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Taken Takes Top Spot

February 2nd, 2009

Taken took on the competition and won with $24.72 million over the weekend, which was the second best Super Bowl weekend debut behind Miley Cyrus's stunning opening of Best of Both Worlds. This is much better than expected, as the male-oriented rescue / revenge story faced stiff competition from Super Bowl 43, which turned out to be a much better game than anticipated. (On a side note, at the very end, that wasn't a fumble as the quarterback's arm was clearly moving forward before the Pittsburgh player even made contact. That said, I don't think it would have changed the outcome of the game.) Looking at the film's future, its reviews are good, but not great, at 56% positive. Likewise, its Internal Multiplier was 2.62, which is good, but not great, all things considered. With a budget that was reported at 30 million Euros, or about $45 million American, it should have no trouble earning enough domestically to show a sizable profit, especially considering it has made close to $67 million internationally so far.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop made $13.87 million over the weekend, which matches Thursday's prediction nearly perfectly. With $83.25 million in total, it will take more than one more week to reach $100 million, but it will get there sooner rather than later.

As expected, The Uninvited opened in third place; however, with $10.33 million, it didn't make as much money at the box office. Its reviews remained mixed, and perhaps the drag of being a remake of an Asian horror film was a little much. Either way, I suspect the movie didn't cost too much to make, and it should do well enough on the home market to show a profit eventually.

Hotel for Dogs was a surprise entry in the top five, as it remained in fourth place with $8.63 million over the weekend and $48.16 million after three. The film is now tracking at close to $75 million, which is higher than original expectations and with recent reports suggesting a $40 million production budget, it is enough to ensure a profit during the film's initial push onto the home market.

Fifth place went to Gran Torino with $8.23 million over the weekend. The film had reached the $100 million market just before the weekend and now has $110.18 million in total, which is the best result for a Clint Eastwood picture, both acting and directing.

Just missing the top five was Slumdog Millionaire with $7.63 million over the weekend for a total of $67.19 million. At this pace, it will need a little help reaching $100 million. And that help will come from a man named Oscar, I suspect.

The final wide release of the week was New in Town, which was on the low end of expectations with $6.74 million over the weekend giving it eighth place on the charts. With terrible reviews, even compared to the historical average for the genre, and plenty of direct competition, I can't see it lasting in theaters too much longer.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans fell from second to seventh with $7.58 million, which was down more than 60% over its opening weekend. With just $33.17 million so far, I expect this movie to earn the lowest box office in the franchise so far, and if they make another sequel, I expect it could go direct-to-DVD. The final sophomore film was Inkheart, which fell just over 50% to $3.72 million over the weekend and $12.81 million after two. This is not a terrible drop-off, but considering its opening, that's hardly reason to celebrate.

As for the market as a whole, January 2009 ended in record fashion as this is the first time ever that movies earned $1 billion at the box office during the opening month of the year. That said, the overall box office was still down 21% from last week to $127 million over the weekend. That was less than 1% lower than last year's record setting result for a Super Bowl Weekend though, and overall, 2009 has earned $1.03 billion, up 18% from 2008, which had pulled in $867 million in the same time period.

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Filed under: Gran Torino, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, Slumdog Millionaire, Hotel for Dogs, Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans, The Uninvited, Inkheart, New in Town