Beyonce's 'Obsessed' Tops Weekend Box Office

Sony Screen Gems' suspense film "Obsessed" captivated the domestic box office over its first weekend as the Beyonce Knowles-Idris Elba starrer proved more dominant than expected with an estimated $28.5 million.

Three other wide openers saw mixed results. Universal's bare-knuckled brawling drama "Fighting" debuted about as expected with $11.4 million in second place, while Paramount's DreamWorks-produced drama "The Soloist" -- in which Robert Downey Jr. plays L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez -- registered a light $9.7 million in fourth place. And the first Disney Nature documentary "Earth," narrated by James Earl Jones, fetched a pleasing $8.6 million in fifth place with a $14.2 million cume since unspooling Wednesday.

Elsewhere among the top rankings, Warner Bros.' Zac Efron starrer "17 Again" fell a relatively modest 51% over its sophomore session to $11.7 million in second place. That made for a 10-day cume of $40 million for a film that was produced for just $28 million.

Uni's Russell Crowe-toplined "State of Play" also dropped 51% from its opening grosses to register $6.9 million in seventh place with a $25.1 cume. Lionsgate's action sequel "Crank: High Voltage" was off 66% from its first weekend at $2.4 million in 10th place with a $11.5 million cume.

Industrywide, the weekend's $114 million in collective grosses represented a 25% improvement over the same frame last year and the biggest-ever weekend gross for the final session of the spring boxoffice season, according to Nielsen EDI. Spring 2009's final tally totals $1.11 billion, or 20% more than in the same boxoffice season last year, with the industry outpacing its year-over-year comparisons for each of the past five weekends.

Year-to-date, 2009 is up 9% over the same portion of last year, at $2.88 billion. That's despite its featuring one less winter frame due to calendar fluctuations.

In a limited bow this weekend, Sony Pictures Classics unspooled the Mike Tyson documentary "Tyson" in 11 theaters in New York and Los Angeles to gross $85.982, or an auspicious $7,817 per venue.

Also, Music Box's Italian political drama "Il Divo" grossed a solid $14,000 from a pair of inaugural engagements. And Variance Films opened its nursery school documentary "Nursery University" with a sizeable $13,100 from a single New York location.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, SPC's French-language drama "Paris 36" added 14 theaters for a total of 41 and grossed $56,585, or a limp $1,380 per venue, with a cume of $526,971. The specialty distributor held its Broadway documentary "Every Little Step" in eight locations to gross $50,239, or a sturdy $6,280 per site, with a cume of $154,032.

Story Island's Michael Caine starrer "Is Anybody There" added 48 playdates for a total 54 and grossed $120,889. That represented a so-so $2,239 per engagement as cume climbed to $183,086.

Focus Features' Spanish-language thriller "Sin Nombre" added three locations for a total of 83 and grossed $205,092, or a thinning $2,471 per site, with a $1.5 million cume.

"Obsessed" was helmed by tyro feature director Steve Shill and also stars Ali Larter ("Resident Evil: Extinction") as a temp employee who stalks her co-worker (Elba). The PG-13 pic drew audiences comprised 58% of females, with 51% of patrons age 25 or older.

"This is extremely satisfying," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "It had a lot of things going for it, including another great job of marketing by Screen Gems. But most importantly, it had Beyonce and a great cast."

"Obsessed" was produced for an estimated $20 million. Its debut was the second biggest for Screen Gems, surpassing 2006's "Underworld: Evolution" ($26.9 million) and behind 2005's "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" ($30 million.)