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Sunday, February 8, 2009

'He's Just Not That Into You' dominates weekend with $27.5m debut, Feb. 6-8, 2009

Thanks to a strong headline opening from the romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You, three more $10+ million debuts, as well as very small drops from the rest of the top ten, the marketplace posted a huge 41% increase in ticket sales over last year's comparable frame. Overall, the top 20 releases took in nearly $150 million in North America, giving the box office a huge confidence boost in the new year.

Leading the charge this weekend was Warner Bros.'s romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You, which debuted at No. 1 with a powerful $27.5 million. Averaging a strong $8,650 in 3,175 theaters, the Jennifer Aniston-Ben Affleck starrer posted the third biggest opening of 2009 thus far, nehind only Paul Blart: Mall Cop's $31.8m and Gran Torino's $29.5m.

Produced by the now defunct New Line (which folded back into parent company Warner Bros. following a horrendous couple of years), the film was heavily marketed just in time for Valentine's weekend festivities. Featuring a heavyweight ensemble cast including Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore, the PG-13 release shrugged off mixed-to-poor reviews while appealing to both women and date crowds. Look for continued success heading into Valentine's Day weekend.

Last week's surprise champ Taken slipped just 18% in its sophomore frame to $20.3 million, giving Fox and Liam Neeson the first sleeper hit of the new year. In just ten days the PG-13 action thriller has grossed $53.4 million, and if word of mouth continues to remain strong the film has an outside shot at breaking $100 million domestic, a remarkable achievement for a film many thought sounded like your run-of-the-mill February studio dump.

Laika Studio's acclaimed stop-motion film Coraline debuted in third with an estimated $16.3 million, averaging an encouraging $7,105 in 2,299 theaters. The Henry Selick (A Nightmare Before Christmas) film, released by Focus Features, played in both 3D and non-3D capable theaters, with over 60% of receipts coming from high margin 3D venues. Critics largely heralded the stop-motion pic, which opened nearly twice as strong as 1993's A Nightmare Before Christmas ($8m, $74.6m total including re-release). Tim Burton's Corpse Bride opened stronger with a $19.1 million wide release debut, but finished with just $53.3 million domestic.

Steve Martin's The Pink Panther 2 debuted in fourth with $12 million, falling well short of the $20.1 million debut of its 2006 predecessor. The poorly-reviewed Sony comedy averaged just $3,700 in 3,243 theaters, and will likely finish far behind the first film's $80.2 million domestic and $159 million worldwide haul.

Rounding out the top five was Kevin James' hit comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which inched closer to $100 million with another strong $11 million weekend. Falling just 21%, the $26 million budgeted Sony has shown some of the strongest legs for a comedy in quite some time, amassing $97 million in just four weeks.

Hot off their sensational vampire romance hit Twilight, Summit Entertainment went towards the sci-fi genre with its thriller Push, which debuted modestly in sixth with $10.2 million. The poorly-reviewed release starring Dakota Fanning averaged just $4,410 from 2,313 theaters.

Fox Searchlight's Oscar-nominated sensation Slumdog Millionaire continued its remarkable run falling just 3% to $7.4 million. In 13 weeks the film has amassed $77.4 million, surpassing Sideways's $71.5 million gross to become the studio's second biggest release in history. Only last year's Juno has grossed more with $143.5 million domestic.

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