‘Grudge 2′ Screams Box-Office #1, ‘The Departed’ Ain’t Leaving

Horror sequel opens with $22 million; Scorsese flick doesn't fall far.

The Top Five
#1 “The Grudge 2″ ($22 million)
#2 “The Departed” ($18.6 million)
#3 “Man of the Year” ($12.5 million)
#4 “Open Season” ($11 million)
#5 “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” ($7.7 million)

Either there are a lot more “Joan of Arcadia” fans than CBS thought or Friday the 13th got audiences in the right spooked-out frame of mind this weekend as the Amber Tamblyn-starring “The Grudge 2″ narrowly earned first place box-office honors with $22 million in receipts. While that’s down from the $39.1 million opening of 2004′s “The Grudge,” the sequel that’s making creepy kids in white face and long black hair all the rage is still looking like a solid hit with a reported bargain budget of just $20 million.

But the real story has to be the legs of Martin Scorsese’s crime flick “The Departed,” which fell only 27 percent from its first weekend in theaters. Get used to seeing this one in the top 10. Good word of mouth and sustained Oscar buzz could mean it sticks around for a long while.

Debuting in the #3 slot with a disappointing $12.5 million was the political comedy “Man of the Year.” We can’t say we’re too surprised at the unimpressive tally for this one, which only looked like blockbuster material (Robin Williams and Barry Levinson together again) if your calendar was stuck on 1987.

In Perspective
Political satire has never exactly been mistaken for a sure box-office bet (How many of you saw “American Dreamz”?). And so the trend continues with the middling take by “Man of the Year.” Take a look at some of the higher profile recent entries in the genre and you’ll see that a glass ceiling certainly seems to exist:

“Dave” (1993) $63 million
“The American President” (1995) $60 million
“Wag the Dog” (1997) $43 million
“Bulworth” (1998) $26.5 million
“Primary Colors” (1998) $39 million
“American Dreamz” (2006) $7.2 million

Next week
Oscar bait with “Flags of our Fathers,” a girl that just wants to have fun in “Marie Antoinette,” dueling magicians in “The Prestige” and a Tim McGraw horse flick in “Flicka” — now that’s a weekend. Oh, and in case you thought that with Friday the 13th behind you, you could say goodbye to flicks like those with “Massacre” and “Grudge” in the title, get ready. A guy named Jigsaw may have something to say about that in less than two weeks.

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Grudge 2″, “The Departed” and “Man of the Year”.

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