Three films cluster at top of North American movie box office

Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:38pm EDT
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By Ronald Grover and Andrea Burzynski

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police drama "End of Watch" and horror thriller "House at the End of the Street" tied for the top spot at the North American box office this weekend, with Clint Eastwood's "Trouble With the Curve" close behind.

Each of the top films brought in $13 million respectively at U.S. and Canadian box offices.

The gritty "End of Watch," written and directed by the writer of 2001 crime drama "Training Day," David Ayer, brought in $13 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices.

The opening by "End of Watch" was the largest for independent film distribution company Open Road, a 2-year-old joint venture between theater chains AMC and Regal. Its two other films this year, "Hit and Run" and "Silent House," opened with less than $7 million apiece.

Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg said "End of Watch" was successful because it appealed to a wide swath of moviegoers.

Referring to "End of Watch" as a "smart action movie," Ortenberg added that it is a prototype for the type of films Open Road hopes to make. Its next film, action ensemble "Breacher," is another David Ayer project.

"House at the End of the Street," which features Jennifer Lawrence in her first role since this year's blockbuster "The Hunger Games," also brought in $13 million.

The timing of horror thriller's release capitalized on Lawrence's "Hunger Games" fame, said Relativity president of distribution Kyle Davies. The film primarily targeted young females and did a large share of marketing through mobile-phone-based applications.   Continued...

Actress Jennie Garth arrives as a guest at the premiere of the new film "End of Watch" in Los Angeles September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser