Box Office Report

Boo-ming Business

No. 1 ''The Grudge'' scares up $40 million -- Sarah Michelle Gellar's horror remake has a huge opening weekend, finally toppling ''Shark Tale''

Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Grudge | BUFFY'S BACK! Grudge likely appealed to fans of Gellar's cult TV series
BUFFY'S BACK! Grudge likely appealed to fans of Gellar's cult TV series

Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has now proven herself as potent a draw on the big screen, as her horror thriller The Grudge premiered with a fantastic $40 million, according to studio estimates.

That makes The Grudge the third-best October opening ever, and, more interestingly, the third-best debut for a film with a woman in the starring role, behind only Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($47.7 million) and Charlie's Angels ($40.1 million). Gellar has certainly had her share of box office disappointments (Scooby-Doo 2, anyone?), but The Grudge's opening shows that in the right material (i.e. something that appeals to Buffy fans), she's a force to be reckoned with.

After three weeks at No. 1, Shark Tale slipped to second place with $14.3 million, bringing its first-month total to a strong $136.9 million. Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez's Shall We Dance? increased its theater count by 33 percent, allowing it to rise one spot to No. 3 ($8.6 million). Friday Night Lights and Team America: World Police rounded out the top five, with $7 million and $6.6 million, respectively.

Back in seventh place was the Ben Affleck holiday comedy Surviving Christmas, which flopped with an embarrassingly low $4.5 million, despite Affleck's tireless promotion of the film. On a per-theater basis, it performed even worse than Gigli. Looks like movie fans don't like thinking about Christmas when they haven't even hit Halloween.

Originally posted Oct 24, 2004

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