‘Four Brothers’ Seek Justice, Find Box-Office Win

Spooky 'Skeleton Key' debuts at #2, followed by 'Dukes' and 'Crashers.'

The brothers Duke had their moment at the top of the box-office heap, but this week, the vengeance-hungry siblings of “Four Brothers” fought their way to the throne.

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin (a.k.a. Andre 3000) and Garrett Hedlund, and directed by John Singleton, “Four Brothers” bowed at #1 with $20.7 million, according to early estimates. The action film centers on adopted siblings who reunite at their mother’s funeral, discover that the woman who raised them may have been murdered and decide to seek revenge (see ” ‘Four Brothers’ Stars See Justice In Bloody Tale Of Murder, Revenge” ).

Though it was largely panned by critics, Kate Hudson’s new thriller, “The Skeleton Key,” managed to draw in enough moviegoers to secure the #2 spot on the box-office top 10, and ring up more than $15.7 million. Hudson stars as a live-in nurse hired to take care of a bedridden old man (John Hurt) in a large Louisiana home. The man’s wife (Gena Rowlands) gives Hudson’s character a skeleton key that unlocks every door in the house, providing access to a hidden attic room that contains a horrifying secret (see ” ‘Skeleton Key’ A Haunting Surprise; ‘Drew’ A Stalk On The Wild Side, By Kurt Loder” ).

After debuting at #1, “The Dukes of Hazzard” was forced down to the #3 position by two strong new releases. The film — which stars Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville as Bo and Luke Duke, country great Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse and Jessica Simpson as curvy cousin Daisy (see “Jessica Simpson: Southern Comfort”) — earned more than $13 million.

“Wedding Crashers” ended its four-week bob between the #1 and #2 spots this weekend, falling from #2 to #4. Starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as a pair of divorce mediators who have perfected the art of sneaking into weddings — and sneaking off with available female guests (see “Such A Happy Couple: Wilson And Vaughn Crash Hollywood’s A-List”) — the comedy earned more than $12 million.

Moviegoers who spent the last six years pining for the return of Rob Schneider’s Deuce Bigalow character got their fix this week as “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” hit the big screen. In this installment, Deuce travels to Europe to help his former pimp (Eddie Griffin) clear his name after he becomes a suspect in the murders of Europe’s top gigolos (see “Set Visit: ‘Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo’ “). The film seduced its way to the #5 spot, earning $9.4 million.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” took a sizeable tumble this week, dropping from #3 to #6. Tim Burton’s film, which earned more than $7.2 million, stars Johnny Depp as a bizarre chocolate mogul and Freddy Highmore as a poor child who becomes the luckiest boy in the world.

Rounding out the box-office top 10 are “March of the Penguins,” which drops from #6 to #7 with more than $6.7 million; “Sky High,” which falls from #4 to #8 with more than $6.1 million; “Must Love Dogs,” which slips from #5 to #8 with more than $4.5 million; and “The Great Raid,” which bows at #10 with more than $3.3 million.

Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.

Next week, look for “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” “Valiant,” and “Red-Eye” to debut on the box-office top 10.

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