North American box office: ‘High School Musical’ drops big but stays on top

Looks like almost everyone who wanted to see HSM3 saw it last weekend. Or else they were busy dressing up as Troy and Gabriella at a costume party. Movie attendance was way down this weekend:

1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year: $15 million (2nd week; drops 64%)
2. Zack and Miri Make a Porno: $10.7 million (NEW)
3. Saw V: $10.1 million (2nd week; drops 66%)
4. Changeling: $9.4 million (1st week in wide release)
5. The Haunting of Molly Hartley: $6 million (NEW)
The Los Angeles Times notes that the weekend was down 37 percent over last year — when American Gangster and Bee Movie, in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, brought in a combined $80 million-plus — and that Friday’s ticket sales were particularly dire, what with Halloween falling on that day. I’d bet that Saturday, too, was far off a regular Saturday’s attendance — I’m sure I wasn’t the only person at a Halloween party on Saturday night, instead of at the movies.

It might have been only the holiday that prevented Kevin Smith from getting his best opening-weekend numbers ever: Zack and Miri opened just a smidge behind Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which debuted to the tune of a little over $11 million in 2001.

The healtiest numbers for the weekend, as usual, came among the limited releases. Star-director Bruce Campbell’s horror comedy My Name Is Bruce (my review ASAP) collected $18,800 on a single screen. I was near that single screen on Friday night: it’s in the East Village in New York, and the neighborhood was a crazy Mardi Gras-esque scene — I can well imagine that the way to top off such an evening would be with a midnight showing of Bruce (and Campbell was in attendance, too, which had to be a big draw).

Close behind in the per-screen tally were Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom (a gay-themed drama that I have no plans to review) earning $14,820 on each of five screens, and Synecdoche, New York (review coming soon), earning $11,111 on each of nine screens. For comparison’s sake, HSM3’s per-screen was $4,146; Changeling had the best per-screen among the top 5, at $5,085.

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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