News

'The Departed' opens like gangbusters: $27 million

David Hinckley [New York Daily News]

"The Departed" spent the weekend bringing back moviegoers.

After a September that saw Hollywood clean the rejects off its shelves and put them into theaters, film fans happily forked over $27 million to see Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon scorch the screen in what critics called a grade-A crime drama.

Directed by Martin Scorsese and set in Boston, "The Departed" brings Nicholson back to his days as an unlovable bad guy. Critics hailed the performances of all three major characters.

"The Departed" led the box office to a modest rebound after several slow weeks. The top 12 films this weekend earned $102.1 million, up from $88.2 million for the same weekend last year.

Coming in second with a $19.2 million take was the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning."

The cartoonish "Chainsaw Massacre" was shredded by critics, but its cult audience came out anyway. It has already earned more than its $16 million production cost.

The weekend's third new flick, the lowbrow comedy "Employee of the Month," with Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook, finished fourth with $11.8 million.

Third place went to "Open Season," the animated critter film that was tops last weekend.

Next weekend's new arrivals include "The Marine," an action drama produced by pro wrestling honcho Vince McMahon; "Man of the Year," a Barry Levinson comedy starring Robin Williams, and, in honor of Friday the 13th, the horror flick "The Grudge 2," with Amber Tamblyn and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

___

© 2006, New York Daily News.

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