‘Contagion’ goes viral at Friday B.O.

Warner Bros. thriller takes in $8 mil to dethrone 'Help'

Warner Bros.’ “Contagion” swept the box office Stateside last night with $8.03 million.

“Contagion” and last week’s B.O. one-two punch “The Help” and “The Debt” indicate that a more mature aud is attending plexes with the summer over. However, Friday nights aren’t typically big with adults, which could mean “Contagion” (and its PG-13 rating) is demonstrating some youth appeal. The pandemic thriller will likely land just north of $20 million this weekend.

Coming in second, the Mouse’s “Help” grossed $2.672 million. Down about 26% from last week and expected to earn close to $10 million through Sunday, “Help” will likely take second this frame after three weeks at number one. It has cumed more than $130 million domestically so far.

In third, Lionsgate’s “Warrior” earned about $1.8 million last night. Pic is banking on the popularity of mixed martial arts, so it is expected to play best with teens, but Lionsgate is hoping appeal will trickle up to older auds. “Warrior” should land in the $6 million – $8 million range this frame.

Two holdovers completed the top five last night. Focus Features’ “The Debt” took fourth with $1.442 million, while Sony’s “Colombiana” grossed $1.165 million.

This weekend’s final major newcomer, the Adam Sandler-produced Sony-distributed laffer “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star” took 13th last night after FilmDistrict’s “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” The comedy, which cost less than $10 million to produce, opened to $540,000.

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