Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saw Sequel Saves Box Office Slump

From Here

The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with the studio estimates for the weekend. Be sure to stay tuned there for the final figures on Monday.

After a month of poor business with no single movie earning more than $17 million in a single weekend, the box office has finally been knocked out of its doldrums by two sequels, each appealing to different audiences.

The clear cut winner of the weekend was Lions Gate Films' sequel to their 2004 horror hit, Saw II, bringing back the serial killer known as Jigsaw. It made an estimated $30.5 million its opening weekend, setting the record for a Halloween opening and becoming the Vancouver-based studio's highest opening film to date. It also became the fifth-highest October opener of all time with an average per-theatre over $10 thousand. Presumably filmed for $4 million, more than three times the cost of its predecessor, the sequel made three times its production budget by the close of business on Friday.

Then, there was Sony Pictures' The Legend of Zorro, the sequel to the 1998 film starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, which cost $75 million to make and had to settle for second place with an estimated $16.5 million. Directed by Martin Campbell, the movie opened in over 3,500 theatres with an average of $4,687.

Universal's romantic comedy Prime, starring Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep and newcomer Bryan Greenberg, opened with a respectable $6.4 million in just over 1,800 theatres for third place.

It came out just ahead of DreamWorks' horseracing film Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, which added over 400 theatres in its second weekend and another $6.3 million. It had the smallest drop of any movie in the Top 10, as it grossed $17 million in its first ten days. DreamWorks' other family film Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit got very close to $50 million thanks to its $4.4 million weekend take, as it dropped down to fifth place.

Opening in the #6 slot, Paramount's dark comedy The Weather Man starring Nicholas Cage and Michael Caine, failed to attract audiences with the thought of flying fast food, and it grossed only $4.2 million in a moderate release of 1,500 theatres.

Universal Pictures' Doom, based on the popular video game, took a huge hit in its second weekend, dropping 73% and six places after topping the charts last weekend with just over $15 million. Its second weekend take of $4 million brought its total to just under $23 million.

The eighth and ninth place went to Screen Gems' remake of The Fog and the Charlize Theron mining drama North Country respectively, each making just over $3 million.

Rounding out the Top 10 was the Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan from Touchstone Pictures, which grossed $2.6 million, bringing its total gross to $81 million.

George Clooney's historic drama Good Night, And Good Luck. continues to chug away, holding its place at #12 with a minimal 11% drop-off. Next weekend, it will expand into over 550 theatres nationwide after earning $7.2 million in limited release, so expect it to make its presence felt in the Top 10.

Outside of the Top 12, the urban drama G was given a nationwide release into 495 theatres this weekend, where it earned $1.3 million, twice its box office gross in its first five weeks of limited release. Steve Martin's drama Shop Girl, starring Claire Danes, expanded into 42 theatres and moved into the Top 20 with a second weekend take of $459 thousand.

The only two significant films in limited release were the Palestinian drama Paradise Now from Warner Independent Pictures and the Three... Extremes, an Asian horror anthology from Lions Gate Films. The former made a respectable $49 thousand in four theatres in New York and L.A., while the latter made less than that in almost five times as many theatres. Presumably, Lions Gate are too busy celebrating their #1 hit to worry too much about it.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.

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