Despite the precedent of retarded ploys like this one, and another whispered, opt-in-only go-round of “courtesy screenings” on its day of release, the Saw franchise saw no signs of slowing this past week, topping the weekend box office with just over $32 million on 4,600 screens, better than 2005’s Saw II and just off the $33.6 million haul of last year’s Saw III, both of which released during the same pre-Halloween frame.
Steve Carell’s Dan in Real Life rang up just over $12 million, good for second place. 30 Days of Night, meanwhile, took a steep tumble in its second week of release, banking $6.7 million to pull its 10-day total to $27.3 million. The Rock’s The Game Plan actually added theaters in its fifth week of release, and now stands poised to crack the $80 million mark domestically in the next several days. George Clooney’s Michael Clayton, which my dad lost $11 on by dozing off during, added $5 million to its coffers; it now stands at $28.7 million domestically. Eschewing commas isn’t helping Gone Baby Gone at the box office; despite its literary pedigree, Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, which I assay in talking head fashion here, slipped to seventh this week with $3.9 million, and has pulled in $11.3 million to date. We Own the Night, meanwhile, dropped 37 percent in its third week of release, adding $3.4 million to its $25 million cumulative gross.
In limited release, finally, Mr. Untouchable laid hands on $50,000 on 25 screens, while recently announced LAFCA Career Achievement honoree Sidney Lumet‘s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead rang up $73,500 on two screens. The big micro-release winner, though, was Toronto Film Festival winner Bella, which grossed $1.3 million at 165 theaters.