"Final Destination" took over the top spot from Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt's World War II saga "Inglourious Basterds," which slipped to second place with $20 million. The Weinstein Co. release raised its total to $73.8 million after 10 days in theaters.
Weinstein also had the No. 3 slot with the horror flick "Halloween II," which opened with $17.4 million. The movie is Rob Zombie's sequel to his update of the slasher franchise about crazed killer Michael Myers.
It's unusual for two horror movies to open over the same weekend. While "Final Destination" and "Halloween II" competed for the same audience, both managed solid receipts.
"They got their $17 million, we got our $28 million. That's a lot of business all around," said Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager for Warner Bros.
"Final Destination" continued Hollywood's streak of 3-D successes. The 3-D component accounted for 70 percent of the movie's revenues, even though only 54 percent of the 3,121 theaters where it played offered the movie in 3D.
The Weinstein Co. plans to release "Halloween 3" in 3-D next summer, said Bob Weinstein, who co-founded the company with brother Harvey. While Zombie will not be back to direct, the next sequel will pick up from his story and give a new twist on slasher Myers, Weinstein said.
"Halloween II" did far less business than Zombie's "Halloween," which opened at No. 1 with $30.6 million two years ago. But Weinstein noted that the sequel took in more than its $15 million production budget over opening weekend.
"It's like hitting a single or a double," Weinstein said. "There are going to be bigger ones like 'Inglourious Basterds,' but for the Weinstein Co., we don't mind having two or three of these a year."
The weekend's other new wide release, Focus Features' music romp "Taking Woodstock," opened a weak No. 9 with $3.7 million. Directed by Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain"), "Taking Woodstock" is a nostalgic look behind the scenes at the mammoth 1969 rock concert.
Though Hollywood's summer season historically does not end until Labor Day, the holiday comes late this year, adding an extra week to the movie schedule and skewing comparisons to past summers.
Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian is using this Monday to mark the end of the season, since this weekend corresponded to Labor Day weekend last year. Dergarabedian estimated that through Monday, Hollywood will have taken in $4.26 billion, 1.5 percent ahead of the revenue record the industry set in summer 2008.
While receipts ran at an all-time high, attendance was off 2.2 percent compared with last summer factoring in this year's higher ticket prices, he said.
Revenues had lagged compared to last year's because of a midsummer skid, but Hollywood finished with an unusually strong lineup in August, typically a quiet time at the box office.
"August gave us the record," Dergarabedian said. "Virtually every summer crosses the finish line with a whimper. This year, we crossed with a bang."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Final Destination," $28.3 million.
2. "Inglourious Basterds," $20 million.
3. "Halloween II," $17.4 million.
4. "District 9," $10.7 million.
5. "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," $8 million.
6. "Julie & Julia," $7.4 million.
7. "The Time Traveler's Wife," $6.7 million.
8. "Shorts," $4.9 million.
9. "Taking Woodstock," $3.7 million.
10. "G-Force," $2.8 million.
On the Net: http://www.hollywood.com/boxoffice ---
Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Rogue Pictures is owned by Relativity Media LLC; Overture Films is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp.