Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners wins weekend box office competition

The Canadian director's kidnapping drama (pictured) for Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. took in an estimated $21.5 million from 3,260 North American screens from Friday through Sunday.
Prisoners-1

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