Corpse Plays Bridesmaid to Flight

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. dug up a healthy take at the box office over the weekend, but couldn’t quite catch Flightplan, the Jodie Foster airplane thriller from Buena Vista. Burton’s latest stop-motion animation opus for Warner Bros. debuted in the No. 2 spot with an estimated $20 million, making it the highest-grossing September family release ever.

The Nightmare Before Christmas, Burtons’ last foray into feature-length animation, opened to $8 million in 1993, eventually earning around $50 million. Corpse Bride should also do steady business as word-of-mouth spreads and Halloween approaches. And while it didn’t perform as well as such recent CG hits as Disney/Pixar’s the Incredibles or DreamWorks’ Madagascar, Corpse’s relatively modest budget will ensure a quicker profit. Hot on its trail, however, is DreamWorks’ and Aardman Animation’s Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which hits theaters on Oct. 7.

Flightplan won the weekend with an estimated $24.6, proving audiences didn’t quite get their fill of airborne suspense with DreamWorks’ Wes Craven-directed Red Eye. Lola Visual Effects and Peerless Camera Co. Ltd. piloted the vfx for this latest nailbiter that has Foster playing a woman who loses her child, and perhaps her mind, on a cross-Atlantic flight.

DreamWorks’ Just like Heaven, another romantic comedy about a dude who falls for a dead chick, slipped to No. 3 after holding the top spot last week. The rib-tickling ghost story with vfx by Big Red Pixel, Hammerhead and Pacific Title earned around $9.8 million in its sophomore weekend, putting it ahead of newcomer Roll Bounce, a roller boogie flashback that skated to the tune of $8 million for FoxSearchlight. Meanwhile, Sony Screen Gems’ The Exorcism of Emily Rose dropped from No. 2 to No. 5 with an estimated $7.5 million. Featuring visual effects by Captive Audience Prods., the $19 million reality-based chiller has made north of $62 million over the past three weeks.

This week sees the release of Serenity, the highly anticipated feature-length treatment of Firefly, the short-lived FOX sci-fi series from creator Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel). Read about the film’s visual effects work by Emmy-winning shop Zoic in the upcoming November issue of Animation Magazine.