NEW YORK – The more adult-oriented fall moviegoing season got off to a strong start over the weekend, as the Hugh Jackman kidnapping drama “Prisoners” opened with a box office-leading $21.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Warner Bros. thriller, which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, is among the first fall films with Oscar aspirations to open in theaters. It was a strong debut for a serious, R-rated drama that cost about $46 million to make.

Following the robust business for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (now up to $106.5 million in six weeks for the Weinstein Co.), the large audiences turning out for adult fare bodes well for Hollywood’s coming awards season.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the nearly 2 1/2 hour-long “Prisoners” is about the working-class families of two young girls who are abducted. In a story heavy with allegory, Jackman plays a father willing to cross moral lines for justice. Gyllenhaal stars as the small-town police detective trying to navigate the case.

Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., said the audience was 74 percent under the age of 50, with only 8 percent under 18. The film, he noted, was launched “very similarly” to Warner Bros.’s October-released “Argo,” which, like “Prisoners,” premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and then the Toronto International Film Festival.

In limited release, two other adult-oriented films opened well.

Rihanna’s tweets of snuggle with primate lead to arrests

BANGKOK – Pop star Rihanna spent a weekend at the beach in Thailand, leaving behind a trail of racy tweets and incriminating Instagram photographs that led police to arrest two people for allegedly peddling protected primates. On a break from her Diamonds World Tour, Rihanna stopped in Thailand to visit the island of Phuket, where she befriended some local wildlife. She posted a link on Twitter to an Instagram photo that showed her snuggling up to a furry primate called the slow loris, and tweeted Friday: “Look who was talkin dirty to me!”

The slow loris, a squirrel-like animal with big eyes, is listed as a protected species.

“Phuket authorities were alerted to the picture (of Rihanna), and last night police arrested the two individuals who brought out the loris as a photo opportunity for tourists,” a Phuket district chief, Weera Kerdsirimongkon, said.