Wknd B.O.: ‘Wild Things’ Devours $32.5M; ‘Law’ Nabs $21.3M

Spike Jonze adaptation, Jamie Foxx thriller lead flurry of over-performers; expansion pays off for “Paranormal.”

Last Updated: October 18, 2009 @ 12:58 PM

Sunday update:

It wasn’t the huge $40 million opening that it momentarily appeared to be from Friday’s first-day box office, but Warner Bros. certainly will take the above-expectations $32.5 million start for its Spike Jonze-directed adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are."

Projected by Warner’s to take in somewhere around $25 million for its first three days, "Wild Things" was one of a number of new films that exceeded expectations this weekend.

Finishing second was Overture’s "Law Abiding Citizen," a thriller starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, now projected to finish the weekend with $21.3 million after pre-release tracking pegged it in the high teens, according to studio data.

Also opening strong, Sony slasher remake "The Stepfather" took in $12.3 million — this after some tracking sources predicted a performance well below $10 million.

Meanwhile, expanding its run from 160 theaters to 760, Paramount’s viral horror hit "Paranormal Activity" did pretty much what was expected: big business. The $11,000 film garnered $18.9 million over the weekend and now totals $32.5 million.

More to come…

Saturday update:

The rumpus was even wilder than expected at 3,735 theaters Friday, as Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s "Where the Wild Things Are" got off to an incendiary $11.9 million opening.

Despite being second-guessed about how it marketed the PG-rated film — Warner Bros. spent the bulk of its  dollars aiming for adults — the studio now is looking at an opening weekend that will exceed $40 million. The most optimistic of projections going into the three-day period pegged the $70 million movie for an opening in the mid-$30 million range.

And "Wild Things" wasn’t the only movie that over-performed Friday.

Coming in second at the domestic box office was the Overture-distributed thriller "Law Abiding Citizen" starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, which took in $7.6 million Friday and is on pace for a $22.2 million weekend. It was projected to do only about $16 million-$18 million for its first three days.

Finishing third was Paramount’s "Paranormal Activity," which added $6.5 million to its domestic take Friday after expanding its run to 760 theaters. The movie, shot for $11,000 in 2006 by then-amatuer filmmaker Oren Peli, is set for a $18.3 million weekend.

Meanwhile, Sony’s remake of "The Stepfather," which featured "Nip/Tuck’s" Dylan Walsh in the paternally disturbed lead role, slashed its way to $4.3 million. Shot for just $19.5 million, it’s on pace for an $11.6 million premiere weekend after being projected to open somewhere below $10 million.

As far as incumbents go, Universal’s "Couples Retreat," last weekend’s box office champion, took in $5.8 million Friday, a 53 percent week-to-week decline. Made for $60 million, the film — written by and starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau — should finish the weekend with a total of $63 million after two weeks of release.

Here’s a look at Friday’s Top 10 box office finishers:

1. Where the Wild Things Are ($11.9 mil.)

2. Law Abiding Citizen ($7.6 mil.)

3. Paranormal Activity ($6.5 mil.)

4. Couples Retreat ($5.8 mil.)

5. The Stepfather ($4.3 mil.)

6. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ($2.1 mil.)

7. Zombieland ($2.4 mil.)

8. Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3D ($0.8 mil.)

9. The Invention of Lying ($0.6 mil.)

10. Surrogates ($0.6 mil.)

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