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Weekend Estimates: Paul Blart Surprises on Another Great Box Office Weekend

January 18th, 2009

2009 is only two weekends old, and has already produced two excellent weekends at the box office. After three movies opened around $20 million last weekend, no less than four new movies will be close, or exceed that goal over the three-day part of the MLK weekend, and one of those has come from nowhere to top $30 million and record the second-biggest opening weekend in January (see chart). That movie is Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a poorly-reviewed comedy starring Kevin James, which opened with $33.8 million Friday-Sunday, according to Sony's estimate, and is set to reach $40 million with Monday's numbers included. Sony puts the success down, at least in part, to James's extensive promotional efforts around the country. Maybe hard work does pay off, even in the movie business.

The other movie to perform well above expectations was biopic Notorious, which earned $21.5 million in just 1,638 theaters, according to Fox. That will give it the best per theater average in the top 10. My Bloody Valentine 3D did excellent business for Lionsgate with an estimated $21.9 million. Paramount's Hotel for Dogs was a slight disappointment with $17.7 million, and half the theater average of Paul Blart.

Among the holdovers, Gran Torino held on exceptionally well with $22.2 million, down just 25% from last weekend, while Slumdog Millionaire jumped 56% on the back of its Golden Globes win to record its best weekend so far.

Two more movies expanded into wide release this week, and both did good, but not great, business. Defiance earned $9.2 million in 1,789 theaters, while Last Chance Harvey picked up $4.65 million in 1,054 venues.

- Weekend Estimates

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Gran Torino, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Slumdog Millionaire, Hotel for Dogs, My Bloody Valentine, Notorious, Defiance, Last Chance Harvey