Alcon Entertainment’s crime thriller Prisoners rounded out a superb month following rave reviews at Telluride and Toronto with a number one debut in North America on an estimated $21.4m through Warner Bros.

Denis Villeneuve directed Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in the gritty story of a father who clashes with a detective in the hunt for two missing children. Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo round out the key cast. Lionsgate International handled sales outside North America.

Overall box office for the top 12 dropped 15.7% against last weekend and gained a fraction against the same session in 2012, when ironically another Jake Gyllenhaal film – End Of Watch – opened top of the charts.

Last weekend’s champion Insidious: Chapter 2 dropped to number two as the micro-budget release brought in a further $14.5m through Film District to reach an impressive perch at $60.9m.

Screen Gems’ dance drama Battle Of The Year arrived at number five on a plodding $5m, although ancillary markets would appear to be the film’s best bet on the road to recoupment.

In its fourth weekend the Spanish-language hit Instructions Not Included expanded by 45 sites into 978 and climbed two places to number four on $5.7m through Lionsgate/Pantelion for $34.3m.

In another bespoke distribution success, Warner Bros released a remastered, 3D conversion edition of The Wizard Of Oz on 318 IMX screens for an exclusive one-week engagement

The classic generated a shade over $3m for the highest per-site average of the top 10 on $9,503. The debut gave IMAX its second best result for an IMAX re-release behind Jurassic Park. Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s Chinese) deserves special mention as it generated the biggest single screen gross of the release on $75,000.

Roadside Attractions opened Thanks For Sharing with Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow on $608.000 from 269 while Fox Searchlight released Toronto premiere Enough Said by Nicole Holofcener on $240,000 from four for a terrific $60,000 average. The film stars the late James Gandolfini alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener and Toni Collette.

Also strong was Universal’s platform release for recent world premiere Rush, Ron Howard’s well reviewed F1 racing drama starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl. The drama took $200,000 from five for an excellent $40,000 average and is co-financed and owned jointly by Cross Creek Pictures and international sales agent Exclusive Media.

China Lion’s My Lucky Star arrived on $50,000 from 23 theatres, while Oscilloscope opened the abortion clinic documentary After Tiller on $15,500 from two, TWC released Haute Cuisine on $15,300 from three and Anchor Bay opened I Spit On Your Grave 2 on $350 from a single venue.

Next weekend Universal expands Rush wide into 2,200 theatres. The wide releases are Sony’s animation Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, Fox Searchlight’s rom-com Baggage Claim and Relativity’s Sundance pick-up Don Jon, which marks Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s raunchy feature directorial debut.

Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 20-22 2013
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Prisoners (Warner Bros-Alcon) Lionsgate International $21.4m –
2 (1) Insidious: Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) Blumhouse International $14.5m $60.9m
3 (2) The Family (Relativity) EuropaCorp $7m $25.6m
4 (6) Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate-Pantelion) Highland Film Group $5.7m $34.3m
5 (-) Battle Of The Year (Screen Gems) SPRI $5m –
6 (5) We’re The Millers (Warner Bros) WBPI $4.7m $138.2m
7 (4) Lee Daniel’s The Butler (TWC) WTC Int’l $4.3m $106.5m
8 (3) Riddick (Universal) Lionsgate International $3.7m $37.2m
9 (-) The Wizard Of Oz (Warner Bros-IMAX) WBPI $3m –
10 (7) Planes (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $2.9m $86.5m