Mel Gibson’s latest epic “Apocalypto” was tops at the domestic B.O. over the latest frame, taking in $14.2 million off 2,465 engagements for a per screen average of $5,747.
At No. 2 was Sony’s “The Holiday” from romantic comedy maestro Nancy Meyers, taking in $13.5 million from 2,610 playdates for a per screen average of $5,172.
Pic played to 65% female auds.
In other new openers, Warner Bros.’ political adventure “Blood Diamond” bowed in 1,910 engagements for a take of $8.5 million.
After his drunken anti-Semitic outburst back in July, things did not look good for Apocalypto (a foreign language epic about the decline of the Maya civilization). However, positive reviews, the extreme violence in it and the controversy over his last film (The Passion of the Christ) clearly created a buzz around the film.
After seeing it earlier this week I can report that parts of Apocalypto are exciting and riveting. After a slow beginning it turns into an pulsating chase movie set amidst the backdrop of a violent society.
It is also a highly unusual mainstream release. Not only are parts of it extremely violent, but it is about such an uncommercial subject that Gibson essentially paid for the film himself.
Whilst it may not be quite as accomplished as its early admirers might have you believe, there is something heartening to see it beat and a soggy – and highly commercial – mess like The Holiday.
Apocalypto opens in the UK on Friday 5th January