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‘Saw V’ scares off B.O. competition

Lionsgate sequel takes in $3.1 million Friday

Halloween scared off moviegoers yesterday with many holdovers seeing steep drops and wide entries posting soft openings. Nonetheless, some holiday auds shelled out $3.1 million for Lionsgate’s “Saw V,” giving the horror installment the top spot at the Friday box office.

Despite its no. 1 slot yesterday, “Saw V” as well as last weekend’s champ Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” saw their second Friday hauls hacked by 79% and 90% respectively. “HSM3” charted in fifth, grossing $1.67 million off 3,626 sites for an eight day cume of $48.4 million million. Playing at 3,084, “Saw V’s” domestic total moved to $38.8 million.

Universal upped the theater count for Clint Eastwood’s 1920s drama “Changeling” from 15 to 1,850 in its second Friday, catapulting the pic to second place with $2.3 million. Warner Bros. executed a similar second weekend wide expansion with Eastwood’s “Mystic River” in early October 2003. After “Mystic” posted a first day opening of $185,602 from 13 theaters, pic’s second Friday went on to gross $3.3 million at 1,467. Current B.O. for “Changeling” stands at $3 million.

Kevin Smith’s R-rated raunchy comedy “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” distributed by the Weinstein Co. took third with $2.2 million from 2,735 while Freestyle Releasing’s Haley Bennett and Chace Crawford high school thriller “The Haunting of Molly Hartley” slotted fourth with $1.7 million at 2,652.

Similar to 2003 when Halloween fell on a Friday, business at the multiplex is expected to rebound today. After several wide releases grossed ho-hum B.O. figures on the holiday, many pics saw a full fold surge or more in their Saturday numbers.

MGM’s “The Other End of the Line” was one of the few limited releases, collecting $15,000 from 91 locales.

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