Ghost House Pictures' Japanese horror remake The Grudge, released in North America by ColumbiaPictures, scored the third biggest October debut of all time as it opened topon an estimated $40m, dethroning DreamWorks' animated hit Shark Tale (the second biggest Oct opening of all time) in its fourth weekend.

Rated a teen-friendly PG-13, The Grudge drew mixed reviews but averaged an excellent $12,326 on 3,245screens. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a Tokyo-based care worker who becomeshaunted by a deadly curse that spreads like a virus.

Jason Behr, Bill Pullman and Clea DuVall also star in TakashiShimizu's remake of his own highly successful Ju-on.

The Grudge cost roughly $10m and marks a successful launch for Ghost House, amid-budget horror supplier formed by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, and financed byJoe Drake's Senator International. The film was preceded by trailers to GhostHouse's next film Boogeyman which will be released by Screen Gems.

To date the biggest October opener of all time is Miramax's ScaryMovie 3, which took$48.1m on Oct 24 2003.

Shark Tale settled into second place on $14.3m for $136.9m, while Miramax'sromantic comedy Shall We Dance' used strong word of mouth from last week's opening to climb oneplace to third on $8.6m for $24.4m.

DreamWorks' comedy Surviving Christmas, a feelgood seasonal story starring BenAffleck as a jaded record executive who relies on Yuletide to raise hisspirits, opened poorly in seventh place on $4.5m.

Plagued by dismal reviews, it averaged $1,636 on 2,750 screens. Italso stars Christina Applegate and James Gandolfini and was directed by MikeMitchell.

Universal's Friday Night Lights is approaching $50m as it enters itsthird week; it fell two to fourth on $7m for $47.3m. Paramount's TeamAmerica slipped two tofifth on $6.6m for $22.3m.

Fox Searchlight's existential comedy I Heart Huckabees expanded into 785 screens in its fourthweekend, climbing two to 10th on $3m for $5.9m.

Next weekend's wide releases include Universal's Ray Charlesbiopic Ray starring Jamie Foxx; and Lions Gate's dark comedy Eulogy, which is currently on limited release.

Estimated Top Ten US Oct 22-24 2004

Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekendgross/Estimated total to date

1 (-) The Grudge (Sony) Senator International $40m -

2 (1) Shark Tale (DreamWorks) UIP $14.3m $136.9m

3 (4) Shall We Dance' (Miramax) Miramax International/BVI $8.6m $24.4m

4 (2) Friday Night Lights (Imagine/Universal) UIP/various $7m $47.3m

5(3) Team America: World Police(Paramount) UIP $6.6m $22.3m

6(5) Ladder 49 (Buena Vista) BVI/Summit$5.4m $61.5m

7 (-) Surviving Christmas (DreamWorks) UIP $4.5m -

8 (6) Taxi(Fox) Fox Int'l $4.3m $29.9m

9(7) The Forgotten (Columbia/Revolution)CTFDI $3.4m $62.1m

10 (12) I Heart Huckabees (Fox Searchlight) Fox Intl $3m $5.9m