LOS ANGELES – The Rock (search) did not meet his doom at the box office, but his latest action flick came in with a light pop instead of a bang during another slow weekend at movie theaters.
"Doom," (search) adapted from the sci-fi video game, debuted as the top movie with a modest $15.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The movie led a lackluster lineup that continued Hollywood's box-office slump, with the top 12 movies taking in $71.3 million, down 27 percent from the same weekend last year.
"Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story," a horse racing family film starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, opened in second place with $9.3 million.
Charlize Theron's blue-collar drama "North Country," based on the real-life story of a woman who led a sexual-discrimination lawsuit against male co-workers at a mining company, premiered a weak No. 5 with $6.5 million.
"Stay," starring Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling in a thriller about a psychiatrist racing to save a suicidal patient, flopped with a $2.15 million debut.
Films in limited release opened strongly. The romance "Shopgirl," starring Steve Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman in an adaptation of Martin's own novella, debuted in eight theaters with $236,000. The comic crime thriller "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang," starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, took in $174,300 in eight theaters.
Both films expand to more theaters over the next couple of weeks.
Hollywood has been in a box-office slide for most of the year, with admissions running about 8 percent below 2004 levels.
Though distributor Universal expects to make its money back on "Doom," the studio had hoped for a bigger opening weekend, said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution.
"I'm very concerned about the marketplace," Rocco said. "There are so many movies out, so much to choose from, yet the marketplace continues to fall, and not just by little amounts."
Other studio executives are sticking to the idea that the industry has simply had a prolonged run of movies that failed to pack in crowds.
"I've been telling people for a long time that I think it's content-driven. I don't think we had a film that jumped out for people this weekend," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released "North Country."
Warner has a certain blockbuster coming in mid-November with " Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Other big films scheduled through the holidays include "King Kong," "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "The Producers."
October typically is a slow time for movies. Over the same weekend a year ago, though, the box-office shot up on the unexpectedly strong debut of the ghost story "The Grudge," which opened with $39.1 million.
"In all fairness, this was more of a typical late-October weekend, as opposed to a year ago, when `The Grudge' surprised everyone and made this weekend look pale by comparison," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Doom," $15.4 million.
2. "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story," $9.3 million.
3. "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," $8.7 million.
4. "The Fog," $7.3 million.
5. "North Country," $6.5 million.
6. "Elizabethtown," $5.7 million.
7. "Flightplan," $4.7 million.
8. "In Her Shoes," $3.9 million.
9. "A History of Violence," $2.7 million.
10. "Two for the Money," $2.4 million.