Martin Scorsese may not have any Oscars, but he knows how to handle the box office.
The legendary director’s latest effort, mob saga The Departed, was the weekend’s top movie with a $27 million debut.
“I think the cast was the deciding factor and the playability of the movie,” said Warner distribution chief Dan Fellman.
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson in a blood-soaked epic about moles infiltrating the Boston police and a criminal gang.
Also cashing in on a high-gore factor, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel “The Beginning” pulled in $19.15 million in its first weekend on just a $16 million production budget.
The previous weekend’s top film, animated comedy “Open Season,” fell to third with $16 million.
The weekend’s other new wide release, workplace romp Employee of the Month rode Jessica Simpson, Dane Cook and Dax Shepard’s youthful hijinks to $11.8 million and a fourth place finish.
Overall, the top-12 movies took in $102 million, a 16 per cent hop from the same weekend in 2005.
In limited release, the suburban drama Little Children and raunchy sexual expose Shortbus debuted strongly, despite the latter featuring a cast of virtual unknowns that engage in real sex on film.
“This is what the fall movie season is supposed to be all about, with a tremendous variety of films and genres,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Here’s the rest of the weekend’s top 10, with all figures estimated according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
1. “The Departed,” $27 million.
2. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” $19.15 million.
3. “Open Season,” $16 million.
4. “Employee of the Month,” $11.8 million.
5. “The Guardian,” $9.6 million.
6. “Jackass Number Two,” $6.4 million.
7. “School for Scoundrels,” $3.4 million.
8. “Gridiron Gang,” $2.3 million.
9. “Jet Li’s Fearless,” $2.2 million.
10. “The Illusionist,” $1.8 million.