'Amityville Horror' Scares Up $23.3 Million; 'Sahara' Slips To #2

Tormented Long Island family outruns desert adventurers by over $10 million.

There was no disco to be heard or platform shoes to be seen, but other terrifying ghosts of the '70s haunted theaters this weekend in the form of "The Amityville Horror," a remake of the 1979 fright flick.

The film about a family tormented by ghosts bowed at #1 with $23.3 million, according to early estimates. Promoted as a thriller "based on a true story" — though the story is widely believed to be a hoax — "The Amityville Horror" centers on a Long Island, New York, house where a set of grisly murders occurred just over a year earlier, when a man killed his parents and four siblings. Ryan Reynolds stars as George Lutz, the husband/father of the family that moves into the haunted home in Amityville.

By vowing to frighten its viewers senseless, "The Amityville Horror" easily scared last week's winner into second place. Adventure flick "Sahara" stars Matthew McConaughey as Dirk Pitt, a master explorer who sets out to find a treasure on the Niger, and helps save the life of a U.N. scientist (Penélope Cruz) searching for the cure for a rapidly spreading disease. "Sahara" dropped one spot to #2 this week, taking in $13.1 million.

While the Red Sox beat the curse that kept them out of first place in major league baseball, "Fever Pitch," the film about their biggest fan, seems destined to stick to third. The romantic comedy, starring Jimmy Fallon as a schoolteacher/rabid Sox fan and Drew Barrymore as a quirky executive that falls in love with him, hangs to the #3 spot for the second week in a row with $8.8 million.

As the only new film opening in wide release this week, "Amityville" easily pushed "Sin City" off the map. Starring Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and a stacked cast of Hollywood's finest, "Sin City" debuted at #1, spent last week at #2 and dropped down to the #4 spot this week with more than $6.6 million.

The other remake on this week's top 10, "Guess Who," dropped a notch from #4 to #5. The film, which stars Ashton Kutcher, Zoë Saldana, and Bernie Mac as a father who is unhappy to find out that his daughter's boyfriend is white, took in $4.9 million.

After just three weeks in theaters, "Beauty Shop" has sunk down to the bottom half of the box-office top 10. The film, starring Queen Latifah as the owner of a beauty shop with snarky staff and sassy clientele, dropped from #5 to #6 with $3.8 million.

Rounding out this week's top 10 are "Robots," which falls from #6 to #7 with more than $3.5 million; "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous," which slips from #7 to #8 with more than $2.8 million; "The Pacifier," which drops from #8 to #9 with more than $2.4 million; and "The Upside of Anger," which hung onto to the #10 spot with more than $1.9 million.

Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.

Next week, look for "The Interpreter," "A Lot Like Love" and "King's Ransom" to debut on the box-office top 10.

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