Movie-goers put the Peeping Tom thriller “Disturbia” under strong surveillance as the film took in $23 million to debut at the top of the weekend box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Starring Shia LaBeouf as a housebound teenager who suspects a neighbor (David Morse) of murder, “Disturbia” continued a solid year for DreamWorks Pictures, whose No. 1 hits include “Blades of Glory” and “Norbit.”
“We’re kind of hoping this could be habit-forming,” DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy said.
“Disturbia” launches a breakout year for LaBeouf, whose long-rumored casting in the fourth “Indiana Jones” movie was confirmed Friday by producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg, one of the founders of DreamWorks.
This summer, LaBeouf provides the lead voice for Sony’s animated penguin comedy “Surf’s Up” and stars in the science-fiction saga “Transformers.”
“The person you want to be right now is Shia LaBeouf. I want to be Shia LaBeouf. I want to be 20 and have all this happening to me. It’s really great for him,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. “2007 is Shia’s year. He proved he can open a movie all by himself.”
“Blades of Glory” slipped to second place after two weekends on top, taking in $14.1 million to raise its total to $90.2 million.
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s double-feature “Grindhouse” tumbled in its second weekend. Released by the Weinstein Co., “Grindhouse” fell to No. 10 with $4.2 million, down a steep 63 percent from its surprisingly weak debut of $11.6 million over opening weekend.
Harvey Weinstein — the company co-chairman whose previous outfit, Miramax, had great success with Tarantino and Rodriguez’s films — said last week he might re-release the two filmmakers’ chapters of “Grindhouse” as separate movies down the road.
Rodriguez directed the zombie fest “Planet Terror” and Tarantino made the highway psycho killer tale “Death Proof” for “Grindhouse,” their homage to the gory B-movies they grew up on.
The Warner Bros. battle epic “300” grossed $4.3 million to lift its total to $200.8 million, the first movie this year to cross that mark.
Other new wide releases had so-so to poor debuts, led by Sony’s “Perfect Stranger,” the Bruce Willis-Halle Berry thriller that took in $11.5 million to finish at No. 4. Berry plays a tabloid reporter who goes undercover to investigate an advertising executive (Willis) she suspects of murder.
20th Century Fox’s “Pathfinder,” with Karl Urban as a Viking boy raised by Indians in pre-Columbus North America, came in at No. 6 with $4.8 million.
Chicago Releasing’s auto thriller “Redline,” a street-racing tale featuring Eddie Griffin, debuted at No. 11 with $4 million.
First Look Pictures’ animated “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters,” a big-screen adaptation of the cult TV cartoon centered on three manic fast-food products, opened out of the top 12 with $3.1 million.
Lionsgate’s crime thriller “Slow Burn,” starring Ray Liotta as a prosecutor taking on a gang leader (LL Cool J), flopped with just $800,000.
In limited release, Paramount Vantage’s comic drama “Year of the Dog” opened with a strong $112,346 in seven New York City and Los Angeles theaters. Starring Molly Shannon as a lonely woman who goes to extremes to fill a void after her beloved dog dies, the film expands to the top-10 markets this Friday.
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.