Wallace & Gromit’s Curse Lifted to Top

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit chewed up the most greenery at the North American box office over the weekend, devouring an estimated $16 million to easily beat its live-action competition. The latest clay-animated feature from Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Animation performed slightly better than industry expectations, but couldn’t quite dig out of the slump in attendance that has been plaguing exhibitors this year.

In addition to trailing Warner Bros.’ recently released stop-motion feature, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, which opened to around $19 million four weeks ago, Wallace & Gromit fell short of catching Aardman’s and DreamWorks’ last clay-animated feature. Released in 2000, Chicken Run opened to $17 million in about a thousand fewer theaters. The fact that Corpse Bride is still a top-ten contender no doubt took a bite out of Gromit’s pay day. However, both films should hand around through the holidays.

The arrival of Wallace & Gromit caused Buena Vista’s Flightplan to lose altitude after two weeks at No.1. In addition to grounding Jodie Foster, the plasticine pals took down Cameron Diaz and Al Pacino. In Her Shoes from 20th Century Fox debuted in third-place with an estimated $10 million, while Universal’s Two For the Money came in at No.4 with around $8.3 million. Rounding out the top five is Sony Screen Gems’ The Gospel. The most profitable newcomer, the low-budget musical drama doubled its money with an estimated $8 million showing up in its collection plate.

Still lively in the No. 6 spot, Corpse Bride scared up approximately $6.5 million bones this frame, bringing its four-week total to around $42 million. That was enough to beat Lions Gate’s Waiting…, a crude restaurant comedy that managed an estimated $5.7 million in its not-so-grand opening.

The most promising prospects for Wallace and Gromit are centered in the U.K., where the flick opens this weekend. It was previewed in nearly 500 theaters and generated a whopping $5 million. The pic’s total overseas take for the weekend was around $9.2 million.