Sarah Michelle Gellar's turn in the Japanese horror remake rakes in $40 million

By Todd Peterson
Updated October 25, 2004 09:05 AM

Moviegoers found a couple of films they could take personally over the weekend. Fans flocked to scream queen Sarah Michelle Gellar’s The Grudge, while they gave a big lump of coal to the early holiday entry, Surviving Christmas, with Ben Affleck and James Gandolfini.

The Grudge, a Japanese horror film remake, hit the top spot in its opening weekend, taking in $40 million and knocking out Shark Tale after three weeks in the top spot, the Associated Press reports.

Takashi Shimizu, who directed the original Grudge, also helmed the new version, which is his English-language debut. The film stars Gellar as an American student in Tokyo who is subjected to the violent rages of a malevolent spirit inhabiting a house she visits.

The Grudge, however, wasn’t the only film that frightened audiences. Ben Affleck continued his string of tough luck as Christmas opened in seventh place with $4.5 million. Critics assailed the film, though the film had a better debut than the 2003 Bennifer collaboration Gigli.

Even Affleck’s charm couldn’t convince film fans that Christmas comes before Halloween. “It is a little early, but people would accept Christmas in October if it had been a really good movie,” said Paul Dergarabedian of Exhibitor Relation, which tracks box-office receipts.

The weekend’s top 10 films, according to studio estimates, are as follows:

1. The Grudge, $40 million
2. Shark Tale, $14.3 million
3. Shall We Dance? $8.6 million
4. Friday Night Lights, $7 million
5. Team America: World Police, $6.6 million
6. Ladder 49, $5.4 million
7. Surviving Christmas, $4.5 million
8. Taxi, $4.25 million
9. The Forgotten, $3.4 million
10. I (Heart) Huckabees, $3 million