Jodie Foster Scares Off Cowboys, Leads 'The Brave One' To Box-Office Victory

'Eastern Promises' and 'Across the Universe' thrive in limited release.

The Box Office Top Five

#1 "The Brave One" ($14 million)

#2 "3:10 to Yuma" ($9.2 million)

#3 "Mr. Woodcock" ($9.1 million)

#4 "Dragon Wars" ($5.4 million)

#5 "Superbad" ($5.2 million)

They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but after all these years of being a cinematic victim, tormented by pimps or murderers or robbers (or worse), Jodie Foster served up a warm plate of retribution, leading "The Brave One" to the top of the domestic box office (number one with a bullet!). In its first weekend, the Neil Jordon-directed flick about a woman who guns down would-be attackers scored $14 million.

Of course, Jodie's not alone in wanting moral restitution. American pop culture is and always has been rife with examples of vigilante justice. Why, with her first-place finish, Foster took down the archetype himself: Batman. (Well, er, the guy who plays him at any rate.) Christian Bale's "3:10 to Yuma" fell 35 percent in its second weekend, earning $9.2 million for a new total of $28.5 million. Even with an overall haul that's barely enough to shoe a horse, "Yuma" is already the 13th highest grossing Western of all time. Take that, John Wayne.

They say that those who can, do and those who can't, teach (and those who can't teach, teach gym), but Billy Bob Thornton's "Mr. Woodcock" could teach us all a lesson: Namely, don't make movies about gym teachers starring Billy Bob Thornton. Co-starring Seann William Scott, the comedy came in third place with $9.1 million.

It's been a long time since the last successful monster movie, and, unfortunately for "Dragon Wars," the wait continues (although there's always J.J. Abrams' "Cloverfield" in January.) The Asian import made only $5.4 million for a fourth-place finish. In its fifth week, "Superbad" rounded out the top five — with just a little more than $5 million.

But the real winners of the weekend were several films which opened to packed houses in limited release. By far the most successful of these was David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises" with Viggo Mortensen. Debuting in only 15 theaters, the mob flick scored $553,000 for a per-screen average of $36,866. Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe," meanwhile, earned $29,782 per theater for a total of $685,000.

But while those films rose, Daniel Radcliffe's "December Boys" sunk, earning just $18,000 from four theaters. Boy, could he use a well-placed Wingardium Leviosa spell right about now. With just $4,500 from each theater, "December Boys" made more than only five other films this weekend.

How'd We Do?

All this talk of revenge has us wondering: How long before our friend Larry Carroll starts taking out some vigilante justice on movies editor Josh Horowitz? After commanding an early lead in our projection-booth tally, Larry is back to his usual spot in second place, as Josh's guess of "The Brave One" at $15 million was darn near perfect. Our rankings so far:

Prognosticator (Weeks Won)

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor (3)

Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (2)

Celebrity guest (1)

Next Week

Jessica Alba has trouble scoring Dane Cook (as if!), Amanda Bynes takes an unusual interest in a bunch of nerds (yeah, right!), Casey Affleck upstages Brad Pitt (no way!) and Milla Jovovich returns for a third time to fight zombies (ok, we give up) as "Good Luck Chuck," "Sydney White," "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "Resident Evil: Extinction" open next weekend. Also debuting are Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" and "The Jane Austen Book Club" starring Emily Blunt.

Check out everything we've got on "The Brave One.", "3:10 to Yuma." and "Mr. Woodcock."

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