High School Musical 3 Singing to a $42 million Tune

HSM 3 makes mincemeat of Saw V which still sliced up $31 million
By Keith Williams

HOLLYWOOD,CA (RushPRnews/Hollywood Today) 10/27/08—Zac Efron and his T’ween corn encountered horror porn at the nation’s multiplexes this weekend with the Senior Year Students of High School Musical 3 singing and dancing their way to an estimated $42 million at 3623 gymnasiums, leaving Saw V to slice up a bloody $30.5 million at 3060 abattoirs. Pride & Glory, the weekend’s other major new release, found neither with $6.3 million at 2585 precincts.

Efron, who reportedly just signed a $10 million deal to appear in Pirates of the Caribbean 4 alongside Johnny Depp, is the big draw in the HSM ensemble cast, alongside Vanessa Hudgens.

HSM 3 must be considered a personal triumph for choreographer/director Kenny Ortega whose background in staging Cher shows in Las Vegas and pop promos for video directors in London and LA in the 80’s proved invaluable for this, the first of the Disney franchise to go theatrical.

Making up for the under-performances of his past feature directorial outings (Newsies and Hocus Pocus), it opened far bigger than last summer’s megahit musical Mamma Mia! and Hairspray the year before that and could like them be considered to have major potential for “legs”. Cynics will see this success as further evidence of the End of Civilisation as we know it, but along with Beverly Hills Chihuahua, it provided for gloom-ridden audiences that rare elusive quality once known as “light entertainment”. Irony has to be reserved for the fact that the British riff of this, the highly promoted Britannia High, debuted on the very same weekend in the UK on ITV, directed by Brian Grant who often employed Kenny as his choreographer.

Saw V, the latest, and allegedly last in the hard-core horror series (yeah, right), opened at roughly the same figure as the past two entries, suggesting the appetite for these sadistic nazi-style entertainments has yet to be diluted. Like the Nightmare on Elm Street series before it, however, each new instalment seems to get weaker and broader than its predecessor, by doing so widening its appeal with mainstream audiences, a fact which drives true horror fans to despair but brings pleasure to hand-rubbing executives. Some obsessives claim there is a coherent story-line to be found running through all five, rather than it being merely a catalogue of atrocities. If so, they really need to get out more and put away those blood-stained nail-clippers once and for all.

Pride & Glory, a hold-over from the demise of New Line, didn’t do as well as expected, in fact it died, though for Colin Farrell it’s further evidence of his return to serious acting. Like the excellent In Bruges, his critical credibility is on the up, if not as yet his commercial appeal. The trailer for P & G suggests nothing new in terms of being another corrupt cop thriller, sharing with Body of Lies an overwhelming sense of can’t-be-bothered-let’s-rent-it-instead. Or maybe download.

Pushed into third place from no 1 last week, Max Payne plummeted by 56.9% to grasp $7.6 million, suggesting chances of a new franchise are pretty dim to say the least, Beverly Hills Chihuahua now with a total of $78 million dropped 39.5% to gobble up $6.9 million, The Secret Life of Bees got to be more so by fading 43.6% for $5.9 million, while anticipated sleeper W did just that, it fell asleep, zzzz-ing off by 49% to contribute a paltry $5.3 million to party funds. Eagle Eye at no 8 sagged by only 26.9%, the lowest decline in the charts, leaving Body of Lies and Quarantine to fill up the last two slots in the top ten by taking $4 million and $2.5 million from 40% and 58% drops.

Weekend Estimates – courtesy boxofficemojo.com