Scary Movie 3 was the talk of the town last weekend following its exuberant $48.1m number one opening, trailing several records and a timely lesson in how to revive a franchise in its wake.

The horror spoof scored the biggest ever October opening (overtaking Red Dragon's $36.5m in 2002) and was also the biggest debut for Miramax, its genre label Dimension and director David Zucker.

Opening to mixed reviews, Scary Movie 3 averaged an excellent $13,727 from 3,505 sites and lampoons elements from established genre titles such as Signs, The Ring and The Matrix films. Charlie Sheen, Queen Latifah, Leslie Nielsen, Pamela Anderson and Eddie Griffin are among an ensemble cast peppered with celebrities.

Screen Gems' erotic thriller In The Cut led the march of arthouse titles this week, opening in 33rd place on $97,625 for $131,413 after five days on release. Playing on six screens it averaged a good $16,271. Jane Campion's noirish film drew mostly lacklustre reviews and stars Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo. It will expand this weekend into 800 theatres.

Fine Line's acclaimed high school shooting drama Elephant, which won the Palme D'Or at Cannes this year and earned Gus Van Sant the best director award, opened in 35th with $93,356 also from six.

Buena Vista's traditionally animated Brother Bear opened in 22nd on $291,940 from two sites for easily the weekend's best per-theatre average of $145,970. It wasn't a hit with critics but expands into more than 3,000 theatres this weekend (Oct 31).