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In limited release, Auto Focus, on the sordid life and death of Bob Crane, debuted strongly with $140,839 at 11 theaters, averaging $12,804.

RING AROUND THE BOX OFFICE

Horror Film Scares Up $15 Million

Horror flick The Ring scared up $15 million to debut as the weekend's No. 1 movie.

Starring Naomi Watts as a reporter investigating a video whose viewers die horribly a week after watching it, The Ring knocked off Red Dragon, which had been the top film for two straight weekends.

Red Dragon fell to third place with $8.8 million during the weekend, while Sweet Home Alabama remained the No. 2 film with $9.6 million.

The weekend's other new wide releases fared poorly. Katie Holmes' psychological thriller Abandon opened weakly with $5.3 million, finishing in sixth place. Samuel L. Jackson's crime caper Formula 51 bombed with $2.9 million, coming in at No. 12.

The overall box office rose slightly. The top 12 movies took in $74.2 million, up 2% from the same weekend last year.

The Ring, a U.S. remake of a Japanese horror sensation, averaged a healthy $7,572 a theater playing in 1,981 cinemas.

In limited release, Auto Focus, on the sordid life and death of Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane, debuted strongly with $140,839 at 11 theaters, averaging $12,804.

Adam Sandler and Emily Watson's Punch-Drunk Love continued to do big business as it expanded to more theaters. In its second weekend, the oddball romance took in $1.63 million in 78 theaters for a $20,897 average.

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