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Sunday, November 2, 2008

'High School Musical 3' holds top spot over Halloween weekend, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2008

Halloween spooked last week's champ and runner-up, while three debuts finished in the top five, as American ready themselves for what appears to be a truly historic election on Tuesday, November 4th.

Leading the charge for the second straight weekend despite taking a hefty 64% dive (mostly due to Halloween falling on a Friday) was Disney's hit musical High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which put up another strong $15 million this weekend pushing its ten day total to $61.8 million. Budgeted at a modest $11 million, the G-rated Zac Efron starrer should rake in an impressive $85 million domestic. Internationally, High School Musical 3 brought in $25.9 million, bringing its overseas take to $85 million and worldwide haul to a jaw-dropping $146.8 million.

The Weinstein Co.'s Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno debuted in second with $10.7 million, averaging a lackluster $3,906 in 2,735 theaters. The R-rated release starring Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks was the second biggest debut ever for director Smith, edging out the $10.1 million bow from 2006's Clerks II. His career best is still 2001's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back with $11 million. Reviews were mostly positive.

Halloween staple Saw V saw an equally massive 66% dive thanks to Halloween falling on a Friday, as the Lionsgate release brought in $10.1 million in third. In ten days the $11 million budgeted horror film has grossed $45.8 million, and should finish with $55 million domestic.

In its first weekend in wide release, Angelina Jolie's drama Changeling brought in $9.4 million in fourth, averaging a solid $5,085 in 1,850 theaters. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the Universal release has now grossed $10.1 million domestic. Reviews were largely mixed.

Rounding out the top five was Freestyle Releasing's horror entry The Haunting of Molly Hartley, which debuted with $6 million this weekend. Averaging a weak $2,262 in 2,652 theaters, the film could earn top honors as the worst reviewed film of 2008. Hartley received a 0% recommendation rating from 19 critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com (the film was not pre-screened for critics).

As I mentioned earlier, Halloween falling on Friday really hurt last week's two major releases (both falling over 60%), with the top ten films pulling in just $70 million over the weekend, down 39% from last week's comparable frame when American Gangster earned the top spot with $43.6 million.

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