Tom Cruise as a villain may not be as strong a box office draw as Tom Cruise as a hero, but he's still potent enough for a No. 1 opening.
Cruise's latest thriller, ''Collateral,'' premiered with $24.4 million over its first three days, according to studio estimates. The film, directed by Michael Mann and costarring Jamie Foxx, was buoyed by strong reviews, but apparently hurt by its R rating and Cruise's turn as a dastardly hitman. Still, ''Collateral'' performed better than ''Road to Perdition,'' which starred Tom Hanks as a villain and mustered $22.1 million in the summer of 2002.
Last week's top film, ''The Village,'' plummeted a shocking 67 percent from its $50.7 million debut to only $16.6 million in its second weekend. Among movies that opened with more than $20 million, that's the second-biggest drop of all time, behind only ''The Hulk,'' which fell off by 70 percent. Bad reviews and word-of-mouth are obviously to blame in this case as well.
''The Bourne Supremacy'' and ''The Manchurian Candidate'' each slipped one spot, with $14.1 million and $10.8 million, respectively, while Brittany Murphy's romance ''Little Black Book'' flopped with just $7 million, essentially ruining her chances to join Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner as strong romantic-lead prospects for the future.
And down in 16th place was the ultra-frightening indie ''Open Water,'' which managed to gross more than $1 million despite playing in only 47 theaters -- that's a per-theater average of over $22,000. Looks like people didn't mind paying to be scared witless.