'Friday the 13th' sets horror record
"Friday the 13th" had all the luck as the remake of the 1980 slasher flick opened with $42.2 million, putting blood and guts ahead of hearts over Valentine's Day weekend.
That was a record for the horror genre, topping the $39.1 million debut for 2004's "The Grudge." Accounting for today's higher admission prices, "The Grudge" sold slightly more tickets, however.
Released by the Warner Bros. banner New Line Cinema, "Friday the 13th" updates the grisly story of killer Jason Voorhees and his rampage among youths at a secluded summer camp.
On opening day - which fell on Friday the 13th - the remake pulled in $19.4 million, slightly more than the $19 million it cost to make the movie.
"It's a great title, and it was a great weekend to open. We had Friday the 13th and Valentine's Day," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros. "I've seen it play a number of times, and the audience is with it the whole way. A lot of screams and a lot of laughs."
The "Friday the 13th" series has been one of the most-enduring horror franchises, spawning 10 sequels, including the crossover grudge match "Freddy Vs. Jason," pitting Voorhees against the boogeyman from "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
In this edition, the usual group of less-than-brilliant young people stray into the woods near the abandoned Lake Crystal (made famous in the 1980 original) for some high times. When they disappear, lone traveler Clay (Jared Padalecki) is left to search the spooky camp for his missing sister, with help from lovely camper Jenna (Danielle Panabaker). Guess who shows up, in all his R-rated glory...
The movie bumped off the previous weekend's top earner, the Warner-New Line romance "He's Just Not That Into You." Among other new movies, Disney's comedy "Confessions of a Shopaholic" landed in fourth-place with $15.4 million, while Sony's thriller "The International" is No. 7 with $10 million. The combination of solid debuts and strong holdovers lifted Hollywood to its best President's Day weekend ever- $190 million blew away the previous best of $157.1 million over President's Day weekend in 2007.
For the year, revenues continue to soar, with revenue at $1.44 billion, up 22 percent through the same point in 2008. Factoring in 2009's higher ticket prices, movie attendance is running 20 percent higher than last year's.
"Hollywood seems to be unstoppable right now. With this notion of the recession helping the box office, I guess this is just another example of that," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. "People want to go to the movies and just have fun and escape. `Friday the 13th,' as scary as your mortgage banker is, Jason's scarier."