Hot start for Zombie love story 'Warm Bodies'

"Warm Bodies," a romantic comedy featuring a warm-hearted zombie, lured teenage girls to the theatre and raised $20 million in ticket sales in the U.S. in its first weekend.

Playing in more than 3,000 theaters, the odd-pairing of a pale-faced zombie with his breathing girlfriend faced little competition among new films and easily mauled last weekend'S winner "Hansel and Gretel," an updated version of the classic fairy tale with witch-hunting siblings. The film collected $9.2 million this weekend, according to studio estimates.

Based on a first time novel by Seattle writer Isaac Marion, "Warm Bodies" was produced for a little more than $30 million by Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment, the studio that also produced the mega-blockbuster "Twilight" series.

The film stars 24-year-old British actor Marcus Brewer as the pale, stiff-walking zombie R, one of the few zombies capable of thought in a plaque ravaged world.

"We were above expectations going into the holiday weekend," says David Spitz, Lionsgate's executive vice president and general sales manager.

Spitz predicted that the film, which he referred to as a "rom-zom-com" would benefit from the upcoming long weekend in the U.S. that coincides with Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day.

"Warm Bodies" surpassed industry projections of $18 million, and benefited from an aggressive marketing campaign that started last summer and included trailers attached to "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" and 60-second commercials on AMC channel's cult zombie hit "The Walking Dead."



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