EInsiders.com : : : Reviews | DVD | Inside Scoop | Box Office | Interviews | Columns | Obits | Contests

Sunday, January 25, 2009

'Paul Blart: Mall Cop' holds off werewolves for No. 1 with $21.5m, Jan. 23-25, 2009

For the second straight weekend Kevin James's comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop topped the box office with an estimated $21.5 million, fending off a strong opening salvo from Screen Gem's sequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans with $20.7 million. Sony released both films.

Officially cementing itself as the first big hit of 2009, Paul Blart: Mall Cop slipped just 33% in its sophomore frame to $21.5 million, bringing its ten day cume to a hefty $64.8 million. Budgeted at just $26 million, the PG-comedy is on pace to become the first film released in 2009 to break $100 million. James' career best is last year's comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry co-starring Adam Sandler, which finished with $120 million domestic.

Despite missing the headlining actress that put the Underwold franchise on the map, Sony Screen Gem's Underworld: Rise of the Lycans still managed a strong No. 2 showing in its opening frame, pulling in $20.7 million over the weekend in 2,942 theaters for a strong $7,036 average. The opening of the prequel was slightly below the debuts of its two predecessors, both of which starred Beckinsale as the vampire werewolf-killer. 2003's Underworld debuted with $21.8 million, while its 2006 sequel Underworld: Evolution bowed with $26.9 million. Budgeted at a modest $35 million, the film should finish in the $50 million vicinity domestic.

The most impressive film during the awards season is surprisingly the one that got shut out of the Oscars. Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino shrugged off huge Oscar snubs for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor to finish with $16 million, down just 27% from last weekend. In just seven weeks of mostly limited release the $33 million Hmong drama has grossed $97.6 million, putting it on pace to break $100 million by Friday of next week. Who says an Oscar nomination is the only path to huge financial success for a small acclaimed film? 2004's Million Dollar Baby swept at the Oscars and wound up grossing $100.5 million domestic.

Rounding out the top five with a huge 80% jump in ticket sales was Fox Searchlight's Oscar-frontrunner Slumdog Millionaire, which expanded from 582 to 1,411 theaters and grossed $10.6 million over the weekend. In eleven weeks the Danny Boyle directed pic has amassed $55.9 million. Budgeted at just $14 million, a big night at the Academy Awards could mean a long and lucrative domestic run for the indie pic.

Perhaps suffering from being second out of the gate to Adam Sandler's similarly themed Bedtime Stories, Brendan Fraser's Inkheart debuted in seventh with just $7.7 million, averaging a weak $2,910 in 2,655 theaters. Produced by New Line and release by Warner, the poorly-reviewed release should see a quick exit from the top ten.

After hitting the jackpot for Oscar nominations (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress), Brad Pitt's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button climbed back into the top ten with $6 million, bringing its five week cume to $111 million. Desperately needing to give their $150 million budgeted epic a second wind, Paramount is hoping the increased exposure of a potentially huge Oscar night will get moviegoers excited to sit through the three-hour film again.

Thanks to more Oscar nominated films still playing in theaters this year, the top ten films grossed $117.6 million, up 8% from last year's comparable frame when Meet the Spartans topped with $18.5 million.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.