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'Grindhouse' Suffers Box Office Horror

Bad-boy directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez fell victims to a box office bloodbath on Sunday as their ambitious double feature "Grindhouse" bombed during its first weekend of release.

The film -- actually a package of two movies honoring the low-budget horror movies of the 1970s -- opened at No. 4 with three-day ticket sales of just $11.6 million, distributor Dimension Films said. Box office forecasters had expected it to hit the $20 million level.

Will Ferrell led the box office for a second weekend as his ice skating comedy "Blades of Glory" earned $23 million. The animated "Meet the Robinsons" held steady at No. 2 with $17 million, also in its second weekend.

The best of the four rookies was the family comedy "Are We Done Yet?" at No. 3 with $15 million. The film, starring pioneering rapper Ice Cube, has earned $19.1 million since opening on Wednesday to get an early start on the Easter holiday.

The Hilary Swank horror movie "The Reaping" opened at No. 5 with $10.1 million for the three days, and $12.0 million since opening on Thursday. Another family comedy, "Firehouse Dog," failed to ignite, coming in at No. 10 with $4 million, and $5.3 million since Wednesday.

"Disappointing " Start

"Grindhouse," which opened on Friday, was the highest-profile opener, and its likely performance was the subject of much speculation given its three-and-a-quarter hour running time and unusual format.

The $53 million project consists of Rodriguez' zombie thriller "Planet Terror" and Tarantino's slasher picture "Death Proof," complemented by ersatz trailers and scratchy prints that give a period feel to the undertaking.

"Although the overall opening weekend box office was disappointing, the film played to big, cheering crowds in New York, Los Angeles, and other large cities and we hope the strong word of mouth will overcome any initial resistance in smaller markets to its three-hour running time," Dimension Films co-chairman Bob Weinstein said in a statement.

Dimension is a unit of closely held Weinstein Co., which has struggled to find its footing at the box office since Bob and his brother Harvey Weinstein decamped from Miramax Films in 2005. Weinstein added in his statement that he had "no doubt" that the movie would be a financial success after foreign and DVD sales are included. The movies will be shown separately overseas.

"Blades of Glory" has earned $68.4 million after 10 days. It was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom. Walt Disney's "Meet the Robinsons" has tallied $52.2 million.