Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal-starring thriller "Prisoners" makes a triumphant debut on North American box office. The dark crime pic enters the chart at the penthouse by opening to $7M on Friday and then adding $9M (up 28%) on Saturday to eventually finish with a decent $21.4M domestic throughout the weekend.
Produced and financed by Alcon Entertaiment with a lean budget of $46M, the movie about the search for two girls kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day marks the 2nd biggest three-day opening for Alcon's founders Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Four years ago, they scored with critically-acclaimed "The Blind Side" which made a $34.1M debut.
"It's very gratifying to see movies do well that aren't straight-down-the-middle studio fare," Johnson says. "And to have this film succeed bodes well for having more diverse product come out of the major studios." He declares the film "a bit of a water cooler film, with people discussing its twists and turns. It generates conversations, which should generate even more interest in it."
This also adds to the list of Jackman's hits. The actor has been on a box office roll since 2008 as the male leads in "The Wolverine", "Les Miserables", "Real Steel", and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". It ultimately becomes his best debut ever in a non-musical and non-action films, surpassing "Australia" ($14.8M) and "Deception" ($2.3M).
The Denis Villeneuve-directed movie gives Gyllenhaal an extra boost as well. Last year, the "Source Code" actor, who will next be seen in another thriller by Villeneuve, "Enemy", led gritty cop drama "End of Watch" to open with $13 million. Despite the modest number, it earned back its $7M budget in the debut weekend and gained positive reviews.
Distributed by Warner Bros., the thriller appealed to older audience with 72% over the age of 25 and 26% over the age of 50. Females dominated 52% of the viewers. Supported by stellar cast like Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo, it got an initial B+ CinemaScore but the grade rose to an A- on a Saturday survey.
The second biggest debut this week is dance flick "Battle of the Year" starring Josh Holloway and Chris Brown. The 3D movie based on director Benson Lee's award-winning documentary about break-dancing "Planet B-Boy" bowed at No. 5 with only $5M debut despite a fresh A- grade from CinemaScore. Directed also by Lee, it costs approximately $20 million.
Sitting four steps lower on the chart is MGM's 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" which just got its 3D re-launch over the weekend. First released more than 70 years ago, the story about farmgirl Dorothy bows at the ninth place with $3 million from 318 theaters with a per-screen average of $9,503 (the highest in the top ten).
Last week's No. 1 "Insidious Chapter 2" has to give up the top spot and settle at the runner-up position. After an impressive $40.3 million opening, the micro-budgeted horror adds $14.5 million (down 64%) in its second weekend, bringing in an estimated ten-day total of $60.9 million domestically.
Robert De Niro's dark mob comedy "The Family" slips one slot to No. 3 with $7 million, bringing its domestic cume to $25.6 million. Spanish-language "Instructions Not Included" climbs from the sixth place to the fourth position with an additional $5.7 million, pushing its U.S. gross of $34.7 million.
Outside the top 10, car-racing drama "Rush" starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl has a pretty descent start with its limited debut from five domestic theaters ahead of its wide release next weekend. The Ron Howard-directed pic about the rivalry of real-life drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda garners $200K for a $40K per-theater average.