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Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Knowing' forcasts big box office victory with $24.8m bow, March 20-22, 2009

Rebounding from last year's action flop Bangkok Dangerous Nicolas Cage posted the eleventh No. 1 opening of his career with his doomsday thriller Knowing, which easily outpaced the weekend's two other debuts I Love You, Man and Duplicity.

Nicolas Cage's Knowing led all films with a strong $24.8 million debut, averaging $7,447 in a wide 3,332 theaters, giving upstart Summit Entertainment (who produced last year's smash hit Twilight) another No. 1 release. Despite poor reviews Summit managed to lure moviegoers to the PG-13 release with a huge marketing blitz that appealed to the Over 25 demographic (nearly two-thirds of the audience was 25 or older).

Opening in second was the well-received comedy I Love You, Man, which debuted in second with $18 million. Released by Paramount and co-produced with DreamWorks, the R-rated Paul Rudd-Jason Segal starrer averaged a solid $6,641 from 2,711 theaters. The opening was slightly below Rudd's most recent effort Role Models, which bowed with $19.2 million last November. It was slightly better than Segal's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which opened last spring with $17.7 million.

Debuting in third was Julia Roberts and Clive Owen's romantic comedy caper Duplicity, which took in $14.4 million in 2,574 theaters. Averaging $5,595 per theater, the Universal pic saw a strong 27% uptick in sales from Friday to Saturday, indicating strong word of mouth. The opening was significantly stronger than Roberts' co-starring role in Charlie Wilson's War, which bowed with $9.6 million in 2007.

Last week's champ Race to Witch Mountain slipped 47% in its sophomore frame to $13 million, bringing the Disney adventure's ten day take to $44.7 million. At its current pace the film should break $80 million domestic, though it should see a heftier drop next weekend when DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens makes its anticipated debut.

Rounding out the top five was Warner's comic adaptation Watchmen, which tumbled another massive 62% to $6.8 million. Following a 67% loss in its sophomore frame, clearly word of mouth has been a struggle for the nearly three-hour epic. In 17 days the $150 million budgeted pic has amassed $98.1 million. It will have a hard time surpassing $115 million domestic.

Despite three major new releases, the top ten films grossed $94.3 million, down 1% from last year's comparable frame when Fox's Horton Hears A Who held onto the top spot with $24.6 million.

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