There's life in the old B-movie yet. Universal's The Purge, produced on a tiny budget of $3 million, wound up at the top of the box office this weekend with an estimated $36.3 million. That's about twice what forecasters, who have been having a lousy track record of late, had predicted. The big victory for the horror flick comes despite reviews that were arguably more frightful than anything in the horror flick itself; a CinemaScore Grade of C; and a release limited to 2,586 theaters. That relatively small number of venues gave the movie an average per-theater gross of about $14,350. By contrast, the No. 2 film, Fast and Furious 6, brought in around $19.7 million on 3,771 screens for an average of $5,300 each, putting it in a virtual photo-finish with Now You See Me, which has been getting terrific word-of-mouth and which wound up with an estimated $19.5 million, down just 34 percent from its opening last week. The estimates were so close that by the time final figures are released on Monday the two runners-up could exchange positions. The only other film to open wide, the Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn comedy The Internship, which some forecasters had predicted would flop with less than $15 million, instead finished with a respectable $17.8 million. Rounding out the top five was Fox's animated Epic, with $12.1 million. Meanwhile, last week's dud, After Earth, plunged nearly 60 percent in its second week to $11.2 million, bringing its two-week gross to $46.6 million and landing it in seventh place. If had cost $130 million to make. It came in just behind Star Trek Into Darkness, which trekked past the $200-million mark domestically.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. The Purge, $36.38 million; 2. Fast & Furious 6, $19.76 million; 3. Now You See Me, $19.50 million; 4. The Internship, $18.10 million; 5. Epic, $12.10 million; 6. Star Trek Into Darkness, $11.70 million; 7. After Earth, $11.20 million; 8. The Hangover Part III, $7.38 million; 9. Iron Man 3, $5.79 million; 10. The Great Gatsby, $4.23 million.