Joshua Rich reports: In the battle of the boos, ''Silent Hill'' prevails over ''Scary Movie 4''

By Joshua Rich
April 22, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Man, I’m still creeped out by that kid with no mouth on Silent Hill‘s poster. But while I stayed home this weekend, the R-rated horror flick did just fine without my hard-earned bucks: SH opened at No. 1 with a loud $20.2 million, according to Sunday’ estimates. Kudos to the sages over at Sony, who have now nursed three dark dark dark dramas to big bows this year: SH, Underworld: Evolution ($26.9 mil), and When a Stranger Calls ($21.6 mil). Add those to The Pink Panther‘s impressive $82.2 mil run — and even The Benchwarmers‘ $47.1 mil to date — and this is shaping up to be a pretty good year for the studio that struggled with duds like Stealth and The Legend of Zorro in 2005. Anyway, SH achieved the feat despite carping critics and a dismal CinemaScore review of C from audiences. And who, exactly, were those folks who swarmed theaters to see this film about a tortured mother and her sick daughter? Why, mostly adult men, naturally.

Second place: Scary Movie 4, which brought in a perfectly fine $17 mil in its second week. That’s a pretty big 58 percent drop, sure, but when you consider that it earned a ton a week ago, SM4 really had nowhere to go but down pretty big. What’s more, it turns out that that 58 percent almost exactly matches the second-weekend decrease for SM3 in 2003, so no big surprise. SM4‘s total now stands at $67.7 mil. The White House action thriller The Sentinel (No. 3) premiered to an okay $14.6 mil?supposedly better, Variety says, than Fox’s preliminary tracking had predicted. Just to spend a little more time (futilely) looking on the bright side, that’s the best debut of the past three years for Michael Douglas, and it’s also the best debut ever for Eva Longoria. Of course, Douglas hasn’t starred in a movie in three years, and Longoria has never starred in a big Hollywood movie, so…hmm.

Fox’s Ice Age: The Meltdown came in fourth, adding $12.8 mil to bring its four-week total to $167.9 mil. According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, IA: TM currently ranks No. 109 on list of the top domestic grossers of all time, nestled snug as a bug between Chicago and Three Men and a Baby. So IA: TM‘s next milestone will arrive in a few days, when it will pass Elf (which made $173.4 mil in 2003) to enter the top 100.

Although it won’t ever crack the top 100 — or even the top 400 — Disney’s The Wild dropped a mere 17 percent in its second weekend to come in at No. 5 with $8.1 mil and bring its overall sum to $22 mil. And saddled with a C- CinemaScore and tepid critical support, audiences voted out Universal’s political/American Idol satire, American Dreamz, which bowed to $3.7 mil. The flick landed at No. 8 and drew something like 25 million fewer viewers than the real American Idol did this week. As Simon would say: Ab-solute-ly awful!

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