After months of studio types openly fretting about how Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the children’s classic Where The Wild Things Are would be too frightening or narratively spare for family audiences—and at a steep $100 million pricetag, too—the film enjoyed a surprisingly robust opening weekend with $32.5 million. It remains to be seen whether those numbers hold or fall off steeply once word of mouth starts to circulate, but anyone predicting an unmitigated disaster should get out of the prognostication business. Also performing better than expectations: Law Abiding Citizen, the dismal Saw-like vigilante thriller starring Gerard Butler as a man who single-handedly attempts to take the justice system down after it fails his family. It took in $21.3 million, good enough for second place. The week’s other wide release, an even more dismal remake of the 1987 pulp favorite The Stepfather, took fifth with a modest $12.3 million, but that’s plenty strong enough to make back its $20 million budget with interest.
Once again, though, the biggest (or at least second biggest) box-office story of the week was the continued domination of Paranormal Activity, which opened on over twice as many screens (now 760) as the week before and didn’t show signs of slowing down. The film’s staggering $26,500 per screen average was enough to earn the $11,000 viral chiller an additional $20.2 million for third place. Action in limited markets was considerably more muted, however, with the anthology film New York, I Love You hauling $3100 per screen for $372,000 total, far off the pace set by its successful (and much better) predecessor Paris Je T’aime. Despite strong reviews, Black Dynamite did even worse with a paltry $2000 per screen, continuing a rough start by nascent distributor Apparition Films, which underperformed earlier with its debut offering Bright Star. The lone bright spot in the indie scene was The Maid, a well-received psychodrama that took in $18,400 on a single screen.
More detailed numbers at Box Office Mojo.
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