Weekend Box Office: Never Underestimate Denzel

Aside from that 3D ‘Menace’, every movie in the box office Top 5 this weekend blasted past expectations – one of them by more than $18 million!

Sadly, the #1 movie of the weekend was ‘The Vow‘. Predicted to win with $32.3 million, it actually earned a surprising $41.7 million, which marks the best opening ever for Sony/Screen Gems. What’s not surprising is the fact that 72% of audiences were woman. Guys seem to like Rachel McAdams, but not enough to drudge through ‘The Vow’. Yet this weekend has demonstrated the power Channing Tatum has with the ladies.

The Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds vehicle ‘Safe House‘ really defied expectations this week. Only expected to make $21.5 million, the R-rated spy thriller pulled in a startling $39.3 million, which makes it Washington’s second-best opening behind ‘American Gangster’.

I’m happy to report that more people went to the new turd ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island‘ than the 3D re-release of old turd ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace‘. Like the top two films, ‘Journey 2’ blew its expectations out of the water. Predicted to only earn $13.8 million, it grossed $27.5 million. That’s over $6 million more than ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ premiered with.

Meanwhile, ‘The Phantom Menace’ only earned $23 million of its expected $24.2 million. Even so, the new addition bumped the film up from seventh to fifth place on the list of all-time totals. Personally, I don’t think that re-releases should be added to box office totals. Mr. Lucas plays dirty.

Rounding out the Top 5 was the week-old ‘Chronicle‘. Only dipping 44% in attendance from last week, ‘Chronicle’ has now grossed over $40 million, which isn’t bad considering that it was made for only $15 million.

Three indie openers also earned big money. ‘Rampart‘ grossed $65,100 on only five screens; that’s $13,020 per screen. ‘In Darkness‘ earned $27,600 on only 3 screens, a $9,200 per-screen average. And ‘Chico & Rita‘ made $21,700 on just one screen. You can figure out that per-screen average on your own.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Vow’ (Screen Gems) – $41,700,000

2. ‘Safe House’ (Universal) – $39,300,000

3. ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’ – $27,550,000

4. ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (in 3D)’ (Fox) – $23,000,000

5. ‘Chronicle’ (Fox) – $12,300,000

6. ‘The Woman in Black’ (CBS) – $10,300,000

7. ‘The Grey’ (ORF) – $5,080,000

8. ‘Big Miracle’ (Universal) – $3,900,000

9. ‘The Descendants’ (Fox Searchlight) – $3,500,000

10. ‘Underworld Awakening’ (Screen Gems) – $2,500,000


  1. In the past week, I saw The Artist, Woman In Black, and Star Wars. I must say, Star Wars is the best 3D conversion film I have ever seen, and could I expect anything less from Lucas? The problem is, it is STILL The Phantom Menace. No matter how well you dress up a turd, it is still a turd.

    Woman In Black was awesome (escpecilly considering the only thing I knew about it going in was that Daniel Radcliff was in it – yeah, I am a bit out of touch). By the end of the movie, I had almost able to seperate myself from seeing Daniel as Harry Potter. Half of the movie, I had to keep telling myself that it wasn’t Voldermort behind the weird stuff happening.

    The Artist was just absolutely wonderful – best movie I have seen in years. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, you really should go. Its an awesome movie.

  2. JM

    ‘Safe House’s audience was 38% Black, 23% Hispanic.

    Directed by Daniel Espinosa, a 33-year-old Swedish dude who rose to cinematic fame with the indie classic ‘Babylonsjukan.’

    Screenplay by David Guggenheim, whose only previous credit is the TV drama ‘Exit Strategy’ with Ethan Hawke and Tom Sizemore.

    (Mr. Guggenheim’s next script ‘Stolen’ will reunite master director Simon West with master thespian Nicolas Cage, and re-introduce Swedish–Canadian hottie Malin Akerman who is naked in everything.)

    Rotten Tomatoes seems to have two token Black critics and one token Hispanic critic, all three of whom gave ‘Safe House’ rotten reviews.

    Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. has unimpressive box office mojo.

    Is ‘Safe House’ a triumph of targeted marketing?

    • ‘Safe House’s audience was 38% Black, 23% Hispanic.

      Okay, where do they even come up with those numbers? Many people buy their tickets nowadays online or at the automated kiosks, and I don’t think even the people in the booths or taking the tickets out there are marking down on sheets of paper “I just sold four tickets to Safe House to a family of Hispanics”.

      I know that when I go to screenings, they may ask ethnicity questions and such, but who shows up for screenings cannot be said to be viable data for who is going to actually show up to the theater when the movie is released.

      • JM

        I speculate that the racial profiling is done by Cinemascore, on a random sample, kind of like how political polls are only based on 1137 people.

  3. EM

    I’m on vacation out of state, visiting my mother. This weekend she wanted to go to the movies, and so we ended up seeing The Artist—my third time and her first. And it may not be her last, for she’s lobbying my stepfather to go with her.

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