‘Saw V’ buzzes behind ‘HSM 3’

Lionsgate horror film nabs $14 million Friday

Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” made the box office honor roll Friday clinching two opening day records for a live-action musical and G-rated pic. However, moviegoers also screamed for “Saw V” giving the Lionsgate horror franchise its third highest opening day of all-time.

Playing at 3,623 theaters, “HSM3” raked in a boffo $16.9 million, while “Saw V” at 3,060 earned $14 million. Despite the current recession, both pics provided a further jolt to the current stellar autumn box office and played to a wide demographic: “HSM3” lured girls while “Saw V” attracted older teens.

Directed by Kenny Ortega and starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, the bow for “HSM3” beat the first day records set by 2007’s “Hairspray” ($11 million) for a big screen tuner and Disney’s February 3-D pic “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Tour” ($8.7 million) for a live-action G-rated film. “HSM3” will no doubt remain the popular choice through Sunday and is set to outstrip the $31.1 million opening weekend posted by “Hannah Montana.”

Meanwhile, “Saw V” ranked behind the first Fridays of last year’s “Saw IV” ($14.8 million) and 2006’s “Saw III” ($14.5 million). “Saw III” holds the slasher series’ top opening weekend title with $33.6 million.

In third, Fox’s “Max Payne” collected $2.6 million in its second Friday on 3,381, down 63%, bringing its eight-day cume to $24.7 million.

New Line/Warner Bros.’ crime drama “Pride and Glory” starring Colin Farrell and Edward Norton opened in fourth with $2.3 million from 2,585 sites.

In the midst of its fourth frame, Disney’s “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” remained afloat in fifth grossing $1.8 million from 3,190, slowing 40% from a week ago, and taking its current domestic cume to $73 million.

Universal’s Clint Eastwood 1920s drama “Changeling” starring Angelina Jolie clocked in a strong theater average of $9,736 or $146,000 from 15 sites. Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut “Synecdoche, New York” from Sony Classics was also popular in its per theater draw, earning $5,652 per site or $34,000 from six bookings.

Disney’s re-release of Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D” counted $114,000 from 284.

Also making a limited debut was Sony’s drama-thriller “Passengers” with Anne Hathaway which collected $61,000 from 125 theaters.