'High School Musical 3' Dances Away With Box Office Again With $15M
Hollywood made audiences repeat senior year.
Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” hauled in $15 million to remain the top movie for the second straight weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in a big-screen sequel to the Disney Channel TV movies, “High School Musical 3” raised its 10-day total to $61.8 million.
Debuting at No. 2 with $10.7 million was the Weinstein Co. comedy “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” starring Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as pals who do a skin flick to dig themselves out of debt.
Lionsgate’s horror sequel “Saw V,” the latest tale about psychokiller Jigsaw, slipped from second place to third with $10.1 million, lifting its 10-day total to $45.8 million.
Expanding nationwide after a weekend in limited release was Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling,” which took in $9.4 million to finish at No. 4. The Universal Pictures drama stars Angelina Jolie as a single mother victimized by police who botched the investigation into her missing son.
Freestyle Releasing’s “The Haunting of Molly Hartley” debuted with $6 million to come in at No. 5. The movie stars Haley Bennett as a traumatized teen who finds fresh terror at her new school.
“RocknRolla” — the latest from Madonna’s soon-to-be-ex-husband, Guy Ritchie — was a dud as it expanded from limited to nationwide release. The crime romp featuring Gerard Butler and Thandie Newton took in just $1.8 million, finishing well outside the top 10. Madonna and Ritchie announced their separation last month.
After a big surge the previous weekend, Hollywood revenues plunged. The top 12 movies took in $75.2 million, off 38 percent from the same weekend last year, when “American Gangster” opened with $43.6 million and “Bee Movie” debuted with $38 million.
Non-scary movies were hurt with Halloween falling on Friday. “High School Musical 3” did just $1.7 million on Friday, but it rebounded with $8.2 million Saturday.
“The target audience was out collecting candy or trick-or-treating Friday, but Saturday came back like a monster,” said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney’s motion-picture group.
Likewise, “Zack and Miri” opened with only $2.2 million Friday but pulled in $4.8 million Saturday. The movie also faced some audience resistance over the racy subject matter and the word “Porno” in the title.
“I would anecdotally speculate that that hurt us,” said Steve Bunnell, head of distribution for Weinstein, which had trouble placing ads because of the movie’s title and themes. “We were surprised that we ended up with the controversy. We thought everybody in America would understand that it was a joke.”
The film has nudity but is tame compared to hard-core adult films. Yet the ratings board of the Motion Picture Association of America initially slapped it with an NC-17 rating, the kiss of death at the box office.
Writer-director Kevin Smith talked it down to an R rating on appeal.
James Bond got off to a big start overseas in advance of the U.S. debut of the super-spy’s latest adventure, with Sony’s “Quantum of Solace” taking in $38.6 million in Great Britain, France and Sweden.
“Quantum of Solace” opens in 57 more countries this week and arrives in U.S. theaters Nov. 14. The film picks up where 2006’s “Casino Royale” left off, with Bond (Daniel Craig) out for payback over his lover’s death.
Hollywood blockbusters rarely open weeks in advance of their U.S. premiere, but the Bond franchise does a huge ratio of its business overseas. “Casino Royale” took in 72 percent of its $600 million worldwide total outside the United States, said Mark Zucker, Sony’s president of international distribution.
“Bond is like a national hero in the UK,” Zucker said.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” $15 million.
2. “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” $10.7 million.
3. “Saw V,” $10.1 million.
4. “Changeling,” $9.4 million.
5. “The Haunting of Molly Harvey,” $6 million.
6. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” $4.7 million.
7. “The Secret Life of Bees,” $4 million.
8. “Max Payne,” $3.7 million.
9. “Eagle Eye,” $3.4 million.
10. “Pride and Glory,” $3.3 million.
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