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'Scary Movie 4' leads at box office; 'The Wild' fares poorly

| Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Scary Movie 4" is scaring up hefty April returns. It leads both the local and national box-office hit parades in its opening round.

Running second here is two-time champ "Ice Age: The Meltdown," which slid only 34 percent in its third weekend.

Third here is "The Benchwarmers," skidding a steep 57 percent, unusual for the sophomore frame of a family movie, especially when the second week coincides with a holiday.

The new Disney cartoon feature, "The Wild," ranks fourth, doing only half as well in its debut as the third week of fellow cartoon "Ice Age: The Meltdown."

It's ironic that a feature-length cartoon from Disney, once the only studio in that business, is getting beaten up so badly by cartoon competition. No doubt the audience got the message - unavoidably from advertising, reviews and buzz - that "The Wild" is very similar to 2005's "Madagascar."

The final rub will be when "Madagascar 2" opens in 2008 and cleans up. Somehow it will be OK for the sequel to be like the original, whereas "The Wild" seems to go to the same well too soon afterward.

"The Wild" is doing only half of what industry forecasters had expected.

Fifth here is "Take the Lead," down 44 percent.

"Lucky Number Slevin" is sixth," off 32 percent.

No. 7 is "Thank You for Smoking," the satire about a tobacco lobbyist, expanding into semi-wide release. It generally ranks higher at the multiplexes where it's playing, but it's on fewer screens than most of its competitors.

"Inside Man" takes eighth place locally, fading 31 percent.

"Failure to Launch" falls 39 percent and lands in ninth spot.

"ATL" closes out the local top 10 with a 56 percent cut in attendance.

"Game Six," "Lonesome Jim" and "Duck Season" all debuted poorly here, with "Don't Come Knocking" faring somewhat better among the exclusive releases.

Opening Friday will be "The Sentinel," "American Dreamz," "Tamara," "Friends With Money," "I Am a Sex Addict," the Italian epic "The Best of Youth" and one that is being kept away from the media, "Silent Hill."

'Annie' another hit

The Pittsburgh Broadway Series continues its profitable season with the latest national touring company of "Annie," which features Conrad John Schuck as Daddy Warbucks.

The musical drew 19,096 patrons to Heinz Hall for a gross of $956,176, which is 89.7 percent of capacity.

The engagement occurred during Holy Week, which used to be the worst week of the year for entertainment attendance in Pittsburgh, as well as the start of Passover.

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