Belfast Telegraph

Jackman's Prisoners tops box office

Hugh Jackman's kidnapping drama Prisoners has opened in the US with a box office-leading 21.4 million dollars (£13.3 million), according to studio estimates.

The Warner Bros thriller, which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, is among the first autumn films with Oscar aspirations to open in cinemas. It was a strong debut for a serious, R-rated drama that cost about 46 million dollars (£28.7 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 Bro., said the audience was 74 per cent under the age of 50. The film, he noted, was launched "very similarly" to Warner Bros' 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 with a 40,000 dollar (£25,000) per-cinema average in five venues. And the romantic comedy Enough Said, which co-stars James Gandolfini in one of his final performances, took in a per-screen average of 60,000 dollars (£37,000), opening in four cinemas. 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 dollars (£9 million) in its second weekend, according to studio estimates. It has made 60.9 million dollars (£37.9 million) in two weeks domestically.

The Chris Brown dance film Battle of the Year opened poorly for Sony Pictures' Screen Gems, taking in only five million dollars (£3.1 million).

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