All week long, I had to hear people justify their hopeful expectations for Valentine’s Day as being that it just had so many famous people in the cast that it had to be good. If a single one of them ever realized that each and every one of those celebrities were paid, handsomely, to star in the same film as one another, they didn’t make that nearly as clear. But that logic has led the ensemble rom-com to a hefty $52.4 million weekend atop the box office, seemingly justifying its studio’s pre-emptive announcement that a like-minded New Year’s Eve would soon be on its way and making for next weekend’s inevitable post-Valentine’s tumble (see: last year’s ensemble rom-com, He’s Just Not That Into You, which is also getting a sequel, so it must be good).
Second place went to Fox’s latest attempt to get the next Harry Potter off the ground, the decent-if-derivative Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, with $31.1 million. Expect the margin between that and The Wolfman (third with $30.6 million) to grow, as most kids have Monday off for President’s Day. Avatar kept on keeping on with $22 million in fourth place, while last week’s champ, Dear John, slipped to fifth with $15.3 million.
The once-mighty Dwayne Johnson, John Travolta and Mel Gibson kept each other company as Tooth Fairy ($5.6m), From Paris with Love ($4.7m) and Edge of Darkness ($4.6m) landed in sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Crazy Heart expanded a bit more to take in another $4 million, already making Fox Searchlight’s last-minute awards bid more successful than the sure thing that was Amelia ($14.2 million total vs. Heart’s $16.5 million to date), while one more rom-com, When in Rome, closed out the top ten with $3.4 million. (This one, however, won’t be getting a sequel, so that’s good.)