“The Ring” Claims Box Office Victory
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Death-by-videotape brought box-office life to “The Ring,” a horror flick that scared up $15 million to debut as the weekend’s No. 1 movie.
Starring Naomi Watts as a reporter investigating a video whose viewers die horribly a week after watching it, “The Ring” knocked off “Red Dragon,” which had been the top film for two straight weekends.
“Red Dragon” fell to third place with $8.8 million during the weekend, while “Sweet Home Alabama” remained the No. 2 film with $9.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The weekend’s other new wide releases fared poorly. Katie Holmes’ psychological thriller “Abandon” opened weakly with $5.3 million, finishing in sixth place. Samuel L. Jackson’s crime caper “Formula 51” bombed with $2.9 million, coming in at No. 12.
The overall box office rose slightly. The top 12 movies took in $74.2 million, up 2 percent from the same weekend last year.
If those numbers hold when final figures are released Monday, it would be Hollywood’s sixth straight weekend of rising revenues and a promising lead-in to the busy holiday season, which starts next month with “The Santa Clause 2” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
“Abandon,” the directing debut of “Traffic” screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, played in 2,341 theaters and averaged $2,264. “Formula 51” averaged a meager $1,562 in 1,857 theaters.
In limited release, “Auto Focus,” on the sordid life and death of “Hogan’s Heroes” star Bob Crane, debuted strongly with $140,839 at 11 theaters, averaging $12,804. “Auto Focus” stars Greg Kinnear as Crane, who was murdered in a motel room amid photos and tapes of his sexual encounters.
Adam Sandler and Emily Watson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” continued to do big business as it expanded to more theaters. In its second weekend, the oddball romance took in $1.63 million in 78 theaters for a $20,897 average.
Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine,” a satiric documentary on America’s gun culture, also had an impressive second weekend, expanding to 46 theaters and taking in $773,000 for a $16,804 average.
Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Ring,” $15 million.
2. “Sweet Home Alabama,” $9.6 million.
3. “Red Dragon,” $8.8 million.
4. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” $7.2 million.
5. “Brown Sugar,” $5.31 million.
6. “Abandon,” $5.3 million.
7. “The Transporter,” $5 million.
8 (tie). “The Tuxedo,” $4.1 million.
8 (tie). “Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie,” $4.1 million.
10. “Tuck Everlasting,” $3.7 million.