Another successful result for the newly-installed Brad Grey regimeat Paramount saw its revenge drama Four Brothers open top in North America on anestimated $20.7m as overall domestic tickets sales plunged again.
Opening in second place on $15.8m was Universal's Gothic thriller SkeletonKey directed by the UK'sIain Softley, while the comedy sequel Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo debuted in fifth place through Sony on adisappointing $9.4m.
Miramax's wartime drama The Great Raid, one of nine pictures being rushed outbefore Harvey and Bob Weinstein depart on Sept 30 to launch their new venture,flopped in 10th place on $3.4m.
In Four Brothers, which drew mixed reviews and averaged $8,172 on 2,533 screens,four men set out to find the killer of their adoptive mother. Mark Wahlbergstars alongside Andre Benjamin (better known until now as the hip-hop starAndre 3000 of the Atlanta superstar duo Outkast), Tyrese Gibson and GarrettHedlund. John Singleton, who also produced the currently-released Sundancehit Hustle And Flow, directed.
Skeleton Key also divided the critics and averaged $5,700 on 2,771. KateHudson plays a hospice worker who tends for an elderly man in an eerieantebellum Louisiana mansion. Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard and John Hurt alsostar.
The critics hated Deuce Bigalow, which averaged $3,006 on 3,127 screensand failed to reach its1999 predecessor's mediocre $12.2m launch.
It'si the latest in a string of disappointments for Sony thissummer behind XXX: State Of The Union and Stealth, which has fallen out of the sky after three weekends on releasedespite a cast that include Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx.
John Dahl's The Great Raid failed to inspire the critics and recounts the true storyof a World War II rescue mission. Benjamin Bratt and James Franco star and thedrama averaged $4,119 on 819 screens.
Last weekend's champion The Dukes Of Hazzard fell two places to third on $13m for a$57.5m domestic running total through Warner Bros, while New Line's TheWedding Crashers felltwo to fourth on $12m for $164.1m in its fifth weekend.
Warner Bros' Charlie And The Chocolate Factory ranks sixth on $169.4m after fiveweekends, while Warner Independent's March Of The Penguins consolidated its position as the secondbiggest documentary ever with a $6.7m haul that raised its running total to$37.6m after eight weeks as this summer's sleeper hit.
Fox's Fantastic Four fell out of the top 10 for the first time in six weekends andranks 11th on $148.4m. Similarly, Paramount's War Of The Worlds fell to 12th and stands at $228.6m afterseven weeks on release.
Grosses for the top 12 titles combined for $103.5m, down 16%against last year when Aliens Vs Predators opened top on $38.3m.
Next weekend's wide releases include Universal's comedy The 40-Year-OldVirgin starring SteveCarell and Catherine Keener; DreamWorks' thriller Red Eye starring Rachel McAdams and CillianMurphy; 20th Century Fox's Supercross: The Movie; the UK computer-animated feature Valiant released in North America through BuenaVista; and John Turturro's Romance And Cigarettes for MGM/UA (now part of Sony).
Estimated Top Ten US Aug 12-14 2005
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimatedweekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Four Brothers (Paramount) UIP $20.7m -
2 (-) Skeleton Key(Universal) UIP $15.8m -
3 (1) The Dukes Of Hazzard (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Pictures Intl $13m $57.5m
4 (2) Wedding Crashers(New Line) New Line Int'l $12m $164.1m
5 (-) Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (Sony) SPRI $9.4m -
6 (3) Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Pictures Int'l $7.3m $183.8m
7 (6) March Of The Penguins (Warner Independent Pictures) Wild Bunch $6.7m $37.6m
8 (4) Sky High (BuenaVista) BVI $6.1m $43.3m
9 (5) Must Love Dogs(Warner Bros) Warner Bros Pictures Int'l $4.6m $34.6m
10 (-) The Great Raid(Miramax) Miramax Int'l $3.4m -