Lions Gate's horrorsequel sliced up the competition and shunted Sony's adventure sequel TheLegend Of Zorro into second placewith an estimated $30.5m opening that offered a hint of optimism for the autumnbox office.

Despite mediocre reviews thepicture scored a superb debut that far exceeded the $18.3m launch of its 2004predecessor. Saw II averaged asolid $10,342 on 2,949 screens. It stars Tobin Bell and Emmanuelle Vaugier aspawns in the continued sadistic exploits of the arch game player Jigsaw.

Darren Lynn Bousman directedfrom a screenplay he co-wrote with the 2004 original's co-write and starLeigh Whannell. Saw II hasalready grossed more than half of Saw's $55.2m lifetime gross.

Opening in second on $16.5mwas Sony and Spyglass Entertainment's The Legend Of Zorro, which reunites Antonio Banderas as theswashbuckling hero and Catherine Zeta-Jones now as his as his feisty wife forthe first time since they partnered up on The Mask Of Zorro in 1998.

Martin Campbell returns todirect this sequel, which dominated the international market over the weekend butaveraged just $4,687 on 3,500 domestic screens. The Mask Of Zorro opened on $22.5m and ended on $94.1m.

Universal's comedy Prime starring Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep launched in thirdplace on $6.4m for a $3,500 average on 1,827 screens. Ben Younger'spicture follows the love affair between a 37 year-old woman and her 23 year-oldboyfriend - who, she doesn't know, is the son of her therapist.

The only other major releasewas Paramount's existential drama The Weather Man, which stars Nicolas Cage as a disillusioned weatherforecaster who tries to get his messy personal life in order as a big job opportunitylooms on the horizon.

Hope Davis and Michael Cainestar in Gore Verbinski's latest offering, which averaged a so-so $2,798 on1,510.

Last weekend'schampion, Universal's Doom,fell six places on $4.1m for $22.9m. DreamWorks' horse drama Dreamer slipped two places to fourth on $6.3m for $17.5mafter two weekends, while DreamWorks Animation's Wallace & Gromit slipped from third to fifth place and is on the cuspof $50m after four.

Overall the top 12 titlescombined for $86.3m, down 6.5% against the same period last year.

Next weekend's widereleases are Buena Vista's Chicken Little with a voice cast including Joan Cusack and ZachBraff, and Universal's Gulf War drama Jarhead starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and PeterSarsgaard.

Estimated Top Ten US Oct28-30 2005

Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date

1 (-) Saw II (Lions Gate) LGFI $30.5m -

2 (-) The Legend Of Zorro (Sony) SPRI/Spyglass $16.5m -

3 (-) Prime (Universal) Focus Features $6.4m -

4 (2) Dreamer: Inspiredby A True Story (DreamWorks) HydePark Entertainment $6.3m $17.5m

5 (3) Wallace &Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit(DreamWorks Animation) UIP $4.4m $49.8m

6 (-) The Weather Man (Paramount) Summit/UIP $4.2m -

7 (1) Doom (Universal) UIP $4.1m $22.9m

8 (5) North Country (Warner Bros) WBPI $3.7m $12.2m

9 (4) The Fog (Sony/Revolution) SPRI $3.3m $25.5m

10 (4) Flightplan (Buena Vista) BVI $2.6m $81.2m