Fri, Nov 05, 2004 - Page 17 News List

`The Grudge' edges out battery of new releases for box office glory


Sarah Michelle Gellar is shown in a scene from The Grudge.


Horror flick The Grudge scared the life out of the competition at the North American box office last weekend, raking in US$21.8 million, final figures showed earlier this week.

The spooker, directed by Japan's Takashi Shimizu and starring Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, took top spot for the second straight week, according to box office trackers Exhibitor Relations Co Inc.

The weekend haul, which put the fright flick ahead of a battery of new releases, brings the film's total to US$70.6 million.

In second place was the much-anticipated bio-pic Ray, the life story of the late soul "genius" Ray Charles, which took US$20 million in its opening weekend.

The film, starring Jamie Foxx as the blind musician who died in June at the age of 73, is already the subject of intense Oscars speculation in Hollywood, while Foxx has won widespread praise for his performance.

Thriller Saw opened in third position with a total of US$18.2 million, followed by animated underwater gangster flick Shark Tale, which took US$7.5 million.

In fifth place was Shall We Dance? a romantic comedy starring Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon -- the American re-make of a Japanese movie of the same name -- was fifth with US$6.2 million.

Billy Bob Thornton's high school football drama Friday Night Lights was sixth with US$4 million, followed by firefighting drama Ladder 49, starring John Travolta, with US$3.2 million.

Team America: World Police, an irreverent puppet-driven political satire from the makers of the animated television series South Park, was eighth with US$3 million.

Surviving Christmas, starring Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate and James Gandolfini, came in ninth place with US$2.4 million.

Rounding off the weekly top 10 was Queen Latifah's new comedy Taxi with US$2.1 million in ticket receipts.

The 12 top-grossing films took a combined total of US$92.3 million over the Halloween weekend, up 2.32 percent over the US$90.2 million grossed by the top 12 pictures during the same period last year.

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