Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners wins weekend box office competition


If Denis Villeneuve still wonders if he’ll ever direct another Hollywood movie, he got his answer this weekend.

The Canadian director’s Prisoners rode a wave out of Telluride and Toronto to win the weekend box office for producer Alcon Entertainment and distributor Warner Bros. with an estimated North American opening of $21.5 million.

The R-rated Prisoners opened in 3,260 theatres in the U.S. and Canadian markets with lead Hugh Jackman as the big draw.

The $46 million picture was directed by Villeneuve, based on his foreign language Oscar nomination for Incendies, to avoid a studio genre label for Prisoners.

Warner Bros. released the kidnapping drama, which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, on the same Telluride-Toronto festival launchpad that Warner Bros. used last year to release Ben Affleck’s Argo, which pulled in $19.5 million on its first weekend.

Looper, another TIFF title, pulled in $20.8 million on its late-September opening weekend in 2012, and Moneyball also opened with a $19.5 million take on Sept. 23, 2011.

Villeneuve shot Prisoners in the U.S. state of Georgia after directing Enemy, also an English-language movie and another TIFF fest title, in Toronto in summer 2012.

Read more: Double take: Denis Villeneuve on shooting Enemy, Prisoners simultaneously