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Box Office Update for 1/6-1/8: Hostel

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Torture sells. The first full weekend of 2006 is ruled by the torturous gore-fest that is Hostel. It is director Eli Roth’s follow up to 2004’s Evil Dead homage, Cabin Fever. His first film benefited from positive quotes from Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, and his second outing features Quentin Tarantino as an executive producer. It is also rumored that Tarantino helped to clean up Roth’s script.

Hostel is the tale of a couple of Americans backpacking through Europe who become the victims of a rather gruesome place where rich clients come and pay to live out their gory fantasies of torturing and killing people. A wonderful tale, to be sure, told as a mixture of buddy sex comedy and gross-out blood-fest. Not so much a horror film as a thriller with a penchant for red, or Saw with a better concept. It did well its opening week, but these types of films generally lose their audience rather quickly, so we shall see what it does next weekend.

The next 3 slots are, in order, the top 3 from last week. Narnia continues to show strong legs as it nears the $250 million barrier. On the other hand, King Kong is proving that it will steadily increase its tally despite not being the huge blockbuster it was expected to be. It is closing in on the $200 million mark, and will most likely make it to the $250 million level.

Two films from 2005 made significant increases in their theater count this weekend, and their final numbers show the improvement. The first is the number 6 movie, Munich, which is another great movie from Steven Spielberg, telling the tale of a Mossad team tracking down those responsible for the assassination of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. The other is Brokeback Mountain, which had a good weekend despite being banned at one Utah cineplex.

There were two more new releases for the 2006 calendar year besides Hostel, neither of which cracked the top ten. One was Grandma’s Boy from Adam Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison, which landed at number 13. The other appears to be another trash heap from director Uwe Boll, following up House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark with another video game property, the 19th place finisher BloodRayne. It seems that Boll’s investors were taking advantage of a tax loophole which allowed them to write off failed film ventures, and Bol seems more than willing to help, not unlike the plot of another current film, The Producers.

This Week

Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Hostel $19,556,099 $19,556,099 1
2 1 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe $15,643,135 $247,777,824 5
3 2 King Kong $12,622,285 $192,678,805 4
4 3 Fun with Dick and Jane $11,918,995 $81,077,547 3
5 4 Cheaper by the Dozen 2 $8,432,616 $66,553,553 3
6 10 Munich $7,566,075 $25,350,740 3
7 7 Memoirs of a Geisha $6,111,193 $39,861,859 5
8 14 Brokeback Mountain $5,726,662 $22,436,190 5
9 5 Rumor Has It $5,702,435 $35,202,061 3
10 6 The Family Stone $4,607,787 $53,175,323 4

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