’30 Days Of Night’ Takes Weekend Box Office, Banishes ‘Gone Baby Gone,’ ‘Rendition’

Tyler Perry's 'Why Did I Get Married?,' 'The Game Plan' maintain dominance over downbeat newcomers.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “30 Days of Night” ($16 million)
#2 “Why Did I Get Married?” ($12.1 million)
#3 “The Game Plan” ($8.1 million)
#4 “Michael Clayton” ($7.1 million)
#5 “Gone Baby Gone” ($6 million)

Break out some garlic and get your crosses ready, Hollywood. This past weekend must have seemed like one long night for some of your biggest A-listers, as the vampire flick “30 Days of Night” took a huge bite out of the box office, earning $16 million to come in at #1. Creatures of darkness, vampires are said to wilt in the sun, but it was actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Halle Berry and Ben Affleck who dissolved in the bright glare of competition, their projects scoring disappointing or downright disastrous openings.

Of all the new releases, Affleck’s directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone,” came closest to breaking through. While $6 million would be no grand heist for some other “Ocean’s” crew members, it’s a good weekend for Affleck the Younger’s first real leading performance . The surprisingly strong “Gone Baby Gone,” which centers on the search for a missing child, was good enough for only fifth place.

That was still four spots (and roughly $1.8 million) better than Gavin Hood’s “Rendition,” a flick about the practice of sending suspected terrorists overseas in order to torture them. Starring Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep, “Rendition” came in ninth place with $4.2 million. Following the lackluster performances of “In the Valley of Elah” and “The Kingdom,” it seems like Hollywood might want to ease up on the depressing war movies for a while.

Benicio Del Toro and Halle Berry, meanwhile, brought up the rear (as in 15th place), as “Things We Lost in the Fire” was good for only $1.6 million. Del Toro plays a heroin addict trying to get his life back in order after the death of his best friend.

Kidnapping, torture and heroin addiction — no wonder audiences chose good times. Aside from “30 Days of Night,” the top 10 was littered with lighter fare, including last week’s winner, “Why Did I Get Married?,” which fell 43 percent to come in second with $12.1 million. Coming in third place in its fourth week, the Rock’s “The Game Plan” continued its early fall dominance, scoring $8.1 million. The family flick brought its cumulative gross up to nearly $70 million.

Among other new releases, “The Comebacks,” the sports-movie spoof starring Carl Weathers, made $5.8 million for a sixth-place finish, while the return of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D” came in eighth place with $5.1 million. The latter film played in only 564 theaters.

Next Week

Halloween begins early next week with the release of “Saw IV” — no trick-or-treaters allowed! Meanwhile, Steve Carell shows the world his talent for dramatics with “Dan in Real Life,” the story of how everyone hates Dane Cook, even his onscreen brother.

Check out everything we’ve got on “30 Days of Night,” “Gone Baby Gone” and “Rendition.”

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