’17 Again’ easily takes boxoffice crown

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Warner Bros.’ comedy fantasy “17 Again” ruled the domestic boxoffice this weekend with an estimated $24.1 million bow built heavily on support from young female fans of rising star Zac Efron.

Universal’s Russell Crowe-toplined “State of Play” took the session’s silver medal despite a soft $14.1 million opening, while Lionsgate’s action sequel “Crank: High Voltage” debuted in sixth with just $6.5 million.

Disney’s tween-girls magnet “Hannah Montana: The Movie” was the top holdover pic, dropping 61% in its sophomore session to register $12.7 million in fourth place for a 10-day cume of $56.1 million.

And Warners’ dark comedy “Observe and Report” finished seventh over its second weekend as the Seth Rogen starrer dropped 63% from opening grosses for a $4.1 million frame and $18.7 million cume.

Industrywide, the $107 million weekend represented a 14% improvement over the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI.

Year to date, 2009 is pacing 8% ahead of last year, at $2.73 billion. The year-over-year improvement appears more modest than it might as the year-ago period boasted an extra winter weekend.

In a limited bow this weekend, IDP/Samuel Goldwyn’s fact-based drama “American Violet” unspooled in 61 locations and ran up $257,114, or a sturdy $4,215 per site.

Sony Pictures Classics debuted its Broadway documentary “Every Little Step” in eight theaters to register $72,616, or an auspicious $9,077 per venue.

Story Island’s Michael Caine starrer “Is Anybody There?” opened with six playdates and grossed $45,112, or a solid $7,519 per engagement.

And IFC Films bowed Middle East drama “Lemon Tree” in a pair of New York locations, grossing $14,100, or $7,050 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, SPC added 30 playdates for its baseball drama “Sugar” and rung up $110,079, or a thin $2,293 per engagement, with a cume of $327,844.

And Focus Features’ Spanish-language drama “Sin Nombre” added 15 locations for a total of 80, grossing $256,813, or an acceptable $3,210 per site, with a $1.2 million cume.

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