BOX OFFICE 9/20-9/22: 'Prisoners' Scares off the Competition

The Hugh Jackman drama Prisoners debuted at No. 1 this weekend, with a $21 million finish, to go along with its strong reviews (79% Rotten Tomatoes). It's something of a surprise that it did so well, considering that it was a very heavy adult drama about kidnapped children, from an unknown French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, but it's turning out to be a testament to Hugh Jackman's continually rising drawing power since 2008 (Real Steel, Les Miserables, and The Wolverine have all done better than expected and were sold based on his star appeal). The movie could be in for some strong legs as while, seeing that it got an "A-" from crowds and played roughly even with men and women (52/48). It will of course, have competition from other dramas competing for the same audience all coming out in the next few weeks (Rush, Gravity and Captain Phillips).

Last week's champ Insidious 2 fell 64% to $14.5 million this weekend, the typical horror movie cliff drop, but its total of $60 million has already made it a huge hit for the studio and director James Wan, more than the first movie finished with in its entire run. The other wide release of the weekend was the dance movie Battle of the Year, which starred Josh Holloway and Chris Brown, and bombed with just $5 million, maybe telling us the days of the hit dance movies like Step Up are over with. And the hit Spanish-language film Instructions Not Included continues to do extremely well, becoming the fifth highest grossing foreign language film of all time in the U.S., and likely to pass Pan's Labyrinth $37 million dollar finish in the next week.

Top 5: 

  1. Prisoners- $21.4 million
  2. Insidious Chapter 2- $14.5 million
  3. The Family- $7 million
  4. Instructions Not Included- $5.7 million
  5. Battle of the Year- $5 million

In limited release, the 3D version of The Wizard of Oz pulled in an ok $3 million for ninth place, while the big news was Enough Said, the glowingly reviewed romantic comedy with James Gandolfini and Julia-Louis Dreyfus, pulling in a huge $60,000 per screen in only 4 theaters. Perhaps more attention was paid due to Gandolfini's recent passing, but the per screen average was stronger that Ron Howard's car-racing drama Rush, which opened on 5 screens for a $40,000 PTA.

Check back next week for the wide release of Rush against the new releases Don Jon, Baggage Claim, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.