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Denis Villeneuve‘s $30 million dark crime thriller Prisoners is off to a solid start at the North American box office thanks to strong reviews and adult attention.
Fully financed and produced by Alcon Entertainment, the Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal starrer is expected to hit $20 million for the weekend, good enough for a first-place finish. Warner Bros. is distributing the movie, which opens in roughly the same corridor that the studio used to launch Ben Affleck‘s Argo last year.
Also starring Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Paul Dano, Prisoners tells the story of two families whose daughters are kidnapped. Jackman’s character, the father of one of the girls, begins to clash with the police detective in charge of the investigation (Gyllenhaal) and takes matters into his own hands.
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Prisoners made its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival this month before heading to the Toronto Film Festival.
Insidious 2, which opened to a rousing $40.3 million last weekend, is expected to take in $15 million to $16 million in its second outing, a solid number for a genre film and putting the film at No. 2. Through Thursday, Insidious 2 has grossed a stellar $46.4 million for FilmDistrict and the producers.
Overall box-office revenue isn’t expected to be hurt by this week’s release of video game Grand Auto Theft V — which has already racked up an unprecedented $1 billion in worldwide sales in its first three days of release — since none of the new offerings directly goes after the video game audience. Prisoners is being billed as an adult drama, while Sony/Screen Gems’ Chris Brown 3D dance movie Battle of the Year will cater to younger females.
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Battle of the Year, the weekend’s only other new nationwide release, may have trouble crossing $4 million in its debut, a dismal number. Costing $20 million to produce and directed by Benson Lee, the 3D movie stars Brown opposite Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Josh Peck and Caity Lotz. The film is based on Lee’s documentary about break dancing.
The specialty box office sees a number of new films entering the fray, led by Ron Howard‘s Formula One drama Rush, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. Universal is opening the film in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles in advance of Rush‘s nationwide launch Sept. 27, hoping to build word of mouth. (Warner Bros. often uses this tactic for its fall adult dramas.)
Other new specialty offerings include Roadside Attractions’ Thanks for Sharing, Stuart Blumberg‘s dramedy about recovery from sexual addiction. The film, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo and Tim Robbins, made its worldwide premiere a year ago at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival.
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