Why These Guys Are Smiling

Both staples of hunky movies past, Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal went darker for their most recent film. Kidnapping, angry veins showing, etc. Apparently dark works for them: Prisoners won the box office this weekend, raking in approximately $21.4 million by Sunday.

Prisoners showcases Jackman as a worried father in search of his kidnapped daughter and Gyllenhaal as a police officer trying to prevent Jackman's character from going all Liam Neeson/Batman on the perps. The thriller was projected to make $20 million its first weekend, and so tidily beat expectations.

While Jackman is known to audiences both as a romantic leading man and as a take-no-prisoners action hero, typically his more action-y films have drawn in the biggest box office haul. The X-Men films are still among his most financially successful, along with 2012's Les Miserables — which is certainly not action, but is also much more depressing than many of his more romantic dramatic roles — and The Wolverine.

It's a pretty dull September at the box office overall, so the draw of two very famous faces mixed with the film's good critical vibe led to an overall good weekend for Prisoners. It also happened to tidily destroy the Chris Brown-featuring dance movie Battle of the Year, which earned only $5 million.