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…
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.)