UPDATE 1-'Prisoners' snatches weekly U.S., Canada box office title

Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:07pm EDT
 
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By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Sept 22 (Reuters) - "Prisoners," a dark thriller starring Hugh Jackman as a father on a desperate search for his missing daughter, locked up the weekend box office title in the United States and Canada, grabbing $21.4 million in ticket sales during its first three days in theaters.

Last weekend's leader, the low-budget horror flick "Insidious: Chapter 2," dropped to second place with $14.5 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The dance movie "Battle of the Year" made its debut in the No. 5 slot with $5 million, topped by both mob comedy "The Family" with $7 million and Spanish language hit "Instructions Not Included" with $5.7 million.

Box office watchers projected "Prisoners" would start with a $20 million weekend. The movie earned strong reviews from critics and early Oscar buzz after a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival this month. As of Saturday, 79 percent of critics recommended "Prisoners," according to reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

"It's a very gratifying result," said Broderick Johnson, co-founder and co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment and a producer of the film, noting that the thriller was "not an easy, straight-forward film" and was more akin to "a non-conventional indie (independent film)."

Johnson said "Prisoners" was "a bit of a water cooler film, with people discussing its twists and turns. It generates conversations, which should generate even more interest in it."

The movie is the story of the search for two girls who are kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day. One of their fathers, a Pennsylvania survivalist played by Jackman, grows frustrated with the police investigation and employs his own methods to find out what happened.   Continued...