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Audience gets ‘Obsessed’ to the tune of $28M

Zac Efron’s “17 Again” and Channing Tatum’s “Fighting” were neck-and-neck for the No. 2 spot.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Audiences were in the mood for some fatal attraction action at the box office.

Beyonce Knowles and Idris Elba’s “Obsessed” debuted as the top weekend movie with $28.5 million in ticket sales. The Sony Screen Gems thriller stars Knowles and Elba as a couple whose ideal marriage lands on the rocks after a psychotic temp played by Ali Larter begins stalking the husband.

The strong opening for “Obsessed” helped maintain Hollywood’s hot streak, with overall revenues at about $112 million, up 23.5 percent from the same weekend last year, according to box-office tracker Media By Numbers.

The busy summer season starts Friday with 20th Century Fox’s spinoff “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” starring Hugh Jackman in the title role he played in three “X-Men” blockbusters.

Studios head into summer on a box-office tear, with receipts running at a record pace. Revenues for the year are at $3.06 billion, up 17.4 percent over last year. Factoring in higher ticket prices, movie attendance is up 15.7 percent.

“We have never been in this strong a position heading into the summer season, ever,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers.

Zac Efron’s “17 Again” and Channing Tatum’s “Fighting” were neck-and-neck for the No. 2 spot. With Sunday estimates of $11.7 million, the Warner Bros. comedy “17 Again” had the edge. After debuting in first-place a week earlier, “17 Again” raised its 10-day total to $40 million.

Rogue Pictures’ “Fighting,” starring Tatum and Terrence Howard in the story of a rising star in New York City’s underground bare-knuckle fight circuit, debuted with $11.4 million.

The two movies were close enough that rankings could change when final numbers come out Monday.

Paramount’s drama “The Soloist” opened at No. 4 with $9.7 million. It stars Jamie Foxx as a schizophrenic music prodigy living on the streets of Los Angeles and Robert Downey Jr. as a reporter who befriends him.

Disney’s nature documentary “Earth” premiered in fifth place with $8.6 million, bringing its total to $14.2 million since opening Wednesday.

“Obsessed” was not screened in advance for critics, and those who reviewed it generally trashed the movie as a lame retread of 1987’s “Fatal Attraction,” which starred Glenn Close as a demented woman pursuing a married man, played by Michael Douglas.

But “Obsessed” had the lure of singer Knowles stepping out from her pop star image and duking it out with the crazy lady threatening her home and marriage.

“There’s something about wanting to see Beyonce kick butt. She’s taking on one wacked chick, played very well by Ali Larter,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. “Let’s face it, everyone loves Beyonce, and to see her in this role is a treat.”

Documentaries rarely open in nationwide release or break into the top 10, but Disney aimed for a wide audience with “Earth,” which traces families of polar bears, elephants and humpback whales over the course of a year.

Disney pledged to plant a tree for every viewer who sees the movie in the first week, with the number climbing to more than 2 million after five days. The film was tied to Earth Day and was the first release of the studio’s Disneynature label.

“We just felt like if we make an event out of this, tied it to this whole plant-a-tree effort, tied it to Earth Day, maybe we could break the mold and come up with the kind of opening that you’d be satisfied with on a regular film,” said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney’s motion-picture group.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.