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They Ate It Up, They Loved It So

By William Goss | Box Office Round-Ups | October 18, 2009 |


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OK, America, now you're just messing with me. A week after Couples Retreat takes the top spot and I lambast you for it, everyone turns around and throws almost as much money at Where the Wild Things Are, taking the artsiest family flick we've seen in ages and raising it above the ranks to the tune of $32.5 million. It's not a bad thing -- it's just the last thing I might've expected from a movie whose earliest test screenings were claimed to have traumatized just about every child in attendance and whose latest reviews were divisive at best. Seeing the film for a second time over the weekend, there were no walk-outs, but the kids there were similarly silent. Not restless, but not responsive. Were they enthralled? Were they taking notes? Were they merely paralyzed by fear? Who knows. I still admire the film, even if it didn't quite knock my heart on its ass as that utterly perfect trailer had. But $30-plus million later, I can't help but wonder how a holiday special with these characters would play out ...

Slightly less family-friendly was Law Abiding Citizen (a.k.a Jigsaw Goes to Court), taking second place with $21.2 million and putting it on track to be the biggest hit yet for the relatively young Overture Films. The continued buzz-driven expansion of Paranormal Activity bumped it up to third place with $20.2 million, and former champ Couples Retreat slipped to fourth with $17.9 million. The PG-13-ified remake of The Stepfather only opened to fifth place with $12.3 million; given Screen Gems' knack for being able to open their teen-targeting thrillers with remarkable consistency (2006's When a Stranger Calls -- $21.6 million, 2008's Prom Night - $20.8 million), I'd say that this was the most likely victim of Paranormal's push (Pajiba's The Stepfather review will be up tomorrow). Everyone who's still willing to turn out for a sixth Saw next week, though, has probably already seen P.A., so I don't see that suffering as much in comparison.

Sixth was Cloudy ... ($8.1 million, down from third place), seventh was Zombieland ($7.8 million, down from second place), eighth were the Toy Stories ($3 million, down from fourth place), and ninth and tenth went to Surrogates ($1.9 million) and The Invention of Lying ($1.9 million), respectively.

The weekend's biggest loser, though? The aptly-titled Ice Cube/Mike Epps joint The Janky Promoters, dumped by the Weinsteins upon 22 screens and garnering $5,380, as best we can determine. And here I used to think those two were all about the Benjamins ...



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