‘Saw II’ Beats ‘The Legend Of Zorro’ In Battle Of Sequels

Horror movie outperformed swashbuckling flick by $14 million.

Horror beat out heroics this Halloween weekend as moviegoers favored “Saw II” over “The Legend of Zorro.”

“Saw II,” which pulled in almost double what “Zorro” earned, bowed at #1 on the box-office top 10 with $30.5 million, according to early estimates. In the sequel to last year’s “Saw,” twisted murderer Jigsaw is at it again — except this time he’s upped the ante, gathering eight individuals who have to find a way out of his death trap (see ” ‘Saw II’: A Sequel With Guts?”) .

Why is it that every time a hero tries to leave the adventurous life to start a family, something always pulls them back? That’s what happens to Antonio Banderas’ Alejandro in “The Legend of Zorro,” which debuted at #2 with $16.5 million. In the sequel to 1998′s “The Mask of Zorro,” Alejandro is hoping to start a family with Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), but finds himself drawn back into the swashbuckling lifestyle to thwart the plans of land barons who want to keep California from becoming the 31st state (see ” ‘Legend Of Zorro’ Follows Antonio Banderas’ Kid-Friendly Lead” ).

The third film on the box-office top 10 isn’t a sequel, but the core of its plot — a younger man falling for an older woman — may seem pretty familiar (see “Rewind: Onscreen And Off, What’s Age Got To Do With It?” ). “Prime,” which bowed at #3 with more than $6.3 million, stars Uma Thurman as Rafi, a recently divorced 37-year-old woman who starts a fling with a 23-year-old painter. While Rafi’s therapist (Meryl Streep) encourages her to pursue this casual relationship, the counselor begins to regret that advice when she finds out her son is the young suitor.

“Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story” dropped from #2 to #4 this week, earning $6.3 million. The film centers on a former horse trainer and his daughter, who attempt to bring a racehorse with a broken leg back to the track (see “For Dakota Fanning, Hollywood Is One Big Box Of Toys” ).

Animated feature “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” which finds a man and his highly intelligent dog attempting to thwart a beast threatening their town’s Giant Vegetable Competition, dropped from #3 to #5 with $4.4 million (see “Rewind: What’s So Funny About Scary Bunnies?” ).

Nicolas Cage stars as a Chicago forecaster who straddles a fine line between love and hate with his audience in “The Weather Man,” which debuted at #6 with more than $4.2 million. Offered a cushy job at a national television show based in New York, Cage’s character has to decide whether a shot at the big time is worth uprooting his family (see “Nic Cage Weathers Hurled Chicken McNuggets In Forecaster Role” ).

Rounding out this week’s box office top 10 are “Doom,” which plummeted from #1 to #7 with more than $4 million; “North Country,” which dropped from #5 to #8 with more than $3.6 million; “The Fog,” which fell from #4 to #9 with $3.3 million; and “Flightplan,” which slipped from #7 to #10 with $2.6 million.

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

Next week, look for “Jarhead” and “Chicken Little” to debut on the box-office top 10.

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