“K-PAX” to the max

By October standards, the $17.2-million opening for Universal’s K-PAX amounted to an otherworldly performance.

Only two other October openers have ever done better. Together with Warner’s debuting Thirteen Ghosts, which took in $15.2 million, the box office was able to advance 2.1 percent above the tally for the comparable weekend a year ago, winding up with $72.5 million for the top 12 films.

From third-place on down, however, other films on the current slate brought studios little cheer as they dropped an average of 42 percent from the previous week. Two other newcomers, New Line’s Bones and Miramax’s On the Line were disappointments, taking in $3.5 million and 2.3 million respectively. (On the Line, touted as the ‘N Sync film debut, did not even make the top-ten list, opening in 11th place.)

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):

1. K-PAX, Universal, $17,215,275, (New); 2. Thirteen Ghosts, Warner Bros., $15,165,355, (New); 3. From Hell, 20th Century Fox, $6,019,012, 2 Wks. ($20,695,093); 4. Riding in Cars With Boys, Sony, $6,011,394, 2 Wks. ($19,102,783); 5. Training Day, Warner Bros., $5,137,712, 4 Wks. ($65,029,281); 6. Bandits, MGM, $5,048,007, 3 Wks. ($32,131,388); 7. Serendipity, Miramax, $3,811,923, 4 Wks. ($40,035,191); 8. The Last Castle, DreamWorks, $3,626,006, 2 Wks. ($12,951,350); 9. Corky Romano, Disney, $2,997,670, 3 Wks. ($20,246,231); 10. Bones, New Line, $2,823,548, (New).