Martin Scorsese scored his biggest opening ever with Warner Bros. release “The Departed” as the cop drama took in just over $27 million on 3,017 screens over the weekend.
Among the helmer’s previous pics, only 1991 remake “Cape Fear” had bowed to more than $10 million.
New Line’s latest entry in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchise, meanwhile, ripped $19.1 million from 2,820 locations to land at No. 2.
Pic’s predecessor bowed in October three years ago to more than $28 million and a No. 1 finish.
Frame’s other new wide opener, Lionsgate’s PG-13 rated “Employee of the Month,” with a cast including Dane Cook and Jessica Simpson, punched in on Sunday with an estimated $11.8 million off 2,579 playdates.
Unlike three years ago, this October is filled with a glut of genre product aimed at young males, as Paramount and MTV Films’ “Jackass Number Two” and “Jet Li’s Fearless” both stayed in the top 10.
Tracking on “Departed” had suggested the film would be popular with older males, but the feature managed to bring in female and younger auds as well.
“Departed” marked Scorsese’s widest rollout to date, as well as the frame’s widest new release, and was Warner’s biggest R-rated opening in October.
Pic — starring Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Leonardo DiCaprio — played to a socko per-screen average of $8,954.
“The tracking looked like we’d skew to older males,” said Warners distribution honcho Dan Fellman. “But we hit almost 25% in every quadrant.”
Next weekend, “Chainsaw” will have to hold its own against another horror franchise entry, Sony’s “The Grudge 2.”
New Line domestic marketing prexy Russell Schwartz said the “Chainsaw” aud was equally split between men and women in the under-25 set.
Columbus Day weekend is usually friendly to family pics, but it was the frame’s more serious fare — “Departed” and “Chainsaw” — that came up winners.
However, Sony’s No. 4 finisher, the CG-animated holdover “Open Season,” added $16 million to its tally, likely getting a bump from the holiday.
Pic, which finished No. 1 last frame, now stands at $44 million in its second sesh.
“Departed” perf helped boost B.O. from the top 10 movies to $99.7 million from $83.6 million a week ago. Biz was also up from last year’s mark of $80 million over the same frame, when DreamWorks’ animated “Wallace & Gromit” pic was tops.
Disney’s “The Guardian,” which finished in the No. 2 slot on the charts last frame, slid 46% in its second frame to No. 5.
Coast Guard drama took in $9.6 million to raise its cume to more than $32.3 million.
One weekend casualty of having so many pics aimed at under-25 males was the Weinstein Co.’s “School for Scoundrels.” Pic, distribbed via MGM, slid a sharp 60% in its second frame, taking in $3.4 million from more than 3,000 locations.
Cume on the Todd Phillips-helmed movie stands at $13.9 million after two frames.