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'Dragon' knocks 'Alice' from top of box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "How to Train Your Dragon" breathed a bit of box-office fire with a $43.3 million opening weekend and a No. 1 debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Disney's "Alice in Wonderland," which had been No. 1 the previous three weekends, slipped to second place with $17.3 million. It raised its domestic total to $293.1 million and its worldwide haul to $656 million.

After a phenomenal 15-week run, James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar" finally fell out of the top 10, taking in $2 million to finish at No. 11, raising its domestic total to $740.4 million. Worldwide, the movie has taken in $2.7 billion.

Overall revenues were down for the first time in a month. Domestic receipts totaled $127 million, off 13 percent from the same weekend last year, according to

For the year, revenues are at $2.6 billion, 8.8 percent ahead of last year.

In narrower release, Sony Pictures Classics' sex thriller "Chloe" opened with $1 million in 350 theaters, averaging a weak $2,863 a cinema. That compared to an average of $10,678 in 4,055 theaters for "How to Train Your Dragon" and $4,956 in 2,754 theaters for "Hot Tub Time Machine."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to

1. "How to Train Your Dragon," $43.3 million.

2. "Alice in Wonderland," $17.3 million.

3. "Hot Tub Time Machine," $13.7 million.

4. "The Bounty Hunter," $12.4 million.

5. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," $10 million.

6. "She's Out of My League," $3.5 million.

7. "Green Zone," $3.3 million.

8. "Shutter Island," $3.2 million.

9. "Repo Men," $3 million.

10. "Our Family Wedding," $2.2 million.


M.J. Peterson growing

M.J. Peterson Corp.'s market share locally is approaching 10 percent, as the area's No. 3 real estate brokerage seeks to encroach on industry leaders RealtyUSA and Hunt Real Estate Corp.

The 80-year-old family-owned company said Tuesday that its brokerage division finished last year up 2.5 percent over 2008, while its pending sales volume was up 8 percent, the company said in a news release.

Company vice president Victor L. Peterson III, grandson of the company's founder, said the firm has recruited more than 40 agents in the past 12 months, with their business increasing by an average of at least 20 percent over the course of that time.

"The housing market continues to be the bright spot in the local economy," Peterson said.


Business this week...

These are the major business and economic events scheduled this week:

*Today -- Commerce Department releases personal income and spending.

*Tuesday -- January index of home prices released; Consumer Confidence Index for March released.

*Wednesday -- Commerce Department releases factory orders for February.

*Thursday -- Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims; Commerce Department releases construction spending for February; Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.

*Friday -- Labor Department releases employment data for March; Markets closed for Good Friday.

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