Image from HSM3
U.S. audiences sought solace from political controversies through escapist fare at the nation’s movie theaters over the weekend, with Disney’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year leading the pack again.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year continued its strong performance in its second weekend of release, garnering another $15 million to push its ten-day total to a very healthy $61.8 million.

Escapism has driven box office numbers higher in the past couple of weeks, although the past weekend was hurt by low numbers on Friday, as Halloween reduced moviegoing, and represented a 38 percent dropoff from the same weekend of the previous year, which featured two big film openings (American Gangster and Bee Movie). This time around, the comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno finished second with a take of $10.7 million in its initial weekend. The moral-dilemma horror film Saw 5 continued its strong performance while falling to third, with a solid $10.1 million.

A more serious and indeed somber film, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, finished fourth, and a newly released small-budget horror film with religious implications, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, came in a decent fifth.

Guy Ritchie’s energetic crime film Rock ‘n’ Rolla fared very poorly, bringing in just $1.8 million in its first weekend of wide release, finishing well out of the top 10.

Overseas, the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, took in an impressive $38.6 million in its first weekend in Britain, France, and Sweden. Its opening day total of $8 million in the UK set a new record by $1.5 million over previous champion Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Interestingly, the new Bond film features an eco-terrorist as its main villain. More on that when we review the film here on TAC.