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Monday, August 31, 2009

'Final Destination' edges 'Basterds' for top spot, August 28-30, 2009

Two R-rated horror flicks battled it out against last week's champ Inglourious Basterds for the top spot this weekend, with the 3D thriller The Final Destination easily beating out all other competitors with a strong $28.3 million debut. It was the third straight weekend (and fourth in five weeks) that an R-rated pic topped the charts, following Basterds and District 9. Quentin Tarantino's Basterds slipped a better than expected 47% to $20 million, while Rob Zombie's Halloween II finished in third with a $17.3 million bow. Focus Features' comedy Taking Woodstock opened a distant ninth with $3.7 million.

Thanks to a massive ad campaign and the promise of in-your-face 3D horror thrills, audiences came out in big numbers for Warner's horror sequel The Final Destination. Budgeted at a modest $40 million, the 3-D pic took in a strong $28.3 million, averaging $9,079 in a wide 3,121 theaters. Offering the 3-D version of the film in over half of its theaters (approximately 1,700), the film's increased margins helped it post by far the biggest opening in the Final Destination franchises history, blowing by previous best Final Destination 3, which took in $19.2 million in February 2006.

Dropping 47% to second place was Quentin Tarantino's WWII pic Inglourious Basterds, taking in another strong $20 million this weekend. That brought its ten day cume to an impressive $73.8 million. Buoyed by excellent reviews and good word of mouth, the $70 million budgeted gore fest is on pace to blow past $100 million. Internationally, the Weinstein Co. produced actioner took in $19.4 million, bringing its overseas cume to $59.1 million. Universal owns the film's international rights, while the Weinstein Co. is handling domestic distribution.

Debuting in third was another Weinstein Co. film, the horror sequel Halloween II with $17.4 million. Despite the big competition in front of it, the Rob Zombie-directed pic averaged a solid $5,754 in 3,025 theaters. The debut fell well short of its 2007 predecessor Halloween, which took in $26.4 million in its debut. Reviews were poor to say the least.

Sony's acclaimed sci-fi pic District 9 slipped just 41% to fourth with $10.7 million. In just 17 days the $30 million budgeted film has grossed $90.8 million, and should have no problems surpassing $100 million by next weekend. Directed by newcomer Neil Blomkamp and starring a cast of unknowns, District 9 should go down as one of the most pleasant surprises of the summer season.

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