Warner Bros.’s ‘Prisoners’ Finishes Atop Theater Sales

“Prisoners,” the suspense thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, was the top-grossing movie at U.S. and Canadian theaters in its debut with $20.8 million in sales for Warner Bros.

“Insidious: Chapter 2” fell to second place with $13.8 million, Box-Office said today in a statement. Ron Howard’s “Rush” opened in limited release.

The R-rated “Prisoners,” featuring Jackman as a father reacting to his daughter’s kidnapping, generated strong reviews and film-festival buzz in Toronto and Telluride, Colorado. With kids back in school and the awards season approaching, Hollywood studios are bringing out films for more mature audiences.

“It’s a very good opening, especially for this time of year, when the box office is weaker,” Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer of, said in a telephone interview. “September is the weakest month of the year so for a movie to break $20 million, it’s not too common.

‘‘The movie is skewed toward adults and they typically listen to reviews more than teenagers,’’ he said. ‘‘Plus it has huge stars and solid marketing.’’

‘‘Prisoners’’ was projected to generate $20 million in domestic sales, the estimate of researcher Jackman’s character turns vigilante after police, lacking evidence, let the chief suspect in his daughter’s disappearance go. Gyllenhaal plays the detective keeping tabs on Jackman while investigating the case.

Racing Legend

Jackman gives the best performance of his career, Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey wrote in a review.

‘‘Exciting, terrifying, worrisome stuff saturates every second,” she wrote. “Holding you captive, keeping you guessing until the bitter end.”

“Rush,” from Universal Pictures, stars Chris Hemsworth as the late Formula 1 racing legend James Hunt and focuses on the 1976 world championship which Hunt won in a nail-biting contest with rival Niki Lauda. Director Howard, who won the Oscar for 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind,” conveys the intensity of the racing and the contrasting personalities of the British playboy Hunt and the studious Austrian Lauda.

“Rush,” which brought in almost $200,000 in ticket sales, opened in five theaters and goes into wide release this coming weekend. It received generally favorable reviews. The movie “distills the thrill of racing into a clash of personalities, one nail-biting face-off, a catastrophic accident and a wild comeback,” Manohla Dargis wrote in the New York Times.

‘Enough Said’

Also making its debut was the romantic comedy “Enough Said,” starring James Gandolfini, in one of his last major movie roles, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They play divorced parents Albert and Eva who hit it off at a party.

“Louis-Dreyfus is endearingly funny as a mess of insecurities, and the late, great Gandolfini was never more supremely tender,” wrote Bloomberg News critic Craig Seligman.

“Enough Said,” from Twentieth Century Fox, brought in $233,000 in ticket sales in four cinemas.

“Insidious,” made for $5 million, has taken in $60.2 million in two weeks. The horror film, drawing from classics “Poltergeist,” “The Exorcist” and “The Shining,” was projected to bring in $13.5 million this past weekend for FilmDistrict Distribution LLC, according to

“The Family,” a mobster comedy with Robert de Niro, fell to third from second with $7 million. The movie from Relativity Media LLC also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, and was directed by Luc Besson.

Revenue Up

In fourth place was “Instructions Not Included,” bringing in $5.4 million and starring Eugenio Derbez and Karla Souza. Sony Corp.’s “Battle of the Year” was fifth with $4.6 million in receipts in its debut. The 3-D movie follows an international dance competition and features rapper Chris Brown.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 2.6 percent to $73.1 million from the year-earlier period, said. Attendance year-to-date is down 2 percent, while revenue is up

1.4 percent to $8.02 billion.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Box-Office. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for Sept. 20-22.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 PRISONERS          $20.8    3,260   $6,386    --   $20.8    1
 2 INSIDIOUS           13.8    3,155    4,375   -66    60.2    2
 3 THE FAMILY           7.0    3,091    2,265   -50    25.6    2
 4 INSTRUCTIONS NOT     5.4      978    5,518    11    34.0    4
 5 BATTLE OF THE YEAR   4.6    2,008    2,292    --     4.6    1
 6 WE’RE THE MILLERS    4.6    3,003    1,518   -16   138.1    7
 7 THE BUTLER           4.2    2,931    1,431   -24   106.3    6
 8 RIDDICK              3.7    3,022    1,210   -47    37.2    3
 9 WIZARD OF OZ         3.1      318    9,730    --     3.1    1
10 PLANES               2.7    2,446    1,108   -13    86.4    7
11 PERCY JACKSON        1.8    1,473    1,206    -6    64.2    7
12 ELYSIUM              1.5    1,392    1,053   -30    90.8    7

Top 12 Films Grosses
   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
     $73.1         $75.0      -2.6

Year-to-date Revenue
     2013          2012
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $8,017        $7,910      +1.4

Year-to-date Attendance:     -2.0%

(Updates with final weekend totals.)
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