Prisoners was a bit of a water cooler film, with people discussing its twists and turns. It generates conversations, which should generate even more interest in it
— Broderick Johnson, co-founder and co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment and producer of the film
Prisoners, a dark thriller starring Hugh Jackman as a father on a desperate search for his missing daughter, locked up the weekend box-office title in the United States and Canada, grabbing $21.4 million in ticket sales during its first three days in theatres. Last weekend’s leader, the low-budget horror flick Insidious: Chapter 2, dropped to second place with $14.5 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
The dance movie Battle of the Year made its debut in the No. 5 slot with $5 million, topped by both mob comedy The Family with $7 million and Spanish language hit Instructions Not Included with $5.7 million.
Box-office watchers projected Prisoners would start with a $20 million weekend. The movie earned strong reviews from critics and early Oscar buzz after a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival this month. As of Saturday, 79 per cent of critics recommended Prisoners, according to reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes website. “It’s a very gratifying result,” said Broderick Johnson, co-founder and co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment and a producer of the film, noting that the thriller was “not an easy, straight-forward film” and was more akin to “a non-conventional indie (independent film).”
Johnson said Prisoners was “a bit of a water cooler film, with people discussing its twists and turns. It generates conversations, which should generate even more interest in it.” The movie is the story of the search for two girls who are kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day. One of their fathers, a Pennsylvania survivalist played by Jackman, grows frustrated with the police investigation and employs his own methods to find out what happened.
The movie was produced for $46 million by Alcon Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
Ticket sales for Insidious: Chapter 2, about a family haunted by spirits, dropped 64 percent from its debut a week earlier. The $5 million production has grossed a cumulative $60.9 million through Sunday.
The 3D Battle of the Year cost $20 million to make. The film stars Lost TV show actor Josh Holloway as the coach of a team competing in an international breakdancing competition. R&B singer Chris Brown plays one of the dancers. Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’