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'Prisoners' debuts with $21.4M

by JAKE COYLE AP Film Writer on September 23, 2013 10:20 AM

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.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, “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.

Estimated ticket sales below are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Holly

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)

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