Faced with a choice between several new film flavors, audiences once again embraced a gritty, violent thriller over more heartwarming fare this weekend. The Jack the Ripper yarn From Hell, starring Johnny Depp as an opium-addicted Scotland Yard inspector on the killer's trail, bested new movies starring Drew Barrymore as a teen mother, and Robert Redford as a literally flag-waving military legend.
From Hell, directed by brothers Allen and Albert Hughes, opened on 2,305 screens and racked up an estimated $11.3 million. Close behind was Barrymore in the Penny Marshall-directed Riding in Cars With Boys, which took in $10.8 million from 2,770 screens. Debuting in a disappointing fifth place was The Last Castle, which stars Redford as an imprisoned three-star general who finds himself in a power struggle with the military prison's cruel commander (The Sopranos' James Gandolfini). Despite boasting a very timely patriotic message, the film, which was directed by The Contender's Rod Lurie, managed only $7.1 million from 2,262 screens.
Denzel Washington's acclaimed turn as a rogue cop in Training Day kept that film in the No. 1 position for two weeks running; this week, its box office fell off a mere 29 percent, placing third with $9.5 million. That's even more impressive when you consider that the film held its own despite losing 109 screens. After three weeks, the crime drama has earned $54.5 million.
In fourth place was last week's No. 2 film, the Bruce Willis-Billy Bob Thornton comedy Bandits, which pulled in $8.4 million.
The Top 10 films for Oct. 19-21 1. From Hell, $11.3 million 2. Riding in Cars With Boys, $10.8 million 3. Training Day, $9.5 million 4. Bandits, $8.4 million 5. The Last Castle, $7.1 million 6. Serendipity, $5.8 million 7. Corky Romano, $5.3 million 8. Don't Say a Word, $4.4 million 9. Zoolander, $3.3 million 10. Iron Monkey, $3.2 million
Final figures will be released Monday.