Hugh Jackman Prisoners

Kidnapping drama's bow tests strength of Toronto buzz machine

Warner Bros.’ “Prisoners” is expected to lock in about $20 million this weekend, right on target with pre-weekend estimates.

The drama, which started building buzz at fests including Venice and Toronto, earned $7 million on Friday and should easily win its opening weekend and leg out nicely before the rush of Oscar contenders to follow, like “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” did.

If the film’s bow is actually propped up by fest buzz and not just star power, that bodes well for the dozen-plus other films that lit up Toronto to positive press.

Two other Toronto darlings, Universal’s “Rush” and Fox Searchlight’s “Enough Said” opened in limited release this frame.

“Rush,” co-financed by Exclusive Media and Cross Creek Pictures, opened in five plexes Friday to a nice $45,000 per screen average. The Formula One drama opens wide next week. “Enough Said” opened on four screens to a $16,000 average.

Sony’s Chris Brown-starrer “Battle of the Year” opened wide this frame, however, so it has no excuses for its soft bow. Fourth in the domestic marketplace, but expected to drop to seventh before the weekend’s through, “Battle” earned about $1.5 million Friday and should top out around $4 million in three days.

Last week’s “Insidious Chapter 2,” the second biggest opening for a horror film this year next to “The Conjuring,” is expected to earn between $14 million and $15 million this weekend, repping a roughly 65% week-over-week drop that is typical for scarers in their second frame.

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