30 Days of NightThe R-rated vampire yarn 30 Days of Night (Sony) fell 13% from its Friday opening, but the Sam Raimi-produced bloodfest still managed to scare up $5.43M in Saturday business. 30 Days of Night will win the weekend with an estimated $15.05M, but Hollywood is clearly in the dark.

The estimated combined weekend gross of the top 12 movies is only $78.64M. That’s the 4th-softest October weekend since 2002. The dismal overall performance comes on the heels of October 5-7, which was the worst October weekend since 1999. Year-over-year, the first 3 weekends of October 2007 are down 20% from the same period a year ago. If it weren’t for Hollywood outsider Tyler Perry, who lives in Atlanta, the month’s movie recession would be even more dramatic.

Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) surged almost 60% on Saturday for a $5.36M take (it’s a photo finish with 30 Days and could go either way when the actuals come out on Monday). The ensemble relationship flick, with an entirely African American cast, has scored an excellent hold, finishing the weekend with $11.69M.

The Game Plan (Buena Vista), continues to amaze adding another $3.86M on Saturday, and the family film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is headed for an $8.69M weekend. Sometime on Monday, Game Plan will surpass $70M.

George Clooney’s Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) will finish #4 in its second weekend, a good solid hold. The movie picked up $2.88M on Saturday and should hit $7.26M for the frame. Clooney exec produced and waived his salary for this smart legal thriller, and that bet is paying off. The success will make it very tough to keep the Oscar winner out of the Best Actor category at this year’s Academy Awards.

Finishing 5th is Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone (Miramax), which will have banked $6M by Sunday night. This is dark material, based on a novel by Mystic River author Dennis Lehane, and the film is still performing admirably, setting up a possible awards season run. In the always crowded director’s race, it’s hard to imagine that Ben Affleck can score an Oscar nomination, but he’s a solid bet for a Best Adapted Screenplay nom. Meanwhile, younger brother Casey is getting raves for his Gone Baby Gone performance, and the commercial success will likely give him a leg-up on actors like Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah) and Benicio Del Toro (Things We Lost in the Fire), whose movies have been box office misses.

The other new wide releases met with results ranging from awful to embarrassing. The sports spoof The Comebacks (Fox) got just a 9% Saturday bump, and it’ll finish the weekend at #7 with about $5.6M. Rendition (New Line) and Things We Lost in the Fire (Dreamworks/Paramount), prestige projects with serious pedigree, fared even worse.

Despite a cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin and Peter Sarsgaard, Rendition managed only $1.66M on Saturday, and the political thriller will settle for a $4.33M opening weekend. Over at Dreamworks, Things We Lost in the Fire makes it back-to-back bombs (following Heartbreak Kid) as the respectfully-reviewed Benicio Del Toro-Halle Berry drama depressed its way to only $1.61M for the weekend. That’s an abysmal $1,410 per location.

2 more wide misguided wide releases are full-scale disasters. Sarah Landon & the Parnormal Hour (Freestyle Releasing), which wasn’t screened for anyone in advance, scared up less than $500 per screen for the whole weekend and a total of only $530,000 or so. Rocky Mountain Pictures’ animated version of The Ten Commandments, a bible tale hoping to connect with Christian audiences, failed to top $500,000. That means it didn’t work in red states or blue states. In fact, it’s fair to say that the distributor was in a “state” of denial when they decided to go ahead with an 830-screen rollout.

There are 2 smaller films with awards-caliber performances that had very strong weekends. Ryan Gosling, an Academy Award nominee for Half Nelson last year, is brilliant in a sweet, quirky picture called Lars & the Real Girl (MGM). It’s riding very good reviews to solid numbers in its limited release. Lars expanded to 21 locations this weekend, and it appears to have delivered a nearly $9,000 per theatre average. This will boost Gosling for Best Actor with MPAA members, and it is also winning acclaim for screenwriter Nancy Oliver. The former Six Feet Under writer seems to be a real threat for a Best Original Screenplay nomination.

The best PTA of the weekend has been posted by Control (MGM/Weinstein), a biopic about the life of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. This well-reviewed gem expanded to Los Angeles this weekend, and Control has grabbed 16,000+ per for the weekend. Sam Riley is brilliant as Curtis, and if Bob and Harvey can capture some of the old Weinstein Oscar magic, this 27-year old British actor could be an excellent dark horse in this year’s Best Actor race.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY SATURDAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $5.43M – $1,905 PTA – $11.6M cume
2. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $5.36M – $2,638 PTA – $35.5M cume
3. The Game Plan (Buena Vista) – $3.86M – $1,170 PTA – $67.3M cume
4. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $2.88M – $1,114 PTA – $20M cume
5. NEW – Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $2.34M – $1,370 PTA – $4.2M cume
6. We Own the Night (Sony) – $2.31M – $981 PTA – $18.4M cume
7. NEW – The Comebacks (Fox Atomic) – $2.28M – $814 PTA – $4.3M cume
8. NEW – Rendition (New Line) – $1.66M – $740 PTA – $3M cume
9. The Heartbreak Kid (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $1.6M – $577 PTA – $31M cume
10. NEW – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Buena Vista) – $1.49M – $2,650 PTA – $62.3M cume
11. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal) – $1.3M – $648 PTA – $10.3M cume
12. Across the Universe (Sony) – $1.13M – $1,178 PTA – $16.1M cume
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $877,200 – $1,333 PTA – $5.9M cume
*NEW – Things We Lost in the Fire (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $646,400 – $566 PTA – $1.1M
*Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $546,100 – $2,703 PTA – $3.5M cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $250,800 – $2,006 PTA – $1.9M cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $243,860 – $794 PTA – $318.2M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $217,600 – $723 PTA – $2M cume
*NEW – Sarah Landon & the Paranormal Hour (Freestyle Releasing) – $215,250 – $193 PTA – $390,250 cume
*NEW – The Ten Commandments (Rocky Mountain Pictures) – $197,200 – $238 PTA – $342,200 cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $78,650 – $3,745 PTA – $261,650 cume
*NEW – O Jerusalem (IDP Films) – $15,971 – $1,597 PTA – $19,651 cume
*NEW – Reservation Road (Focus) – $13,970 – $1,075 PTA – $24,970 cume
*Sleuth (Sony Classics) – $13,844 – $659 PTA – $88,707 cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $12,840 – $6,420 PTA – $77,112 cume
*NEW – Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – $10,720 – $3,573 PTA – $21,334 cume
*NEW – Black White + Gray (Arthouse Films) – $1,722 – $1,722 PTA – $2,648 cume
*NEW – Trigger Man (Glass Eye) – $152 – $152 PTA – $259 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS REVISED 3-DAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $15.05M – $5,275 PTA – $15.05M cume
2. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $11.69M – $5,749 PTA – $38.4M cume
3. The Game Plan (Buena Vista) – $8.69M – $2,633 PTA – $69.7M cume
4. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $7.26M – $2,809 PTA – $22.1M cume
5. NEW – Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $6M – $3,504 PTA – $6M cume
6. We Own the Night (Sony) – $5.67M – $2,402 PTA – $19.9M cume
7. NEW – The Comebacks (Fox Atomic) – $5.6M – $1,992 PTA – $5.6M cume
8. NEW – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Buena Vista) – $4.52M – $8,014 PTA – $63.5M cume
9. NEW – Rendition (New Line) – $4.33M – $1,925 PTA – $4.33M cume
10. The Heartbreak Kid (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $3.84M – $1,381 PTA – $32M cume
11. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal) – $3.21M – $1,604 PTA – $11.2M cume
12. Across the Universe (Sony) – $2.78M – $2,899 PTA – $16.8M cume
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $2.13M – $3,246 PTA – $6.4M cume
*NEW – Things We Lost in the Fire (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $1.61M – $1,410 PTA – $1.61M
*Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $1.35M – $6,725 PTA – $3.9M cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $591,360 – $4,731 PTA – $2.1M cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $558,878 – $1,820 PTA – $318.4M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $537.744 – $1,787 PTA – $2.1M cume
*NEW – Sarah Landon & the Paranormal Hour (Freestyle Releasing) – $532,315 – $477 PTA – $532,315 cume
*NEW – The Ten Commandments (Rocky Mountain Pictures) – $490,100 – $590 PTA – $490,100 cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $188,705 – $8,986 PTA – $316,705 cume
*NEW – Reservation Road (Focus) – $35,448 – $2,727 PTA – $35,448 cume
*Sleuth (Sony Classics) – $34,046 – $1,621 PTA – $99,228 cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $32,742 – $16,371 PTA – $86,742 cume
*NEW – O Jerusalem (IDP Films) – $31,150 – $3,115 PTA – $31,150 cume
*NEW – Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – $28,838- $9,613 PTA – $28,838 cume
*NEW – Black White + Gray (Arthouse Films) – $3,854 – $3,854 PTA – $3,854 cume
*NEW – Trigger Man (Glass Eye) – $365 – $365 PTA – $365 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY SATURDAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. Control (MGM/Weinstein) – 2 locations – $6,420 PTA
2. Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – 21 locations – $3,745 PTA
3. NEW – Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – 3 locations – $3,538 PTA
4. Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – 202 locations – $2,703 PTA
5. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – 2,034 locations – $2,638 PTA
6. NEW – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Buena Vista) – 564 locations – $2,650 PTA
7. Lust Caution (Focus) – 125 locations – $2,006 PTA
8. NEW – 30 Days of Night (Sony) – 2,855 locations – $1,905 PTA
9. NEW – Black White + Gray (Arthouse Films) – 1 location – $1,722 PTA
10. NEW – O Jerusalem (IDP Films) – 10 locations – $1,597 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS REVISED 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. Control (MGM/Weinstein) – 2 locations – $16,371 PTA
2. NEW – Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – 3 locations – $9,613 PTA
3. Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – 21 locations – $8,986 PTA
4. NEW – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Buena Vista) – 564 locations – $8,014 PTA
5. Finishing the Game (IFC Films) – 2 locations – $7,080 PTA
6. Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – 202 locations – $6,725 PTA
7. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – 2,034 locations – $6,749PTA
8. NEW – 30 Days of Night (Sony) – 2,855 locations – $5,275 PTA
9. Lust Caution (Focus) – 125 locations – $4,731 PTA
10. NEW – Black White + Gray (Arthouse Films) – 1 location – $3,854 PTA

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