Sunday Article: Safe House rode stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds to narrowly move into the top spot at the North American box office this weekend after enjoying a second place finish in its debut a week ago. Fellow holdover The Vow with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams came in just behind Safe House, and both holdovers easily held off the debuts of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, This Means War and The Secret World of Arrietty. Coming off a record-breaking weekend, the top ten for this holiday weekend was down roughly 18% from last weekend but up a healthy 10% from last year at this time.
Following its huge $40.1 million debut, Safe House dropped only 40% in its second go around in adding an estimated $24 million to its total, which now stands at a great $78.2 million. The modest drop for the Universal thriller is the result of the continued effective ad campaign and more importantly, viewer word-of-mouth. If the film manages to sustain continued drops of 40% or less, Safe House could find its way to $115-120 million.
Despite the fact that Valentine's Day has come and gone, Sony's romantic drama The Vow still appealed to the Date Night crowd. Off 43% from its $41.2 million opener, McAdams and Tatum romanced a lovely $23.6 million in estimated sales to move its ten-day total to a great $85. Like Safe House, The Vow should make its way to the $125-130 million range by the end of its run.
In third place for the weekend was the first of the three wide openers, Sony's Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The critically-panned sequel to the equally despised 2007 original (both starring Nicholas Cage in the title role) opened on the same weekend as the original did five years ago, but only managed half of that film's opening sales of $45 million. What made that figure all the more unflattering was the fact that the new movie had the added benefit of inflated 3D ticket prices.
Debuting on 3,171 screens, Spirit of Vengeance rode to a mild $22 million in estimated sales. Since sequels and comic book-based films in general usually have their fan base show up in the first three days, it is looking like this Rider doesn't stand a Ghost of a chance in matching the original's $115.8 million final haul or perhaps even half of that.
After a decent debut last weekend, Warner/New Line's 3D family adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island displayed the best hold of any of the movies in the top ten. Off a slight 26%, the film earned an impressive $20 million in estimated ticket sales to bring its ten-day total to the $53 million mark. If families continue to turn out on the weekends to check out the flick, the movie could make its way to the $90 million mark.
After sneaking in on Valentine's Day, Fox's romantic spy comedy This Means War earned a middling $17.5 million from 3,189 theaters. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, the new film from McG got ripped apart by critics, many stating that they may already have their pick for Worst Film of the Year (A bad movie from McG? Really?). Ticket buyers, while not screaming for blood, didn't seem to show much interest in the film either.
The third opener this weekend was Disney's domestic release of the Studio Gibli animated feature The Secret World of Arrietty, which landed in ninth place and earned an indifferent $6.375 million from 1,522 theaters. While the film's opening wasn't anything to write home about, it was the biggest opening yet for a release from the legendary Japanese animation studio. While the North American release was mild at best, the film's international haul is anything but. To date, the movie has earned a terrific $126 million so far with $110 million coming from Japan alone.
The remainder of the top ten was as follows:
6. Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace 3D (Fox) $7.86 million (-65%. Ouch!) $33.7 million to date
With this new total, Phantom Menace has surpassed the original Star Wars on the all-time domestic grossers list (pre-inflation, of course). The film is only $4 million away from crossing the one billion dollar mark.
7. Chronicle (Fox) $7.5 million (-38%) $50.9 million
8. The Woman In Black (CBS Films) $6.64 million (-34%) $45.2 million
9. The Grey (Open Road Films) $3 million (-40%) $47.9 million
Four new films hope to knock Safe House out of first next weekend: Act of Valor, Gone, Wanderlust, and Good Deeds.
- Shawn Fitzgerald