The Associated Press
Movie-goers hold no grudges against Sarah Michelle Gellar, but they apparently have a beef with Ben Affleck.
Gellar's fright flick The Grudge got a jump on Halloween with a $40 million opening weekend to debut at No. 1, while Affleck delivered a holiday turkey with Surviving Christmas, his critically drubbed comedy that came in No. 7 with just $4.5 million. The Grudge averaged a healthy $12,327 per cinema.
Shark Tale, the top movie for three straight weekends, slipped to second place with $14.3 million, lifting its total to $136.9 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Grudge, a remake of a Japanese horror hit, stars Gellar as an American student in Tokyo terrorized by a raging spirit lingering in a house with a violent history.
The movie marks the English-language debut for director Takashi Shimizu, who also made the Japanese original. The Grudge was produced by the horror outfit created by Spider-Man filmmaker Sam Raimi, who got his start with the cult fright flick The Evil Dead.
Surviving Christmas did barely better than Affleck's notorious 2003 bomb Gigli, which had a $3.8 million opening weekend. That film paired Affleck with then-fiancee Jennifer Lopez.
Surviving Christmas might have been hurt by its release date, unusually early for a yuletide movie.
After three weeks in limited release, critical favorite I Huckabees expanded nationwide and jumped into the No. 10 spot with $3 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Grudge," $40 million.
2. "Shark Tale," $14.3 million.
3. "Shall We Dance?", $8.6 million.
4. "Friday Night Lights," $7 million.
5. "Team America: World Police," $6.6 million.
6. "Ladder 49," $5.4 million.
7. "Surviving Christmas," $4.5 million.
8. "Taxi," $4.25 million.
9. "The Forgotten," $3.4 million.
10. "I Huckabees," $3 million.
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