'Prisoners,' starring Hugh Jackman, was No. 1 at the box office.
(Photo: Wilson Webb)
(USA Today) -- Hollywood began its seasonal migration to more adult fare this weekend as the fall-oriented Prisoners scored a convincing win at the box office.
The crime drama starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal collected $21.4 million, according to studio estimates from ticket talliers Hollywood.com.
The haul slightly exceeded analysts' expectations, propelled by strong reviews as Prisoners marked one of fall's first awards contenders. According to survey site Rottentomatoes.com, Prisoners won over 79% of critics and an impressive 90% of moviegoers - a strong public reaction to a dark, R-rated film that runs 2½ hours long.
The film benefited from public hunger to get away from summer's big-budget spectacles, says Tim Briody, analyst for ticket trackers Boxofficeprophets.com.
Briody says Prisoners "found the right combination of star power and strong reviews to give audiences a reason to check out the crime thriller in what's been a weak September at the movies."
Gitesh Pandya of Boxofficeguru.com says the film's pedigreed cast, which included Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo, "played to a mature adult crowd," often neglected in the summer gold rush for teen audiences.
Alas, it was the kids left with the scraps this weekend. Insidious Chapter 2 took second place with $14.5 million in its second weekend.
The Robert De Niro comedy The Family was third with $7 million, followed by the Spanish-language family comedy Instructions Not Included with $5.7 million.
The 3-D IMAX re-release of The Wizard of Oz found some gold on the yellow brick road, capturing $3 million and ninth place, meeting most forecasts. Final figures are due Monday.
Attendance is down about 2% from last year's pace, according to Hollywood.com.