on every young guy’s wall just can’t make it on the big screen, and that may be Alba’s problem. As well as the fact this was her first comedy. On the other hand, proven leading lady Jodie Foster’s feminist chick flick The Brave One hung on for 3rd place for its 2nd weekend in release, making $7.4 mil from 2,755 dates. That’s a decent drop of 45% and new cume of $25 mil.

chuck.jpgIn 4th place, Lionsgate holdover 3:10 To Yuma, starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, made $6.1 mil in 2,902 theaters for a new cume of $37.6 mil. Focus Features’ Eastern Promises with Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts opened wide in 2,902 plays after platforming last weekend: it was #5 with a $5.6 mil weekend from 1,404 venues. No. 6 was Amanda Bynes’ tween/teen comedy Sydney White from Universal. It debuted very weakly with just $5.3 mil from 2,104 venues.

New Line’s unfunny Mr. Woodcock only went down 43% its second weekend in release and made $5 mil from 2,237 runs; it has a new cume of $15.7 mil. Sony’s hit Superbad, the low-cost coming of age comedy from Judd Apatow, sydneywhite.jpghangs in after six weeks in release for #8, earning $3.1 mil from 2,305 theaters for a new cume of $116.1 mil. At No. 9, Universal’s The Bourne Ultimatum has a giant new cume of $220.3 mil after making $3 mil from 2,009 plays. Finishing out the Top 10, Freestyle’s holdover Dragon Wars squeezed out $2.5 mil this weekend from 2,246 runs.

Among newcomers, Warner Bros platformed Brad Pitt’s Oscar-touted The Assassination of Jesse James in five theaters; with an excellent per screen average of as much as $11,844 on Saturday, it debuted to $142K. But the Sean Penn written and directed Into The Wild based on a true story and book played in only 4 theaters (NY and LA) and outgrossed Brad’s pic 2-to-1 with $206K and enjoyed a tremendous per screen average of 21,084 Saturday, the highest ever for Sean. This, and the R rated Paramount Vantage pic’s positive reviews, should increase its Oscar chatter. Continuing the slow slide of the chick flick, Sony Classics’ The Jane Austen Book Club opened in 25 venues and eked out only $141K with a lousy per screen average of at most $2,538 Saturday.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.

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