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TOPIC: Weakest box office in three years

Weakest box office in three years 10 Sep 2006 13:18 #13290

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new supernatural thriller "The Covenant" conjured up the lead at a sluggish weekend box office in North America with the lowest sales for a No. 1 movie in three years.

The Sony Corp. release sold $9 million worth of tickets in the three days beginning September 8, followed by another new film, "Hollywoodland," with $6 million and previous champ "Invincible" with $5.8 million.

The last movie to open at No. 1 with less than $10 million was the David Spade comedy "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" with $6.7 million exactly three years ago.

Overall box office sales also were the lowest since then, according to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. The top 12 films earned $54 million this weekend, just ahead of the $50.5 million haul when "Dickie Roberts" ruled. A year ago, the top 12 earned $73.5 million.

Both "The Covenant" and "Dickie Roberts" opened after the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend, the last hurrah of the lucrative summer moviegoing season. For the next couple of weeks, sales will be weak as the studios dump likely under-performers on the market and lay the groundwork for their prestigious Oscar contenders.

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