Halloween, which came on a Friday night this year, gave the box office the willies, as the usual Friday-night dating crowd searched out other entertainment. (The last time Halloween fell on a Friday -- in 2003 -- there were no new releases. Only Lionsgate's horror flick Saw 5 escaped the box office massacre, taking in $3.1 million on Friday and $10.1 million for the weekend, to place third. Another horror flick, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, took in $6 million to come in fifth. Overall the box office plunged 36 percent below the comparable weekend a year ago. High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which grossed only $1.7 million on Friday, came racing back on Saturday to earn $8.2 million and finished the weekend with an estimated gross of $15 million, putting it again at the head of the class. In second place was the Weinstein Co.'s Zack and Miri Make a Porno, directed by Kevin Smith, which rose a stunning 124 percent from Friday to Saturday, winding up with $10.7 million. Clint Eastwood's Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie moved into general release on Friday, posting a solid $9.4 million. It grossed $5,085 per theater -- the best per theater results of any of the new films. In fact the competition for second place between Saw, Zack and Miri, and Changeling was so close that any one of them could end up in the place position when final results are announced later today. "I'm calling this a dead heat," Universal distribution chief Nikki Rocco told Daily Variety.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year, $15 million; 2. Zack and Miri Make a Porno, $10.7 million; 3. Saw V, $10.1 million; 4. Changeling, $9.4 million; 5. The Haunting of Molly Harvey, $6 million; 6. Beverly Hills Chihuahua, $4.7 million; 7. The Secret Life of Bees, $4 million; 8. Max Payne, $3.7 million; 9. Eagle Eye, $3.4 million; 10. Pride and Glory, $3.3 million.