Weekend Box Office: ‘Grey’ Makes Green

This, the last weekend of January, turned out to be quite surprising. If you had told me in advance that an R-rated movie about a man punching-out a pack of wolves would be #1 at the box office, and that Katherine Heigl would outgross a Sam Worthington heist thriller, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Liam Neeson not only fought off a pack of wolves in ‘The Grey‘ this weekend, he also fought off the rest of the box office competition as well. Expected to earn $17.9 million, ‘The Grey’ ended up pulling in a strong $20 million. From what I’ve read in the comments of Friday’s Weekend Movies post, I’m going to have to see ‘The Grey’ as soon as possible.

Heigl’s ‘One for the Money‘ was expected to take second place with $12.5 million, but only drew $11.7 million in sales, which left room for the $12.5 million weekend gross of ‘Underworld Awakening‘ to nab the #2 spot. ‘Awakening’ has grossed $45 million over the last 10 days and is only $17 million away from being highest-grossing film (domestically) in its franchise.

‘One for the Money’ opened a few million less than Heigl’s last two movies, ‘Killers’ and ‘Life As We Know It’. Apparently, Groupon sold 225,000 tickets for the film at $6 each, but that $1.8 million boost didn’t seem to help out too much.

Red Tails‘ earned another $10.4 million, beating out the $8.3 million premiere of ‘Man on a Ledge‘. While a fifth place opening for a film in this genre may not seem too impressive, it’s better than the $7.2 million, sixth place opening that was predicted. It turns out discount ‘Man on a Ledge’ tickets were also available on the site Living Social. Do you think Living Social is more popular than Groupon?

Expanding to 245 screens, the Oscar nominations for ‘Albert Nobbs‘ didn’t draw too many viewers out. ‘Nobbs’ earned only $773,000, a not-too-impressive $3,155 per-screen average. For some reason, this weekend is considered the opening for ‘Nobbs’, even though the film technically opened in December (to qualify for the Academy Awards) and grossed $823,000 then.

Extremely Loud & Incredible Close‘ only dropped 28% in attendance from last week. Oscar nominations seemed to really help the expansions of ‘The Descendants‘, ‘The Artist‘ and ‘Hugo‘. ‘The Descendants’ jumped 176% in attendance, ‘The Artist’ went up 40% and ‘Hugo’ climbed 142%.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Grey’ (Open Road) – $20,000,000

2. ‘Underworld Awakening’ (Screen Gems) – $12,500,000

3. ‘One for the Money’ (Lionsgate) – $11,750,000

4. ‘Red Tails’ (Fox) – $10,400,000

5. ‘Man on a Ledge’ (Summit) – $8,300,000

6. ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ (Warner Bros.) – $7,145,000

7. ‘The Descendants’ (Fox Searchlight) – $6,550,000

8. ‘Contraband’ (Universal) – $6,500,000

9. ‘Beauty and the Beast in 3D’ (Buena Vista) – $5,345,000

10. ‘Haywire’ (Relativity) – $4,000,000

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