Weekend Box Office: ‘Wild Things’ plays for $32.5 million, ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ breaks out of movie jail with $21

10.18.09 8 years ago

They didn’t get the big Saturday bump, but no one at Warner Bros. will be complaining about the impressive $32.5 million opening for “Where The Wild Things Are” this weekend.

Fraught with production problems, “Wild Things” consumed five years of director Spike Jones’ life and he’s finally reaping the rewards.  With a B+ Cinemascore grade from moviegoers and an A – score from those under 25, “Wild Things” should have a fairly strong run. 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 of the weekend was another big expansion for 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 $20 million for the 3-day frame.  That equals an eye-popping $26,500 per screen average.  The inexpensive and buzzworthy thriller has now made $33.7 million to date with 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 a better than expected $21 million in wide release.  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 $12.3 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 only 47% from its opening weekend, last week’s champ “Couples Retreat” laughed up another $17.9 million as the R-rated “Zombieland” is audiences only other comedy option for audiences at the moment.  With $63.3 million so far, its been a needed bright spot for the hard working folks at Universal Pictures.

Here’s a breakdown of the weekend estimates for the top ten movies at the box office according to Box Office Mojo.  Final figures are released on Monday.

1. “Where The Wild Things Are,” $32.4 million
2. “Law Abiding Citizen,” $21 million
3. “Paranormal Activity,” $20 million, $33.7 million to date.
4. “Couples Retreat,” $17.9 million, $63.3 million to date.
5. “The Stepfather,” $12.5 million
6. “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs,” $8.1 million, $108.2 million to date.
7. “Zombieland,” $7.8 million, $60.8 million to date.
8. “Toy Story/Toy Story 2 3-D,” $3 million, $28.5 million to date.
9. “Surrogates,” $1.9 million, $36 million to date.
10. “Invention of Lying,” $1.9 million, $15 million to date.

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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