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First look: 'Final Destination' arrives at No. 1; 'Basterds' beats 'Halloween'

August 30, 2009 |  8:39 am

FinalDestPreem Warner Bros. won a head-to-head horror battle with the Weinstein Co. at the box office as "The Final Destination" easily beat the competition this weekend, earning a studio-estimated $28.3 million.

"Halloween II," meanwhile, sold $17.4 million worth of tickets.

The "Halloween" opening is in line with estimates based on polling going into the weekend and hardly a disappointment given the movie's cost of about $15 million. "The Final Destination," however, blew bast tracking and did very well given its budget of about $40 million.

Fifty-three percent of theaters played "Final Destination" in 3-D, helping its overall take since 3-D theaters typically charge $2 to $3 more for tickets. That can't explain its entire $10.9-million advantage over "Halloween," however. Tracking had indicated young women were more interested in "Destination," while young guys preferred "Halloween," and it seemed girls came out in bigger numbers and were able to persuade their male friends to join them.

"District 9" declined only 41% on its third weekend, to $10.7 million, while "Julie & Julia," also from Sony Pictures, fell just 16%, to $7.4 million.

The weekend was generally full of good news for the studios. The Weinstein Co's "Inglourious Basterds" declined a relatively modest 47%, indicating it had solid worth of mouth and wouldn't fade fast at the box office. It earned $20 million this weekend.

The only major disappointment was Focus Features' "Taking Woodstock," which opened to $2.7 million. That's a very weak start given the $30-million budget for the nostalgia picture directed by Ang Lee.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Stars Shantel VanSanten and Robert Buckley at the premiere of "The Final Destination." Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images