'Halloween II' takes second with $7.6 million

In a face-off between two horror franchise titles, Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Final Destination” drew first blood at the Friday box office with $10.9 million against Weinstein Co.’s “Halloween II” which took second with $7.6 million.

While both films with their R-rating skewed toward adults, “The Final Destination” had the upper hand at the multiplex with 1,678 of its 3,121 theaters being 3-D. And with the added thrills of 3-D came a higher ticket price for moviegoers. Overall, “The Final Destination” catered more to females on Friday, while “Halloween II” appealed mostly to men.

Unlike the average sequel which typically posts a lower B.O. result than its predecessor, each chapter of “Final Destination” has bowed to bigger returns. “The Final Destination” earned the highest opening day for the franchise, outstripping the first day of 2006’s “Final Destination 3″ which earned $7.1 million. The opening weekend for “Final Destination 3″ was $19.2 million.

Playing at 3,025 venues, Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II” notched the second highest opening day for the classic horror property following the $10.9 million grossed by its 2007 reboot. Even though “Halloween II” didn’t stab the No. 1 spot yesterday, its opening doesn’t come as an upset to the Weinstein Co. as the film’s production cost was a thrifty $15 million.

The Weinstein Co. also owned third yesterday with the Quentin Tarantino war epic “Inglourious Basterds” which counted $5.9 million in its second Friday off 3,165, a 59% decline and a running estimated cume of $59.6 million.

The third wide release yesterday, Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” from Focus Features, earned $1.2 million in ninth place off 1,393. Focus unspooled “Woodstock” at two locales on Wednesday at the Lincoln Plaza in Gotham and ArcLight Hollywood were it made $11,700. Similar to previous years, Focus Features has typically mined the late August frame with adult-skewing fare such as 2005’s “The Constant Gardener” and last year’s “Hamlet 2.”

In fourth, Sony/TriStar’s South African sci-fi pic “District 9″ counted $3 million off 3,180, holding well with only a 46% decline in its third Friday and moving its total domestic B.O. to $83 million.

Following “District 9,” Paramount and Spyglass’ actioner “G.I. Joe” remained active in yesterday’s top five with $2.3 million off 3,467, down 37% for a running total of $126.7 million.

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