“Hell” has the cutting edge

The box office again defied analysts’ predictions as the Jack the Ripper movie From Hell edged out (only the pun in the headline was intended) Riding in Cars With Boys to nab bragging rights as the top ticket seller.
The Last Castle, analysts’ favorite to win, placed fifth.

None of the films performed outstandingly.

From Hell, which stars Johnny Depp, took in an estimated $11.3 million. Riding in Cars With Boys, which stars Drew Barrymore, took in about $10.8 million. The Last Castle was a clear disappointment with just $7.1 million. Training Day, which had held the top spot during the previous two weekends, slipped to third place with $9.5 million, while Bandits, which opened in second place last week, dropped to fourth with about $8.4 million.

Still, the performance of From Hell was particularly striking given the judgment by numerous critics and analysts that the country was in no mood for fictional violence and blood after last month’s real-life variety. “People know the difference between fantasy and reality,” Exhibitor Relations chief Paul Dergarabedian told Bloomberg News. “They just want to be entertained.”

Ticket sales for the top 12 films totaled $74.5 million, up 3.7 percent from last year — all of the rise attributable to higher ticket prices.