B.O. Roundup, September 20-22: 'Prisoners' Holds Sway

Sunday, 22 September 2013 11:00 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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B.O. Roundup, September 20-22: 'Prisoners' Holds Sway

A grown-up drama in which no adamantium claws burst forth from Hugh Jackman's knuckles took first place at the domestic box office this weekend.

In first place, Prisoners grossed an estimated $21.4 million from 3,260 theaters.  Elsewhere, dance-off movie Battle of the Year failed to make a big impression and The Wizard of Oz drew crowds in IMAX 3D, while in limited release, Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said debuted strong and Ron Howard's latest tapped the gas.

Prisoners boasts a very strong cast led by Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as slick visuals courtesy of Roger Deakins.  But it's also an R-rated dramatic thriller centered around the abduction of two six-year-old girls, following an increasingly desperate detective and an unraveling father.  On paper, that might look like a bit of a hard sell, but strong performances and reviews helpedp propel Denis Villeneuve's relentless thriller to a number one debut.

Going in to the weekend, projections had Prisoners earning just about $20 million, and the film didn't disappoint.  In fact, it fits snugly among recent well-reviewed September dramas, such as Moneyball and Contagion, which opened to $19.5 million and $22.5 million, respectively, in 2011.  Or The Town, which debuted to $23.8 million on this weekend in 2010.

Insidious: Chapter 2 took a 64% dip – pretty standard for a horror movie – in its second frame, while Luc Besson's The Family held strong in third place and Instructions Not Included continued its sleeper-hit performance, adding 45 screens and goosing its weekend total in the process.

Director Benson Lee turned his 2007 documentary Planet B-Boy into a narrative feature with Battle of the Year, and Sony's Screen Gems was hoping the result would earn $8 million or so this weekend.  According to estimates, though, Battle of the Year pulled in just $5.0 million from 2,008 theaters.

Bona-fide cinema classic The Wizard of Oz proved its staying power for the bajillionth time since 1939.  The IMAX 3D reissue of the potent fantasy musical made the top ten despite playing in just 318 IMAX locations, from which the rerelease raked in an estimated $3.0 million.  That puts it in ninth place on this weekend's chart and qualifies it as the biggest debut for a reissue exclusively in the large-format theaters.

The sex-addiction comedy-drama Enough Said debuted at 269 locations, earning an estimated $608,000.  Attracting more attention in much smaller releases are Enough Said and Rush.  The latest from Nicole Holofcener, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late great James Gandolfini, Enough Said earned $240,000 from just four locations.  That's a tremendous $60,000 per-theater average.  Rush has a strong pedigree, coming from Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl.  Universal rolled the Formula 1 racing drama out in five locations before Rush's wide release next week.  The film grossed an estimated $200,000 for an also-strong $40,000 average.

Here are the top ten movies for the weekend of September 20th through 22nd:

1. Prisoners                                            $21.4 million               New Release

2. Insidious: Chapter 2                          $14.5 million               $60.8 million

3. The Family                                          $7.0 million               $25.6 million

4. Instructions Not Included                  $5.7 million               $34.2 million

5. Battle of the Year                               $5.0 million               New Release

6. We're the Millers                                $4.6 million               $138.1 million

7. Lee Daniels' The Butler                     $4.3 million               $106.4 million

8. Riddick                                               $3.6 million               $37.1 million

9. The Wizard of Oz IMAX 3D                $3.0 million               New Rerelease

10. Planes                                               $2.8 million               $86.5 million

In wide release next week, we'll be seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon.  Other big releases in the week to come include Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 and Baggage Claim.

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