Audiences feeling ‘Brave’

Foster drama takes in $4.6 million on Friday

Neil Jordan’s Jodie Foster vigilante drama “The Brave One” nabbed the top spot in its Friday debut, grossing an estimated $4.6 million from 2,755 locations for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures.

New Line’s Billy Bob Thornton laffer “Mr. Woodcock” held a slight edge over Lionsgate holdover “3:10 to Yuma” for the No. 2 spot. “Woodcock” grossed an estimated $2.8 million from 2,231 playdates as it opened Friday.

Director James Mangold’s “Yuma,” starring Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster, grossed an estimated $2.7 million from 2,667 runs as it headed into its second frame for a cume of $22.1 million. Pic declined 41% from opening Friday.

“Brave One,” produced by Joel Silver, is easily expected to take the weekend crown, while the race between “Yuma” and “Woodcock” could be close.

Sony’s holdover laffer “Superbad” placed No. 4 as it headed into its fifth frame, grossing an estimated $1.7 million Friday from 2,910 locations for a cume of $107.8 million and a decline of 30% from the previous Friday.

Taking No. 5 on Friday was Dimension-MGM’s “Halloween,” which declined 42% to an estimated $1.5 million from 3,051 locations for a cume of $47.7 million. Pic is in its third frame.

After “Brave One” and “Woodcock,” South Korean English-language monsterfest “Dragon Wars”-the weekend’s other new wide entrant-couldn’t muster much strength, grossing $1.5 million from 2,269 runs.

There was plenty of action among specialty pics as the fall awards season kicked into full gear.

David Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises,” starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts, scored the highest per-screen average in its Friday bow among new limited entrants. Mobster drama grossed an estimated $168,000 from 14 theaters for a per-location average of $12,000.

Julie Taymor’s troubled “Across the Universe” opened at an estimated $214,000 on Friday from 23 runs for a per-screen average of $9,304. Project put Taymor at odds with Revolution Studio’s Joe Roth, who was unhappy with Taymor’s cut and had considered releasing his own version. Sony is distributing “Universe.”

Opening in nine theaters, Warner Independent Pictures’ drama “In the Valley of Elah,” directed by Paul Haggis, grossed an estimated $39,000 in its Friday debut for a per-screen average of $4,333. Drama stars Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron, and marks Haggis’ follow up to Oscar winner “Crash.”

British period drama “Silk,” toplining Keira Knightley, scored a paltry per screen average of just $311, grossing $38,000 from 122 runs. Pic is distributed in the U.S. by Picturehouse.

The Weinstein Co.’s “The Hunting Party” only mustered an estimated Friday gross of $6,000 as it expanded to 40 locations in its second frame for a per-screen average of $150. TWC had planned to expand the Richard Gere-Terrence Howard starrer to 600 locations this weekend, but then pulled back. Drama grossed $39,609 last weekend from 4 locations.

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