All the hand-wringing over whether or not Where the Wild Things Are is "for children," or "kid-tested, mother-approved," or whatever, turned out to be mostly academic: the kids didn't go. And the movie cleaned up anyway. According to figures cited by this David Germain piece in the AP, parents with kids made up only 27% of the $32.5 million Wild Things earned this weekend. The prevalence of adults (who I gather grew up on the book, unlike the current generation of tykes) probably bodes well, or at least better, for the box office staying power of the divisive, challenging film.

Gerard Butler's Law Abiding Citizen opened to $21.3 million in second place -- the highest ever opening gross for young distributor Overture. That may have been at the expense of Screen Gems' The Stepfather, the unscreened, bloodless PG-13 horror remake that debuted in fifth place with $12.3 million. That's still not bad given the total lack of expensive name-brand talent involved.

Paranormal Activity continued its slow roll-out charge, adding 600 screens (760 total) and adding $20 million to its gross. (That's around $26,000 per screen.) How much the idiotic "we-won't-open-in-your-city-unless-you-go-online-and-DEMAND-it" shtick had to do with this is debatable. (Would the movie have made even more had Paramount just held the film back and then put it into wide release this weekend?) But the "breakout hit" label is difficult to resist at this point. Good job everybody.

Down at number 21, the omnibus New York, I Love You goes on the probably-should-have-kept-it-in-the-arthouses category. Its predecessor-of-sorts, Paris Je T'aime, expanded to around 200 screens rather than starting there, and did considerably better than New York will, foreign language handicap and all.

The full top 10 after the jump.
1 - Where the Wild Things Are (Warner Bros.) - $32.47 ($8,693) - $32.47
2 - Law Abiding Citizen (Overture) - $21.25 ($7,353) - $21.25
3 - Paranormal Activity (Paramount) - $20.16 ($26,530) - $33.71
4 - Couples Retreat (Universal) - $17.95 ($5,965) - $63.34
5 - The Stepfather (Screen Gems) - $12.30 ($4,499) - $12.30
6 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Sony) - $8.10 ($2,667) - $108.28
7 - Zombieland (Sony) - $7.80 ($2,460) - $60.82
8 - Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (Disney) - $3.01 ($2,022) - $28.59
9 - Surrogates (Touchstone) - $1.92 ($826) - $36.33
10 - The Invention of Lying (Warner Bros.) - $1.91 ($1,173) - $15.50

Next week: An attempt to start a new tween fantasy franchise in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, high-spirited kiddie sci-fi in Astro Boy, lots of dead-horse-beating in Saw VI (though I do dig that tagline), and what looks like Oscar season's first major fizzle in Amelia.