Movie fans have made fear their top destination at the weekend box office.
The horror tale "The Final Destination" debuted as the No. 1 movie with $28.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Warner Bros. sequel is the latest installment in the franchise about people stalked by death after a premonition saves them from their destined demise.
"Final Destination" took over the top spot from Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt's World War II saga "Inglourious Basterds," which slipped to second place with $20 million. The Weinstein Co. release raised its total to $73.8 million after 10 days in theaters.
Weinstein also had the No. 3 slot with the horror flick "Halloween II," which opened with $17.4 million. The movie is Rob Zombie's sequel to his update of the slasher franchise about crazed killer Michael Myers.
It's unusual for two horror movies to open over the same weekend. While "Final Destination" and "Halloween II" competed for the same audience, both managed solid receipts.
"They got their $17 million, we got our $28 million. That's a lot of business all around," said Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager for Warner Bros.
The Weinstein Co. plans to release "Halloween 3" in 3-D next summer, said Bob Weinstein, who co-founded the company with brother Harvey. While Zombie will not be back to direct, the next sequel will pick up from his story and give a new twist on slasher Myers, Weinstein said.
"Halloween II" did far less business than Zombie's "Halloween," which opened at No. 1 with $30.6 million two years ago. But Weinstein noted that the sequel took in more than its $15 million production budget over opening weekend.
"It's like hitting a single or a double," Weinstein said. "There are going to be bigger ones like 'Inglourious Basterds,' but for the Weinstein Co., we don't mind having two or three of these a year."
The weekend's other new wide release, Focus Features' music romp "Taking Woodstock," opened a weak No. 9 with $3.7 million. Directed by Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain"), "Taking Woodstock" is a nostalgic look behind the scenes at the mammoth 1969 rock concert.
Though Hollywood's summer season historically does not end until Labor Day, the holiday comes late this year, adding an extra week to the movie schedule and skewing comparisons to past summers.
Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian is using this Monday to mark the end of the season, since this weekend corresponded to Labor Day weekend last year. Dergarabedian estimated that through Monday, Hollywood will have taken in $4.26 billion, 1.5 percent ahead of the revenue record the industry set in summer 2008.
While receipts ran at an all-time high, attendance was off 2.2 percent compared with last summer factoring in this year's higher ticket prices, he said.
Revenues had lagged compared to last year's because of a midsummer skid, but Hollywood finished with an unusually strong lineup in August, typically a quiet time at the box office.
"August gave us the record," Dergarabedian said. "Virtually every summer crosses the finish line with a whimper. This year, we crossed with a bang."