By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 31, 2010 at 6:37AM
While there was a brief moment this year when Lionsgate and Paramount were both eyeing an October 22nd bow for their respective horror franchise sequels, it was a probably a good idea that "Saw 3D" moved out of the way. Opening to $24.2 million, the figure is nowhere near the $41.5 million haul last weekend for "Paranormal Activity 2," but though the figure is being seen as a "disappointment" in some quarters, we don't imagine Lionsgate is too upset. It takes the number one slot this weekend and represents an uptick for the franchise which saw its last two installments open in second place with figures under $20 million. And while it's not in the range of the $30 million plus openings of the first four films, its certainly more than enough incentive for producers to find a way to keep this wheezy franchise going. Though touted as the final entry in the series, the door is left wide open for another film where young people and rap-rock stars get eviscerated in increasingly elaborate traps. For some reason, this creatively bankrupt series still has its fans.
Dropping nearly 60% from last weekend, the $16.5 million take for "Paranormal Activity 2" is enough to land it in second place. The cheapie sequel to the already cheapie original continues a lucrative October for Paramount which has seen two very low budget films bring in big box office bucks. While the film probably won't leg out as strong as its predecessor in the weeks to come, with a $65 million haul on a $3 million budget (and add a few more for marketing) you can pretty much guarantee "Paranormal Activity 3" will be plotted for next Halloween. Whether or not it will once again battle with Jigsaw for fans of watery horror flicks remains to be seen.
Holding well and coming in third place for the second straight week, Robert Schwentke's "Red" added another $10.8 million to its take, bringing its tally to just under $60 million. While the film isn't quite the comic smash Summit were hoping for, it will end up being a modest, solid success which will bode well for Schwentke who has been getting some heat around his name in the lead up to the film's release earlier this month.
But as we mentioned, cheapie sequels were the money makers in October, and "Jackass 3D" pushed its tally over the $100 million mark with a $8.4 million, fourth place finish. The film is proof that getting hit in the balls never goes out of style and the Jackass antics are still a big hit with audiences. Paramount is already planning on milking more out of the series with extra footage of the shoot being compiled in a direct to video "Jackass 3.5" that will hit stores in January.
In fifth and sixth place, two adult-oriented dramas hold their ground with "Hereafter" and "Secretariat" bringing $6.3 million and $5 million respectively. For Clint Eastwood, it means his afterlife drama will end up doing "Changeling" and "Invictus" -sized numbers but seems unlikely to be an awards contender like those films, which generated acting nods for their lead actors. Meanwhile, Disney's "Secretariat" isn't "The Blind Side" -esque picture they were hoping for, numbers-wise, and though trotting along nicely at the box office, like "Hereafter" its award chances are diminishing by the week.
But one film that remains right in the thick of the awards race, "The Social Network," takes seventh with $4.7 million. Fincher's Facebook drama will pass the $80 million mark next week and depending on where it finally ends once the receipts are counted, it will end up being close to his third best box office outing, placing near the $96 million haul by "Panic Room." The film will most likely be gone from theaters by the time major awards start being nominated and one wonders how much that box office could've been padded if the release had been set a month later.
In eighth place, Katherine Heigl's "Life As We Know It" grabs its last significant box office figure, adding $4 million to push its tally to over $40 million.The film will end up nearly matching "Killers" which took $47 million earlier this year and so will mark the second straight middling box office return for the actress. It appears that she may be the Meg Ryan of this generation, with audiences unwilling to see her onscreen in anything that isn't a straight-up romcom. Let's just hope Heigl can find future material that is more "When Harry Met Sally" and less "27 Dresses."
In ninth Ben Affleck's "The Town" adds $1.9 million meaning the film will end up topping out around $90 million, a strong figure for the director's second film, that has firmly established him as an A-list helmer. Warner Bros. will making a huge push for this film in the coming months for some statues (they've really got nothing else in the stable) and it will be interesting to see if they can pull out "The Departed"-style plaudits for the picture. Finally, thanks to a 500 theater expansion, Hilary Swank's legal drama "Conviction" squeaks into tenth with $1.8 million.
Meanwhile at the arthouse, fans flocked to see the final chapter of the Lisbeth Salander trilogy with “The Girl That Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” taking in nearly a $1 million dollars on 153 screens which will put the film on track to land somewhere between the $10 million dollar take of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and the $7.5 million haul of "The Girl Who Played With Fire." Less convincing, the Kristen Stewart drama "Welcome To The Rileys" disappointed with a $45,000 gross on 10 screens. But boding well, Gareth Edward's "Monsters" scared up $21,000 on 3 screens with a strong $7,000 per screen average. Even better was Claude Chabrol's "Inspector Bellamy" taking $24,200 on two screens (you can do the math on the per screen average) but its also a very New York City figure that is unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere. Same deal with Lucy Walker's doc "Waste Land" which took $11,562 on one screen.
1. Saw 3D - $22.5 million
2. Paranormal Activity 2 - $16.5 million ($65.6 million)
3. Red - $10.8 million ($58.9 million)
4. Jackass 3D - $8.4 million ($101.5 million)
5. Hereafter - $6.3 million ($22.1 million)
6. Secretariat - $5 million ($44.7 million)
7. The Social Network - $4.7 million ($79.6 million)
8. Life As We Know It - $4 million ($43.4 million)
9. The Town - $1.9 million ($87.6 million)
10. Conviction - $1.8 million ($2.3 million)