Twentieth Century Fox’s “From Hell” was just hot enough.
Jack the Ripper suspenser cut up box office competish this weekend with an estimated $11.3 million bow, as Sony’s “Riding in Cars With Boys” tailgated into second place with a $10.8 million opening. DreamWorks’ Robert Redford-toplined prison drama “The Last Castle” was incarcerated in fifth place with a weak $7.1 million debut.
Warners’ Denzel Washington starrer “Training Day” fell only 29% in its third weekend to $9.5 million. That was good for third place as Village Roadshow co-prod, which topped weekend B.O. the prior two frames, continues to rep fall’s biggest success story. Rogue-cop drama boosted cume to a muscular $57.5 million through only 17 days.
Though none of the openers wowed, their collective B.O. combined with solid grosses for holdover pics to power the weekend to a 6% uptick over the same frame a year ago at a total $86 million. In a year-to-date comparison, 2001 is 9% ahead of the same period of last year, according to data from B.O. tracker ACNielsen EDI.
“From Hell” was the only opener to play broadly. “Riding in Cars” had a heck of a time attracting males and “Castle” failed to capture young moviegoers.
Fox, whose satanic-themed laffer “Bedazzled” topped openers in the same sesh last year, hopes “Hell” will do well next weekend over the pre-Halloween frame.
“I think that’s our time,” distrib prexy Bruce Snyder suggested.
But “Hell” will be crowded by four new wide releases over its soph sesh. Those include Halloween-timed horror pics “Bones” from New Line and “Thirteen Ghosts” from Warner Bros., plus Universal’s Kevin Spacey starrer “K-Pax” and Miramax’s romantic laffer “On the Line.”
Sony marketing and distrib boss Jeff Blake said “Cars” grosses repped “a good opening for the fall” and added he hopes pic can display comely legs.
“You usually would be better off with young males on opening weekends, but female pictures hold well,” Blake observed.
DreamWorks distrib topper Jim Tharp acknowledged being “disappointed” with the opening for “Castle,” which was delayed a week so distrib could bolster pic’s heavy media campaign after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“It’s impossible to know the impact of recent events on this film,” Tharp said.
MGM laffer “Bandits” — a pricey Bruce Willis starrer whose bow a week ago was blamed in part on recent news events — posted a relatively modest 35% drop this weekend with an estimated $8.4 million in fourth place.
Disney laffer “Corky Romano” grabbed $5.3 million with a 42% soph-sesh decline. And Miramax chopsocky “Iron Monkey” slipped 47% to $3.2 million in its second frame.
In a limited bow, Fox Searchlight’s Richard Linklater toon “Waking Life” grossed an estimated $88,000 from single venues in Gotham, L.A., Chicago and Toronto.
Perf repped a frame-best $22,000 per theater one week before a skedded expansion to 14 additional cities and 27 engagements. “Life” enjoyed a two-day earlier bow in Gotham than elsewhere, so estimated pic’s cume sits at $94,150.
Paramount Classics’ “Focus,” an adaptation of a 1945 Arthur Miller novel, opened in a pair of Gotham locations with an estimated $26,000. William H. Macy starrer expands to top-10 markets on Nov. 2.
Universal Focus’ “Mulholland Drive” added 181 playdates for a total 247 this weekend, as David Lynch suspenser grossed an estimated $1 million. Perf, repping an acceptable $4,055 per venue, cruised cume to $1.9 million.