Jack Nicholson Takes Down Leatherface In Box-Office Fracas

It wasn't quite a box-office massacre, but 'Departed' wins with ease.

The Top Five

#1    The Departed   ($27 million)

#2    Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning   ($19.1 million)

#3    Open Season   ($16 million)

#4    Employee of the Month   ($11.8 million)

#5    The Guardian   ($9.6 million)

You just know that famous Jack grin is working overtime today. Thanks to a slew of stellar reviews and star power from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and, of course, Mr. Nicholson himself, Martin Scorsese’s crime thriller “The Departed” earned the top spot at the box office last weekend with a $27 million take. And you can be sure Jack’s not the only one grinning today: The impressive opening represents by far the biggest debut for revered director Scorsese, easily besting the $10.2 million opening for “Cape Fear” back in 1991. Based on the cult-classic Honk Kong flick “Infernal Affairs,” “The Departed” returns Scorsese to familiar gangland territory — albeit with a New England twang. But will reviews plus healthy b.o. add up to long-delayed Oscar glory for the perennially slighted Scorsese? Oh wait, it’s New England — make that “Oscah”

Even though he didn’t grab the top spot, shed no tears for Leatherface, star of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Beginning,” which came in at #2. The flick took in a respectable $19.1 million in its debut weekend. While not quite living up to the opening gross — and we do mean gross — of 2003′s “Massacre” (a bloody good $28 million), the tally suggests that you can look forward to another sequel with Leatherface and the fam. But if it’s a sequel to a prequel to a remake, what would that movie be anyway? Stay tuned. …

Rounding out the leaderboard for the weekend are the animated comedy “Open Season” ($16 million) at #3, the Dane Cook/ Jessica Simpson starrer “Employee of the Month” ($11.8 million) at #4, and the Coast Guard action flick “The Guardian” ($9.6 million) at #5.

In Perspective
He may be considered the greatest living director by many if not most film fans, but that hasn’t always translated to big bucks for Martin Scorsese. Here are the master’s five prior opening grosses, prior to “The Departed”:

  • 1. “Cape Fear” (1994) $10.2 million
  • 2. “Casino” (1995) $9.9 million
  • 3. “Gangs of New York” (2002) $9.5 million
  • 4. “The Aviator” (2004) $8.6 million
  • 5. “Goodfellas” (1990) $6.3 million

Next week
The people behind three big releases are hoping Friday the 13th doesn’t translate to bad box-office mojo this weekend: “The Grudge 2,” WWE star John Cena’s “The Marine” and the Robin Williams political comedy “Man of the Year” all open that day.

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[This story was originally published at 7:44 am E.T. on 10.09.2006]