NEW YORK — The more adult-oriented fall moviegoing season got off to a strong start over the weekend, as the Hugh Jackman kidnapping drama "Prisoners" opened with a box office-leading $21.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Warner Bros. thriller, which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, is among the first fall films with Oscar aspirations to open in theaters. It was a strong debut for a serious, R-rated drama that cost about $46 million to make.
Following the robust business for "Lee Daniels' The Butler" (now up to $106.5 million in six weeks for the Weinstein Co.), the large audiences turning out for adult fare bodes well for Hollywood's coming awards season.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the nearly 2 1/2 hour-long "Prisoners" is about the working-class families of two young girls who are abducted. In a story heavy with allegory, Jackman plays a father willing to cross moral lines for justice. Gyllenhaal stars as the small-town police detective trying to navigate the case.
Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., said the audience was 74 percent under the age of 50, with only 8 percent under 18. The film, he noted, was launched "very similarly" to Warner Bros.'s October-released "Argo," which, like "Prisoners," premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and then the Toronto International Film Festival.
In limited release, two other adult-oriented films opened well. Ron Howard's Formula One tale "Rush" opened in five theaters with a $40,000 per-screen average. And the romantic comedy "Enough Said," which co-stars James Gandolfini in one of his final performances, opened in four theaters with a per-screen average of $60,000. Both films expand next week.
"Prisoners," "Rush" and "Enough Said" have all received good reviews.
"A few years ago, people were saying that the adult drama is dead," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "We're just seeing a change. Now we're finding that intersection between good movies that are also generating big box office."
Last week's top film, "Insidious: Chapter 2," slid to second place for FilmDistrict. The horror film made $14.5 million in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. It has made $60.9 million in two weeks domestically.
The Chris Brown dance film "Battle of the Year" opened poorly for Sony Pictures' Screen Gems, taking in only $5 million.
Warner Bros.'s 3-D conversion of "The Wizard of Oz" made $3 million, opening on 318 IMAX screens.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. "Prisoners," $21.4 million ($500,000 international).
2. "Insidious: Chapter 2," $14.5 million ($3.5 million international).
3. "The Family," $7 million ($1.5 million international).
4. "Instructions Not Included," $5.7 million ($9.6 million international).
5. "Battle of the Year," $5 million.
6. "We're the Millers," $4.7 million ($9.6 million international).
7. "Lee Daniels' the Butler," $4.3 million ($2.2 million international).
8. "Riddick," $3.7 million ($9.4 million).
9. "Wizard of Oz," $3 million.
10. "Planes," $2.9 million ($7 million international).
Estimated weekend ticket sales Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:
1. "The Face Reader," $22.3 million.
2. "Smurfs 2," $14.1 million.
3. "Turbo," $12.3 million.
4. "Elysium," $10.3 million.
(tie) "Despicable Me," $10.3 million.
6. "The Conjuring," $10.1 million.
7. "We're the Millers," $9.6 million.
(tie) "Instructions Not Included," $9.6 million.
9. "Riddick," $9.4 million.
10. "White House Down," $9 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
"Adore" (Sept. 6)
Naomi Watts and Robin Wright star as two mothers who fall into sexual relationships with each other's sons. (Yep, it's real.)
"Riddick" (Sept. 6)
When Vin Diesel isn't starring in "Fast and Furious" movies, he's playing Riddick.
'Good Ol' Freda' (Sept. 6)
A documentary about The Beatles' famed secretary.
"Salinger" (Sept. 6)
Shane Salerno ("Savages") directs this documentary about the reclusive "Catcher in the Rye" author.
"Winnie Mandela" (Sept. 6)
Jennifer Hudson stars as Nelson Mandela's wife Winnie in this new film, the first of two Mandela features set for release this year.
"The Family" (Sept. 13)
Director Luc Besson's mob comedy stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, because sometimes we're allowed to have nice things.
"Insidious: Chapter 2" (Sept. 13)
"Jayne Mansfield's Car" (Sept. 13)
Billy Bob Thornton's first feature directorial effort since 2001's "Daddy and Them" stars Thornton himself, Kevin Bacon and Robert Duvall.
"Battle Of The Year" (Sept. 20)
Chris Brown made a movie with Sawyer from "Lost." (Real.)
"Prisoners" (Sept. 20)
Hugh Jackman leads an all-star cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo) in this revenge drama from director Denis Villeneuve.
"A Single Shot" (Sept. 20)
Sam Rockwell stars in this thriller, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival.
"Enough Said" (Sept. 20)
Nicole Holofcener's romantic comedy features James Gandolfini's final role as a leading man. (Gandolfini has a supporting role in the upcoming film "Animal Rescue.") Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Toni Collette and Catherine Keener co-star.
"Thanks For Sharing" (Sept. 20)
Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow star in this dramedy about sex addiction. From Stuart Blumberg, an Oscar nominee for "The Kids Are All Right."
"After Tiller" (Sept. 20)
A controversial documentary about U.S. doctors who still perform third-trimester abortions.
"Parkland" (Sept. 20)
Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti and Zac Efron star in this drama about the immediate aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
"C.O.G." (Sept. 20)
Jonathan Groff stars in this new movie, which is based on a story by David Sedaris.
"Rush" (Sept. 20)
Ron Howard's Formula 1 drama casts Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl as, respectively, James Hunt and Niki Lauda, two of the sport's greatest competitors. The film, which is also due to bow at the Toronto International Film Festival, opens wide on Sept. 27.
"Baggage Claim" (Sept. 27)
Paula Patton stars in this rom-com about a flight attendant looking for love. Bonus: <strike>Seth Cohen</strike> Adam Brody as her outlandish confidant.
"Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2" (Sept. 27)
Tying up all the loose ends from part one.
"Don Jon" (Sept. 27)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut is a funny and poignant look at relationships in the age of instantaneous gratification. (Also, porn.) Tony Danza, Julianne Moore and a scene-stealing Scarlett Johansson all co-star.
"Metallica: Through The Never" (Sept. 27)
Enter sandman: Metallica made a concert movie that's not a just a concert movie. Dane DeHaan stars.
"Gravity" (Oct. 4)
Alfonso Cuaron's first film since 2006's "Children of Men" stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts lost in space. One of the year's must-see events.
"Runner Runner" (Oct. 4)
Justin Timberlake takes on an evil Ben Affleck in this new thriller about online gambling. Brad Furman ("The Lincoln Lawyer") directs.
"Captain Phillips" (Oct. 11)
Tom Hanks stars as the title captain in this thriller from Paul Greengrass, which focuses on the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. The film will debut at the New York Film Festival.
"Machete Kills" (Oct. 11)
The best cast of the year? "Machete Kills" stars Danny Trejo, Sofia Vergara, Michelle Rodriguez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen (as the President of the United States), because of course it does.
"Romeo And Juliet" (Oct. 11)
"Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes adapted this version of Shakespeare's tragic romance.
"CBGB" (Oct. 11)
"Harry Potter" pals Alan Rickman and Rupert Grint reunite for this rock drama.
"Kill Your Darlings" (Oct. 16)
Daniel Radcliffe grows up. The erstwhile Harry Potter plays Allen Ginsberg in this Sundance Film Festival fave.
"The Fifth Estate" (Oct. 18)
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Julian Assange in this new film from Bill Condon ("The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 & 2," "Dreamgirls").
"Paradise" (Oct. 18)
Diablo Cody's directorial debut look good, honest to blog.
"Carrie" (Oct. 18)
No one is going to laugh at Chloe Moretz after this remake of Brian DePalma's horror classic debuts.
"Escape Plan" (Oct. 18)
Stallone. Schwarzenegger. Prison break. See you at the theater.
"All Is Lost" (Oct. 18)
Robert Redford stars as a man struggling to survive after a hole is torn into the hull of his ship. J.C. Chandor ("Margin Call") directs the film, which is expected to give the 76-year-old actor a good chance at an Oscar nomination in 2014.
"Twelve Years A Slave" (Oct. 18)
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a New York man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson and Alfre Woodard star in this new drama from "Shame" director Steve McQueen. The film is based on Northup's acclaimed memoir.
"The Counselor" (Oct. 25)
Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz go bad in Ridley Scott's "The Counselor," based on an original script by Cormac McCarthy. Yes, please.
"Jackass: Bad Grandpa" (Oct. 25)
"Ender's Game" (Nov. 1)
An adaptation of the beloved young adult novel (from non-beloved author Orson Scott Card) stars Hailee Steinfeld, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford.
"Free Birds" (Nov. 1)
An animated movie about turkeys, "from the Academy Award-winning producer of 'Shrek.'"
"Last Vegas" (Nov. 1)
Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline star in this comedy, which looks like a mix of "The Hangover" and "Grumpy Old Men." Turtle from "Entourage" co-stars, at least for one scene.
"About Time" (Nov. 1)
Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson star in this romantic comedy-cum-time travel drama from "Love Actually" director Richard Curtis. The trailer will make you cry. (The film opens nationwide on Nov. 8.)
"Diana" (Nov. 1)
Naomi Watts stars as Princess Diana in this new biopic.
"How I Live Now" (Nov. 8)
Think "Children of Men" mixed with "The Host." Kevin Macdonald, of "The Last King of Scotland" fame, directs.
"Thor: The Dark World" (Nov. 8)
The sequel to "Thor" looks better than its predecessor in lots of ways, not the least of which being that Tom Hiddleston's Loki is fully unhinged. Petition for Loki spinoff starts here.
"The Best Man Holiday" (Nov. 15)
A sequel to the 1999 film "The Best Man," which serves as further proof that the statute of limitations on part twos is infinite.
"The Book Thief" (Nov. 15)
Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson star in this adaptation of Markus Zusak's acclaimed best-selling novel.
"The Wolf Of Wall Street" (Nov. 15)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey star in Martin Scorsese's new film, which looks to do for bankers what "Goodfellas" did for mobsters. Expect Oscars and endlessly quotable dialogue.
"Delivery Man" (Nov. 22)
Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders star in this comedy about a man who fathered 533 children after making donations to a sperm bank.
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (Nov. 22)
"Nebraska" (Nov. 22)
Alexander Payne's latest film casts Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and son on a road trip. Expect to read a lot about this between now and the Academy Awards on March 2.
"Black Nativity" (Nov. 27)
Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Mary J. Blige star in this new drama, directed by Kasi Lemmons.
"Oldboy" (Nov. 27)
Spike Lee's reinterpretation of Chan-wook Park's classic film stars Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen.