Archive for Monday, October 30, 2006

Saw III’ takes biggest cut of box office revenue

October 30, 2006


— Halloween came early at movie theaters as "Saw III" sliced up the competition with a $34.3 million debut, the best opening yet for the gory horror franchise.

Lionsgate's "Saw III" easily took over as No. 1 at the box office, bumping off Disney's dueling-magicians saga "The Prestige," which slipped to third place with $9.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Martin Scorsese's mob tale "The Departed" held strongly again, taking in $9.8 million to place second for the third-straight weekend.

Revenues for "The Departed" were down just 27 percent from the previous weekend, compared to 35 percent for "The Prestige" and 38 percent for Clint Eastwood's World War II epic "Flags of Our Fathers," which was No. 4 with $6.35 million.

"Flags of Our Fathers," which cost $90 million to produce, has gotten off to a slow start, raising its 10-day total to $19.9 million. The acclaimed film still could follow the pattern of Eastwood's last two movies, "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby," which became hits on the strength of Academy Awards buzz.

Hollywood remained on a box-office roll, with business up for the fifth straight weekend. The top 12 movies took in $89.1 million, up 2.4 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Saw II" opened at No. 1 with $31.7 million.

Since the low-budget "Saw" debuted with $18.3 million over the same weekend two years ago, Lionsgate has turned the franchise into an annual ritual with quickly produced sequels each Halloween. The movies follow the diabolical schemes of psycho killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), who stages elaborate, bloody games to test the moral fiber of his victims. Lionsgate plans to have "Saw IV" in theaters over Halloween weekend next year.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "Saw III," $34.3 million.

2. "The Departed," $9.8 million.

3. "The Prestige," $9.6 million.

4. "Flags of Our Fathers," $6.35 million.

5. "Open Season," $6.1 million.

6. "Flicka," $5 million.

7. "Man of the Year," $4.7 million.

8. "The Grudge 2," $3.3 million.

9. "Marie Antoinette," $2.85 million.

10. "Running With Scissors," $2.55 million.


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