It was a battle between the bloody and the bloodier, and in the end, a lone lunatic brandishing a buzzing chainsaw stood victorious. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" knocked "Kill Bill" from the #1 spot at the box office, taking in more than $29 million this past weekend, according to studio estimates.
New Line Cinema reportedly spent just $13 million on the remake of the 1974 horror classic about the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface, so studio executives there are no doubt high-fiving as vigorously as they were two months ago when they scored a hit with another horror flick, "Freddy Vs. Jason" (see " 'Freddy Vs. Jason' Bludgeons The Box-Office Competition").
Quentin Tarantino's fourth feature, "Kill Bill," came in at #2 with $12.5 million. The old-school kung-fu-and-sword-swinging revenge movie has earned more than $43.3 million since it opened at #1 last weekend. (Click for photos from "Kill Bill: Vol. 1.")
"Runaway Jury," the weekend's only other new widely released picture besides "Chainsaw," was close behind "Bill" with a $12.1 million debut. Like "The Pelican Brief" and Tom Cruise's "The Firm," "Runaway Jury" is based on a John Grisham legal thriller.
"School of Rock" was the #4 movie in the U.S. over the weekend, scoring another $11.3 million in ticket sales. The Jack Black comedy has earned more than $55.1 million since it was released three weeks ago. (Click for photos from "School of Rock.")
The #5 spot belonged to the latest directorial effort from Clint Eastwood, "Mystic River," which moved into a slightly wider release over the weekend and took in $10.3 million. Starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, the tense murder mystery has made $13.4 million in the last two weeks despite playing in fewer than 1,500 theaters. (By comparison, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" played in more than 3,000.)
The rest of the weekend's top 10 included "Good Boy!" at #6 with $9 million, which gives the talking-dogs kid flick a $25.7 million two-week total; "Intolerable Cruelty" at #7 with $6.8 million ($23 million, two weeks); Denzel Washington's "Out of Time" at #8 with $4.1 million ($35.3 million, three weeks); "Under the Tuscan Sun" at #9 with $3.4 million ($33.7 million, four weeks); and "The Rundown" at #10 with $2.8 million ($44.5 million, four weeks).
Bill Murray's "Lost in Translation," writer/director Sofia Coppola's follow-up to 1999's "The Virgin Suicides," slipped out of the top 10 with a $1.9 million take. The movie has made close to $21 million in the last six weeks, despite only playing in 771 theaters (Click for photos from "Lost In Translation.").
"Secondhand Lions" was #12 with $1.7 million ($38.2 million, five weeks).
This coming weekend, "Chainsaw" will face some new competition from horror parody "Scary Movie 3," as well as Angelina Jolie's "Beyond Borders" and Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s "Radio."