Grave Romance Rules Weekend

Tim Burton’s latest animated tour de force, Corpse Bride, proved to be the film to beat in limited release over the weekend, earning an estimated $411,000 in only 5 theaters. However, another film about a guy falling for a dead woman took the top spot as DreamWorks’ supernatural love story, Just like Heaven, conjured up approximately $16.5 million.

Corpse Bride averaged an impressive $82,200 per venue, greatly outpacing fellow gradual rollouts The Thing about My Folks from Picture House, Proof from Miramax, Thumbsucker from Sony Pictures Classics, Everything is Illuminated from Warner Independent Pictures and Separate Lies from Fox Searchlight.

The closest competitor in terms of theater averages was the Gwyneth Paltrow indie, Proof, which managed an estimated $25,000 in each of its 8 locations for a total of just over $200,000. The early enthusiasm for Burton’s gothic stop-motion romantic comedy bodes well for the film’s prospects as it goes into wide release on Friday, Sept. 23.

Starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, Just like Heaven tells the story of lonely architect who moves into a new apartment and strikes up an unusual romance with the ghost of its former occupant. Vfx houses Big Red Pixel, Hammerhead and Pacific Title contributed to the film’s digital trickery. The film finished just ahead of last week’s box office champ, Sony Screen Gems’ The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which drops a notch to No. 2 with just north of $15 million.

Lions Gate’s Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage, opened at No. 3 with a disappointing estimate of $9.2 million. Meanwhile, five-week holdover The 40-Year-Old Virgin from Universal hit the $90 million mark as it beat out new arrival Cry Wolf for fourth place. The college slasher flick from Rogue Pictures rounds out the top five with around $4.5 million.