’42′ scores at home: Best box office opening of its kind

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LOS ANGELES — Baseball has scored a rare hit in Hollywood.

The Jackie Robinson tale “42″ took in $27.3 million to claim the weekend box-office championship domestically, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Released by Warner Bros., “42″ easily beat the domestic start of an established franchise in “Scary Movie 5.” The Weinstein Co. sequel opened in second-place with $15.2 million, the smallest debut for the horror-comedy series.

Three of the previous four “Scary Movie” installments had debuts of $40 million or more.

On the other hand, “42″ outdid the usual expectations for baseball movies, which usually do modest business at best. Box-office trackers had expected “42″ to pull in less than $20 million.

The $27.3 million opening for “42″ is a record for a baseball flick in terms of straight dollars, topping the $19.5 million debut of “Moneyball” in 2011. Factoring in higher ticket prices, the $13.7 million debut of 1992′s “A League of Their Own” would have been on par with “42″ in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars.

The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers boss Branch Rickey, who brought No. 42 onto the team in 1947 as the Major Leagues’ first black player.

“It’s a story that has so much emotion to it. Jackie Robinson’s life had such an influence on our country,” said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., who noted that all Major League players will wear No. 42 on Monday for Jackie Robinson Day, the 66th anniversary of his Dodgers debut. “Think of what a tribute that is for what he accomplished. Every player wearing 42 on his back.”

With generally good reviews, “42″ drew in older crowds, with 83 percent of the audience over 25, Fellman said.

 

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