U's crime actioner takes in $8.7 mil to beat newcomers

With three new hopefuls entering the domestic marketplace, auds sided with Universal’s “Contraband,” earning it $8.7 million yesterday.

The Relativity/Working Title co-production reportedly cost $25 million to make, and should slightly exceed that in gross over the four-day weekend.

In an effort to capitalize on Monday’s school holiday and the massive success of its “Lion King” 3D re-release, Disney opened its 3D post-converted “Beauty and the Beast” Friday to $5.6 million. Mouse distribution prexy Dave Hollis said the “Lion King” conversion to 3D cost the studio in the low single digits, which means even a relatively low open for “Beauty” (insiders are saying close to $22 million through Monday) will mean solid returns for the company.

Third place Friday saw a dead tie between Warner Bros.’ opener “Joyful Noise” and Paramount’s holdover “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” Both grossed $3.3 million yesterday. The latter, in its fifth week in release, has reached $178.5 million Stateside, while the former is looking at a four-day take in the mid- to high-teens.

Par Insurge’s “The Devil Inside” added another $2.7 million yesterday for a domestic cume of $41 million. The scarer reportedly cost only $1 million to acquire, so even its astounding 87% week-to-week drop won’t have execs worried. The significant drop is likely due to poor word-of-mouth, with 66% of auds giving the pic a Cinemascore of C or lower.

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