20th Century Fox scored another number one hit over the weekend as its R-rated Jack The Ripper thriller From Hell directed by Allen & Albert Hughes opened with an estimated $11.3m in North America.
Starring Johnny Depp as a Scotland Yard inspector and Heather Graham as a Whitechapel prostitute and one of the Ripper's targets, the bloodthirsty film screened at the recent Venice and Toronto film festivals. It co-stars Ian Holm, Katrin Cartlidge, Ian Richardson and Jason Flemyng.
Columbia also had a much-needed hit with Penny Marshall's comic drama Riding In Cars With Boys starring Drew Barrymore in the true story of a pregnant teen who overcomes adversity to become a successful writer decades later. Co-starring are Steve Zahn, Adam Garcia, Brittany Murphy, James Woods and Lorraine Bracco. The film grossed an estimated $10.8m for second place.
Of the three wide openers, only DreamWorks' The Last Castle, a prison actioner directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender), performed poorly with an estimated $7.1m to take fifth place. It was behind last week's number one and two movies Training Day and Bandits.
The Last Castle is set in a military prison and stars Robert Redford, who hasn't starred in a movie since The Horse Whisperer in 1998, as an incarcerated general who stages an uprising against oppressive prison warden James Gandolfini. Mark Ruffalo, Delroy Lindo and Robin Wright Penn co-star.
Anxiety about anthrax brought box office expectations down but grosses were still up some 3.7% over the same weekend last year.
Next week - Halloween week - new releases include horror movies Bones from New Line and 13 Ghosts from Warner Bros, while Universal opens K-PAX, its psychiatric drama with Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges, while Miramax launches romantic comedy On The Line starring N Sync band members Lance Bass and Joey Fatone.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US OCT 19-21
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) From Hell (20th Century Fox) Fox International $11.3m --
2 (-) Riding In Cars With Boys (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $10.8m --
3 (1) Training Day (Warner Bros) Warner/Village Roadshow $9.5m $57.5m
4 (2) Bandits (MGM) Hyde Park/Fox International $8.4m $25m
5 (-) The Last Castle (DreamWorks SKG) UIP $7.1m --
6 (4) Serendipity (Miramax) Miramax International $5.8m tba
7 (3) Corky Romano (Buena Vista) BVI $4.4m tba
8 (5) Don't Say A Word (20th Century Fox) New Regency/Fox International $4.4m tba
9 (7) Zoolander (Paramount) UIP/Village Roadshow $3.3m tba
10 (6) Iron Monkey (Dimension) Warner Bros/Bel-Air $3.2m tba