Cast member Scout Taylor-Compton (2nd L) poses with co-star Bill Moseley at the premiere of the movie "Halloween II" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California August 24, 2009.
In the battle of horror franchises, "The Final Destination" scared off "Halloween II" to claim top honors at the weekend box office in North America, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.
"The Final Destination," boosted by higher ticket prices for its 3-D screenings, sold $28.3 million worth of tickets during its first three days, setting a record for the series.
The latest "Halloween" outing of masked serial killer Michael Myers opened at No. 3 with $17.4 million, compared to the $26 million bow of the previous entry.
In between was last weekend's champion, "Inglourious Basterds," with $20 million. After 10 days, Quentin Tarantino's violent World War Two movie has earned $73.7 million. Its early international total stands at $59.1 million after a $19.4 million weekend from 31 territories.
With yet another horror film, "District 9," claiming the No. 4 spot with $10.7 million in its third weekend, movie theaters were no place for the squeamish or intellectually curious.
Or for nostalgic hippies: Taiwanese director Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock," a comedy set against the 1969 music festival, opened at No. 9 with just $3.7 million for the weekend.
In the dying days of summer, overall ticket sales rose for the fourth consecutive weekend and appeared to set a new record for Hollywood's most lucrative season. Sales for the 18 weeks since the first weekend in May were $4.26 billion, up 1.5 percent from last year's record, according to preliminary estimates by tracking firm Hollywood.com Box Office. The rise was powered by higher ticket prices, since attendance was off by 2.2 percent.