1. Wallace & Gromit - Curst of the Were-Rabbit - $16.1M - $16.1M
2. Flightplan - $10.7M - $60M
3. In Her Shoes - $10M - $10M
4. Two for the Money - $8.3M $8.3M
5. The Gospel - $8M - $8M
6. Corpse Bride - $6.5M - $42M
7. Waiting - $5.7M - $5.7M
8. A History of Violence - $5.1M - $16.1M
9. Serenity - $4.9M - $17.5M
10. Into the Blue - $4.8M - $13.8M
W & G crash into no.1 with a strong taking and average per screen. The almost universally well reviewed movie easily took the top spot. All concerned must be very happy. W & G aren't as well known in the US, or at least they weren't. The movie was fast tracked (in a fashion) after production on The Hare & The Tortoise was halted.
Hanging tight at 2 is Flightplan, the Jodie Foster thriller. Stopping Serenity in its tracks last week and taking on Cameron Diaz's In Her Shoes this week, the movie is benefiting from good word of mouth.
In Her Shoes slips into the 3rd spot and was perhaps seen as counter programming the kid friendly W & G, and the macho fuming of Two for the Money. Safe to say it worked. While the studios would have loved the top spot but would have been happy with 2nd, a 3rd place with $10M isn't too bad.
Pacino tearing up the screen Matthew McConaughey, playing a renowned bookie and retired football player respectively, took Two for the Money into the top five. Again, studios would have probably liked to have seen it shirk both Flightplan & In Her Shoes. The movie was made for around $35M so the studios might have preferred a closer tally of $10M.
The big surprise this week goes to The Gospel. A tiny indie film made for just $4M, it's already doubled its budget! Hadn't heard of it so I had to look the thing up! Here's the synopsis
A young singer turns his back on God and his father's church when tragedy strikes. He returns years later to find the once powerful congregation in disarray. With his childhood nemesis creating a "new vision" for the church, he is forced to deal with family turmoil, career suicide, and relationship issues that send him on a collision course with redemption or destruction.
It certainly found its market. The only other new entry was the indie waiter comedy, Waiting, starring Ryan Reynolds. Again, the film made for just $3M is already into profit. These indie movies are made and bought quite cheaply in many cases, and its good to see them getting some exposure and taking some money too.
Corpse Bride continues to drop down the charts and will probably find its market on DVD, as Nightmare Before Christmas did with VHS and later DVD. Into the Blue drops to number 10 and will exit next week. Pretty much dumped at the far end of the summer, its been lucky to take what it has.
Finally, the big casualty is Serenity, dropping from 2 to 9. Having taken only $17M over two weekends and a week, it'll drop well out the top ten next week and expect a quick DVD release to cash in on word of mouth hype (that appears to have done nothing for its cinema release). A straight to DVD sequel might be in the offing but I think it's almost a certain that you won't see such a big budget sequel. Studios might shy away from such an idea in the future (Cancelled TV to movie). It will clean up on DVD though.
One other new entry, shown on just 11 screens was the George Clooney co-written/directed movie, Good Night & Good Luck, about the Mcarthy witch-hunts and the TV people who stood up to it. Well reviewed, it'll open a little wider next week. The subject matter and the black & white filming might put some off though, which would be a damn shame.