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Paramount’s “Jackass 3D” topped the domestic heap in its first weekend with a kick-ass $50 million in estimated box office.
That makes the dangerous-pranks threequel the best-bowing “Jackass” pic yet in a big-screen franchise launched from a onetime MTV series, stoking studio execs and cast alike. Lead jackass John Knoxville and cohorts drove from theater to theater in Los Angeles on Friday to check out the throngs of younger moviegoers buying tickets for the R-rated pic, and by Saturday he was suggesting on Twitter that fans check out “Jackass 3D” a second time.
“Thanks to everyone who spent their hard-earned money on ‘Jackass 3D’,” Knoxville tweeted on Sunday. “Hope it made y’all laugh your ass off.”
“Jackass: The Movie” opened in October 2002 with $22.8 million and rang up $64.3 million overall domestically. “Jackass: Number Two” debuted with $29 million in September 2006 en route to $72.8 million in U.S. and Canadian coin.
The threequel was produced for $19 million, making it almost twice as pricey as its franchise predecessor due to the extra expense of shooting cast high jinks in native 3D. But with a debut almost twice as big, nobody at Paramount was complaining on Sunday.
“This is a great way for Johnny Knoxville and the guys to celebrate their 10th anniversary,” Paramount exec vp distribution Don Harris said, noting that the three-season “Jackass” TV series launched in 2000.
“You could have put all the money you could find on the underside of $30 million before the weekend and gotten takers,” Harris said. “To get to $50 million is just incredible.”
If the weekend estimate holds up, the opening will stand as the biggest October bow ever, including a record first-day tally of $28.1 million. The month’s previous best bow came in 2003, when Dimension’s “Scary Movie 3” unspooled with $48.1 million.
Opening audiences for “Jackass 3D” were comprised 60% of males, with 67% of patrons under age 25.
Elsewhere during the weekend, Summit Entertainment’s action comedy “RED” — an action comedy about former special-ops agents pulled from retirement — opened roughly as expected with $22.5 million in second place on strong support from older moviegoers. The PG-13 pic attracted audiences comprised 53% of males, with 58% of patrons aged 35 or older.
“We’re where we expected to be and are very comfortable with the gross this weekend,” Summit distribution boss Richie Fay said.
Robert Schwentke (“The Time Traveler’s Wife”) directed “RED,” starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker. Based on a DC Comics title, “RED” was produced for an estimated $58 million, including tax credits.
Sony’s leggy Facebook saga “The Social Network” finished in the bronze-medal position in its third frame, with its $11 million performance yielding $63.1 million in cumulative box office.
Two other holdovers posted solid marks in their sophomore sessions: Disney’s sports drama “Secretariat” slid just 25% from its opening tally — a year’s best “hold” among all wide releases — for $9.5 million in fourth place, with a $27.5 million cume; Warner Bros.’ romantic comedy “Life as We Know It” fell a modest 37% to $9.2 million in fifth, with a $28.9 million cume.
Collectively, the top 10 finishers rang up $118.6 million during the weekend. That was 7% less than top performers in a comparable frame last year, despite the over-achieving “Jackass” threequel, Rentrak said.
Among limited bows, Clint Eastwood’s Matt Damon starrer “Hereafter” unspooled in six locations and grossed $231,000, or an auspicious $38,426 per site. The adult-targeting drama is set to expand wide release next weekend.
Fox Searchlight’s Hilary Swank starrer “Conviction” debuted in 11 theaters and fetched $110,000, or a convincing $10,000 per site. The facts-based legal thriller broadens to more than 70 venues Friday.
And IFC Films bowed drug-king drama “Carlos” with a pair of New York playdates to gross $18,200, or a sturdy $9,100 per engagement ahead of a November rollout to additional markets.
In an expansion, Overture thriller “Stone” — starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Milla Jovovich — added 35 locations for a total 41 to gross $229,000, or an acceptable $5,585 per site, as cume reached $342,141.
And Sony Pictures Classics’ financial-crisis documentary “Inside Job” added eight theaters for a total 10 and grossed $90,299, or a solid $9,030 per venue, as cume climbed to $153,135.
Looking ahead, only one wide release is set to open during each of the next two frames, and they’re both horror movies.
On Friday, Paramount unspools supernatural prequel “Paranormal Activity 2.” A week later, Lionsgate debuts a seventh installment in its slasher franchise, “Saw 3D.”
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