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'Evil Dead' rises again with US$26 million stake at the box-office

LOS ANGELES -- Resurrected demons and dinosaurs are helping to put some life back into the weekend box office.

The demonic horror remake “Evil Dead” debuted at No. 1 with US$26 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

In a tight fight for second-place were two holdovers, the animated comedy “The Croods” and the action movie “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” both with an estimated US$21.1 million. Final numbers Monday will sort out which movie comes out ahead.

Steven Spielberg's 3D debut of his dinosaur blockbuster “Jurassic Park” came in fourth with US$18.2 million. That's on top of the US$357.1 million domestic haul for “Jurassic Park” in its initial run in 1993.

Released by Sony's TriStar Pictures, “Evil Dead” added US$4.5 million in 21 overseas markets, giving it a worldwide start of US$30.5 million. Shot on a modest budget of US$17 million, the movie is well on its way to turning a profit.

The remake was produced by the 1983 original's filmmakers, director Sam Raimi and producer Rob Tapert, and its star, Bruce Campbell. The new “Evil Dead” lays the gore on thickly for the story of a group of friends terrorized and possessed by demons during a trip to a cabin in the woods.

“It's one crazy ride, that movie. I have to think Sam Raimi is so proud in remaking this film that it turned out so well,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. “It's such a visceral ride, where you're holding on to your seat or holding on to the person next to you.”

Paramount's “G.I. Joe” sequel, which had been No. 1 the previous weekend, pushed its domestic total to US$86.7 million. The movie also added US$40.2 million overseas for an international haul of US$145.2 million and a worldwide take of US$232 million.

“The Croods,” a DreamWorks Animation release distributed by 20th Century Fox, raised its domestic total to US$125.8 million after three weekends. Overseas, the movie did an additional US$34.1 million to lift its international total to US$206.8 million and its worldwide receipts to US$333 million.

Universal Pictures' “Jurassic Park” reissue opened in a similar range of other recent blockbuster 3D releases such as “Titanic” (US$17.3 million) and “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” (US$22.4 million).

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