Box Office: ‘Where The Wild Things’ runs, um, wild and ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ surprises

10.17.09 8 years ago 4 Comments

If you were to tell anyone at Warner Bros. six months ago that Spike Jonze’s long-delayed adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s “Where The Wild Things Are” would have a blockbuster opening they probably wouldn’t have believed you.  After the picture’s $11.9 million debut on Friday they probably still can’t believe it.

Fraught with production problems, “Wild Things” consumed five years of Jones’ life and he’s finally reaping the rewards.  The movie’s strong debut should result in a minimum of a $30 million opening weekend, but that’s only if it plays like an “adult film.”  If parents show up with their children on Saturday $35-40 million is a more likely result.  It’s a great start for an unconventional kid’s tale that received mostly positive reviews, but is rumored to have cost over $100 million.

The other big story Friday was the expansion of Paramount Pictures’ horror flick “Paranormal Activity.”  After stunning box office pundits with $7.9 million on only 160 screens last weekend, “Paranormal” jumped to 760 theaters and made $6.7 million on Friday alone.  The buzzworthy thriller could end the weekend with close to $18 million and a new overall cume of over $30 million.  Not too shabby for a picture that was acquired for less than $1 million and a minimal marketing budget. Needless to say, “Paranormal” will provide some much needed bling to the cash-strapped Melrose studio.

Among other openers, “Law Abiding Citizen” weathered the storm of the competition and found an impressive $7.6 million in wide release.  If it plays through the weekend, “Citizen” should make anywhere from $20-25 million for the weekend.  That should illicit a “whew” from Overture Films after “Paranormal” came onto the scene and was expected to scare away a substantial portion of its audience.

On the other hand, that’s exactly what happened to Screen Gems’ remake of “The Stepfather.” Aimed at young women, the thriller only found $4.3 million on Friday for what should be a $12-14 million opening.  Again, “Paranormal” may be the culprit for the diminished return, but the anticipation for “Wild Things” may have also been a factor.  

Dropping a little over 50% from its opening day, “Couples Retreat” laughed up another $5.8 million as the R-rated “Zombieland” is audiences only other comedy option at the moment.  The PG-13 flick could end up with another $18 million by the end of the 3-Day weekend.  With $51.2 million so far, its been a needed bright spot for the hard working folks at Universal Pictures.

Look for final weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.  

Did you see any of this weekend’s big winners?  Did “Wild Things” move you?  Is “Paranormal” worth the hype?  Share your thoughts below.

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