Singing, Dancing and Death Traps Rule the Box Office


The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

It was a big weekend at the box office, possibly the busiest October weekend in four years, as two anticipated sequels each opened in over 3,000 theaters. Going into the weekend, it was obvious that Disney’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year was going to win the weekend based on the insane amount of advance ticket sales over the past two weeks, which accounted for an opening day of nearly $17 million on Friday. Despite having the fourth-biggest daily gross in October, the musical’s business dropped off roughly 9% on Saturday, which knocked early projections of over $50 million down to a more reasonable opening weekend estimate of $42 million. Averaging $11.6 million in over 3,600 theaters, it looks like Disney will have to settle for the third-biggest October opening following Scary Movie 3 and DreamWorks’ Shark Tale.

Internationally, High School Musical 3: Senior Year earned an impressive $40 million at 3,090 theaters in 22 markets for a worldwide total of $82 million so far.

Lionsgate’s fifth installment of their hit horror series Saw V was projected to do weaker business than its predecessors, but in fact, it fell just shy of the opening of the previous three movies by grossing an estimated $30.5 million in 3,060 theaters over the weekend. The question now is whether it will follow the second and third movies to grosses in the $80 million region or the previous movie to less than $65 million. Since each of the new movies were reportedly produced for just $11 million, they both made back their production budgets after just three days.

The video game adaptation Max Payne (20th Century Fox), starring Mark Wahlberg, dropped 57% in its second weekend to take third place with $7.6 million; it has grossed $29.6 million in its first ten days.

Disney’s other October family hit Beverly Hills Chihuahua dropped to fourth place with $6.9 million, bringing its four week gross to $78.1 million.

Opening in fifth place, the police thriller Pride and Glory, starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell, made an estimated $6.3 million in 2,585 theaters.

Dropping to sixth place, the star-studded ensemble drama The Secret Life of Bees (Fox Searchlight) grossed $5.9 million in its second weekend, bringing its total gross to $19.2 million, while Oliver Stone’s psuedo-biopic W. (Lionsgate) dropped to #7 with $5.3 million and $18.7 million total.

October’s biggest hit, the action-thriller Eagle Eye (DreamWorks), starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan, dropped to eighth place with $5.1 million. It has grossed $88 million since opening in late September.

Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies (Warner Bros.), teaming DiCaprio and Crowe, added another $4 million to its gross of $30.9 million to take ninth place.

Screen Gems’ R-rated horror movie Quarantine rounded out the top 10 with an estimated $2.5 million and $28.8 total.

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $116.4 million over the weekend, up a whopping 43% from the same weekend last year when the box office was ruled by the last installment of the “Saw” series.

In limited release, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling (Universal), starring Angelina Jolie, opened in 15 theaters in select cities and took in $500 thousand, averaging $33k per site. It opens nationwide in over 1,800 theaters on Friday.

Sony Pictures Classics opened two movies in New York and L.A., Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York and Philippe Claudel’s I’ve Loved You So Long, the former grossing $173 thousand in 9 theaters and the latter earning $100 thousand less in 10 theaters.

Disney’s decision to re-release Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D into 284 theaters failed to find much of an audience against the stronger family fare, grossing just $372 thousand compared to the $3.3 million made two years ago and $5.3 million made last year. Rodrigo Garcia’s drama Passengers (Sony) starring Anne Hathaway grossed $185 thousand in 125 theaters, a pitiful average of $1500 per site.

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