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"The Prestige" Casts a Spell Over the Box Office

Christian BaleIt's Monday and the weekend box office numbers are in. In a surprising turn, "The Prestige," trumped "The Departed" and easily beat out the industry-favored "Flags of Our Fathers" to claim the weekend title, according to Box Office Mojo.

"The Prestige," the Christopher Nolan ("Batman Begins," "Memento") film featuring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as dueling magicians, drew an estimated $14.8 million from 2,500 screens at 2,281 venues.

In second place, "The Departed" Martin Scorsese's film starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon held strong with $13.7 million.

The big question this weekend, though, was which hefty period piece would come out on top.

Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers" opened well below estimates, coming in third with an estimated $10.2 million from 2,500 screens at 1,876 theaters.

Current speculation for the surprising numbers is on the advertising. All of the ads for "The Prestige" are vague, promising only dark mystery and fierce competition between the film's heavy-hitting leads. The ads for "Flag" pull on sentiment and patriotism or pitch a generic action movie about Iwo Jima.

Based on the previews alone, I know I'd prefer to see a dark, vague and possibly spooky film with Jackman and Bale (especially with Nolan at the helm) than another gritty, sad yet heartwarming tale about war. No worries for Eastwood, though. I'm sure what the box office doesn't provide, the Academy will at Oscar time. -- Shannon Nolley

Posted by Shannon on October 23, 2006 8:34 AM
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I've seen both "Flags of our Fathers" and "The Prestige". They were both good movies, but I'd have to say I enjoyed "The Prestige more.

Clint Eastwood did a fantastic job directing "Flags of our Fathers" and some of the war sequences were just astonishing. At times though, the movie seemed to drag on. However, with "The Prestige", there was never a dull moment. Nolan kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way though and by the end of the movie I was so engaged in it, I wanted to watch it again.

I think the reason "Flags of our Fathers" didn't do as well at the box office was because it was a limited release. I believe Paramount had problems negotiating with certain theaters. In other words, some of the theaters that were expected to recieve a print in fact, didn't recieve one at all.

-- Posted by: Jason at October 26, 2006 2:09 AM

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