Moviegoers Head to Amityville

The latest in a long streak of hot horror entries, MGM’s remake of The Amityville Horror scared up an estimated $23 million to claim the top spot at the box office over the weekend. As the frame’s only major wide release, chiller easily outpaced holdovers Sahara, Fever Pitch and Sin City.

Directed by relative newcomer Andrew Douglas, the 2005 adaptation of Jay Anson’s novel, The Amityville Horror, (purportedly based on actual events), stars Ryan Reynolds (Blade: Trinity) and Melissa George (TV’s Alias) as a couple who move their family into a house haunted by the memory of a grizzly mass murder. Vfx studio Asylum contributed to the film’s thrills and chills under visual effects supervisor Sean Andrew Faden, who last served as CG supervisor on 20th Century Fox’s The Day After Tomorrow.

Dropping to No. 2 this week is Paramount’s Sahara, which is directed by Breck Eisner, son of outgoing Disney CEO Michael Eisner. The $100 million action adventure romp earned another $13 million, bringing its cume to just over $36 million in its second week. So far, the Indiana Jones-styled treasure hunt pic has failed to achieve the phenomenal success enjoyed by last year’s Jerry Bruckheimer-produced National Treasure.

Fox’s Farelly Brothers romantic comedy, Fever Pitch, slides into third with an estimated $8.8 million in its second weekend, followed by Dimension’s CG-heavy neo-noir actioner, Sin City. Director Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novels took in around $6.6 million, bringing its three-week take to an estimated $61 million. Meanwhile, Sony’s Ashton Kutcher/Bernie Mac comedy, Guess Who, rounds out the top five with $4.9 million.