HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The opening of horror-thriller "The Ring" easily won the nation's weekend box office with an estimated $15 million at 1,981 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said Sunday.
The DreamWorks release, starring Naomi Watts and a remake of a Japanese hit film, performed in line with expectations as the studio took advantage of the appetite for fright movies with the approach of Halloween. DreamWorks showed sneak previews last weekend to build awareness of "The Ring," which is centered on a mysterious videotape.
Holdover successes took the next three spots with Disney's fourth weekend of "Sweet Home Alabama" in second with $9.6 million at 3,282 sites to edge Universal's third weekend of "Red Dragon" with $8.8 million at 3,307 locations and IFC's 27th weekend of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" with $7.2 million at 2,014 screen. "Alabama" has topped $98 million while "Dragon" has gone past $77 million and "Wedding" has now grossed $169.3 million overall.
"Wedding," continued to show surprising drawing power as it lost only 15 percent of its audience from the previous weekend. Fox Searchlight's second weekend of "Brown Sugar" came in fifth with $5.31 million at 1,378 theaters to edge Paramount's opening of "Abandon" with a disappointing $5.3 million at 2,341 sites. "Abandon," a thriller starring Katie Holmes, appeared to generate only lukewarm response among its core audience of teens and young adults.
20th Century Fox's second weekend of "The Transporter" finished seventh with $5 million at 2,610 theaters, followed by Artisan's third weekend of "Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie" with $4.1 million at 1,581 sites and DreamWorks' fourth weekend of "The Tuxedo" with $4.08 million at 2,424 screens.
Rounding out the top 10 was Disney's second weekend of "Tuck Everlasting" with $3.7 million at 1,448 sites to beat Warner Bros.' second weekend of "White Oleander" with $3.1 million at 1,510 theaters.
Overall business was lukewarm as is often the case during that fall. The top 10 drew a moderate $68 million, slightly ahead of the same period of 2001 when "From Hell" led with $11 million. For the year to date, business is near $7.1 billion, about 13 percent ahead of the same point last year.
Key releases next weekend include Warner's horror thriller "Ghost Ship," Paramount's stunt comedy "Jackass: The Movie" and Universal's action-comedy "The Truth About Charlie."