"Evan Almighty" tops N.American box office, but short of expectations

UPDATED: 08:32, June 25, 2007

- Universal's modern-day Noah comedy "Evan Almighty" swept the box office at North American theaters this weekend by selling about 32.1 million dollars worth of tickets, according to preliminary box office figures released Sunday.

But with the production budget rumored at the ever biggest 175 million dollars for a comedy, the Steve Carrell film fell short of industry expectations, some analysts said.

Meanwhile, the sleeper hit of the weekend may be the horror film "1408," which debuted in second with an estimated 20.18 million dollars. The MGM movie is based on the Stephen King short story about a man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences -- only to discover terror in a creepy New York hotel room.

Speaking of the weekend-opening gross of "Evan Almighty," Paul Dergarabedian, president of the Los Angeles-base box office tracking firm Media By Numbers, said the expectations were definitely higher than what it came in.

However, he said the movie might do well over time as audiences -- especially Christian audiences -- continue to discover it.

The superhero sequel "Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer" fell from first last week to a close third with an estimated 20.15 million dollars over the three-day period.

"Ocean's Thirteen," the third installment in the George Clooney and Co. crime caper, grossed about 11.3 million dollar in fourth in its third week in release, while romance-comedy "Knocked up" came in fifth with an estimated 10.6 million dollars in its fourth week.

Final box office figures for U.S. and Canadian theaters over the weekend will be released Monday.

Source: Xinhua

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