While "Inside" corralled the older crowd, Buena Vista carved out a piece of the action for itself by pitching William Brent Bell's "Alive," a horror pic that revolves around a group of teens who stumble across an online video game with murderous tendencies. Also reaching levels above those predicted by pre-release tracking, the movie's $11.2 million came from 2,009 theaters, earning a per-theater average of $5,579.
Walt Disney Studios, which has been looking for ways to stake a claim in the genre market, acquired the picture from Spyglass Entertainment, headed by Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum. Its PG-13 rating, which might have been considered a challenge given that many horror fans expect R-rated thrills, allowed Buena Vista, the studio's distribution arm, to pitch the film toward teens.
Buena Vista Distribution president Chuck Viane credited "a late-breaking campaign from our marketing group that used a lot of Internet and street teams" for drumming up interest.
Buena Vista logged two other entries in the top 10 for the weekend: In fifth place, its remake of "The Shaggy Dog
" picked up $9.1 million in its third weekend, a respectable drop of 32%, which brought its cume to date to $47.9 million. In ninth position, its other canine tale, "Eight Below
," drew $2.7 million, a drop of 33%, to bring its cume to $77.2 million.
Viane said the market for family films is benefiting from extended spring break schedules throughout the country, which bodes well for midweek business. This week, 13% of kids across the nation are on break, and 9% expected out of school during the first week of April, with Easter recesses still to come.