'Destination,' 'Halloween' take on 'Woodstock'

In an unusual blood fest, two horror films are opening directly against each other Friday at the domestic B.O. — Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Final Destination” and the Weinstein Co.’s “Halloween II.”

While the two films are likely to cannibalize each other, “Final Destination” could get an extra boost from the added charge for a 3-D ticket. Pic opens in a total of 3,121 theaters, of which 1,678 are 3-D locations.

“Halloween II,” bowing in 3,025 runs, staked out the date first, while “Final Destination” didn’t have much room to maneuver because of the limited availability of 3-D screens.

Focus Features hopes the rock ‘n’ roll appeal of “Taking Woodstock” will expand beyond baby boomers as it opens nationwide after unspooling in New York and Los Angeles Wednesday.

Getting off to a solid start, “Woodstock” posted a per-screen average of $5,828 with $11,700 from Lincoln Plaza in Gotham and Arclight Hollywood. “Woodstock’s” theater count goes up to 1,393 this weekend.

Focus is bowing “Woodstock” in the same slot as adult-skewing “The Constant Gardener” in 2005. The latter opened to roughly $8.7 million from 1,424 runs.

“Woodstock,” co-written by Focus topper James Schamus and costing under $30 million to produce, is expected to open more modestly. Focus says the film is positioned perfectly as an adult alternative over Labor Day.

On the specialty side, Roadside Attractions opens docu “The September Issue,” about legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour, in six theaters in New York.

Also bowing on the penultimate weekend of summer is Justin Timberlake-Jeff Bridges starrer “The Open Road,” which Anchor Bay opens in 13 theaters. The busiest box office season of the year may be winding down, but plenty of new and holdover titles are still vying for attention.

“Halloween II” — opening two years after Bob and Harvey Weinstein saw boffo results with a reboot of the classic “Halloween” — is expected to skew slightly female, while the “Final Destination” franchise has historically played more to females. “Halloween,” bowing on the same weekend in 2007, opened to $26.4 million.

The Weinstein Co.’s “Inglourious Basterds” also remains a contender, particularly with men. The Quentin Tarantino film opened to $38.1 million last weekend, the best opening ever for the filmmaker. “Basterds” has done strong weekday biz, with a domestic cume of $50.6 million through Wednesday.

There’s even a chance that “Basterds” could trump “Halloween II” and “Final Destination” if the two horror films end up splitting business down the middle.

Horror maestro Rob Zombie directed “Halloween II” after also helming the 2007 film, which relaunched the franchise.

Box office observers say “Halloween II” and “Final Destination” could gross in the high teens, unless one pulls ahead and jumps the $20 million mark.

If “Final Destination” gains the upper hand because of higher-priced 3-D tickets, weekend could prove an important test for the fledgling 3-D business.

Warner Bros. insiders say they were virtually locked into going up against “Halloween” because of upcoming 3-D releases, as well as the studio’s own release calendar, which includes the Sept. 11 opening of crime-actioner “Whiteout.”

In terms of 3-D pics, Disney’s “G-Force” is still in the market, while Sony opens 3-D toon “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” on Sept. 18.

Warner Bros. took possession of the “Final Destination” franchise when New Line became a label within the Warners fold.

Next weekend’s Labor Day frame brings 20th Century Fox’s Sandra Bullock-Bradley Cooper romantic comedy “All About Steve” and Paramount Vantage’s horror pic “Carriers.”

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