Weekend Box Office: Going Dark…

[Editor’s Note: Luke is out this week. Filling in with the box office update is our new contributor Jack Lilburn. Please give him a warm welcome. –JZ]

Leading the box office this weekend was a dark crime thriller, which also conveniently kicks off the season of Oscar contenders.

Thanks in part to strong reviews, festival buzz and ubiquitous TV appearances by stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the kidnapping drama ‘Prisoners‘ grossed a healthy $21.4 million to take first place. The film, directed by Quebecois Denis Villeneuve (Foreign Language Oscar nominee for ‘Incendies’), features a rare non-action, non-musical performance by Jackman, and further cements his status as an actor who can open a picture. Good word-of-mouth should propel the movie somewhere between $70 to $80 million, though one can only speculate if the original casting choices of Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale would have yielded even greater numbers.

After a spectacular debut last week, the microbudget horror flick ‘Insidious: Chapter 2‘ suffered a dramatic if not unexpected 64% drop-off, grossing $14.5 million. In only ten days of release, the James Wan sequel has already earned twelve times its $5 million production budget. This makes the Film District title one of the most lucrative releases of the year, though it won’t come anywhere near the $136 million gross of Wan’s earlier horror smash ‘The Conjuring’.

Coming in third, Luc Besson’s ‘The Family‘ dropped nearly 50% from its opening weekend, yielding a modest $7 million dollars. Skewing for an older audience, the mob comedy should recoup its $30 million dollar production budget within the next week.

In surprising news, despite only adding 45 theatres, the Spanish-language family comedy ‘Instructions Not Included‘ actually increased its box office yield from last weekend by 17% with another $5.7 million dollars. The sleeper hit is already the fifth highest-grossing foreign language film in box office history.

In fifth place, the dance picture ‘Battle of the Year‘ managed to gross only $5 million. Star and convicted domestic abuser Chris Brown, plus a 6% Rotten Tomatoes score, did the movie no favors.

In retro news, the 1939 masterpiece ‘The Wizard of Oz‘ hit 300+ IMAX screens this weekend and grossed just north of $3 million. That’s nearly double the earnings of last year’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ IMAX re-release.

Top 10:

1. ‘Prisoners′ (Warner Bros) – $21,430,000

2. ‘Insidious: Chapter 2′ (Film District) – $14,500,000

3. ‘The Family′ (Relativity) – $7,000,000

4. ‘Instructions Not Included’ (Lionsgate) – $5,700,000

5. ‘Battle of the Year’ (Screen Gems) – $5,000,000

6. ‘We’re the Millers’ (Warner Bros.) – $4,670,000

7. ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ (Weinstein) – $4,304,000

8. ‘Riddick’ (Universal) – $3,672,000

9. ‘The Wizard of Oz 3D/IMAX (Warner Bros.) – $3,022,000

10. ‘Planes’ (Buena Vista) – $2,861,000

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