It was a wildly impressive three days at the box office this weekend preceding Valentine’s Day, with four movies opening north of $20 million for only the second time in box office history. It also continues Hollywood’s nice run of successful films, and while there have been two re-releases this year so far, I’m impressed that there has been only one sequel so far in 2012. I’m more impressed with the relative quality of movie this early in the year. There have certainly been some stinkers, but there’s also been some decent fare in 2012, including The Grey, Chronicle, Haywire, and Safe House, which — though it got a big shrug from Prisco — I enjoyed (I do have an immense affection for both Denzel and R-Squared, as well as the thriller-car-chase-shoot-some-people-bad-ass-Denzel subgenre).
The weekend was so impressive, in fact, that two films placed in the top ten all time for a debut the weekend of or preceding Valentine’s Day: The Vow and Safe House, which opened less than $2 million apart. Here’s the full list:
1. Hannibal — $58 million
2. Valentine’s Day — $56 million
3. Hitch — $43 million
4. The Vow — $41.7 million
5. Friday the 13th — $40 million
6. 50 First Dates — $39.8 million
7. Safe House — $39.3 million
8. Norbit — $34.1 million
9. The Wolfman — $31 millio
10. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief - $31.2 million
The list is not nearly as rom-com heavy as I’d expected, and though the horror movies featured on the list (including The Vow) are all terrible, I do appreciate that audiences have as big a thirst for blood as they do for love on Valentine’s Day.
Speaking of The Vow, the Channing Tatum/Rachel McAdams film opened at number one, which demonstrates the continuing box-office prowess of Nicholas Sparks and his shitty acolytes. I hated the movie, but I can’t say I’m disappointed, particularly if it means that it might fetch Rachel McAdams better projects in the future (and for those who complain that they have no idea what the rest of us see in McAdams, I implore you to seek out “Slings & Arrows.” She was also good in State of Play and Morning Glory, a film that survived on her radiant charisma alone.)
The other two films to break $20 million in their openings were Journey 2: Mysterious Island, which received decent marks from Agent Bedhead, and the re-release of Phantom Menace. Those two films scored $27 million and $23 million, respectively. Daniel Carlson will have a review of Phantom Menace tomorrow, which should be interesting, as it’s our first official look at the movie, as we didn’t exist in 1999.
Last week’s number one film — and my favorite of the year, so far — Chronicle tumbled to number five, but still put up a tidy $12 million. It looks to end its run north of $60 million, which isn’t bad for a movie made for $12 million. The Woman in Black fell to number six ($10.3 million), and would you look at there: The Descendants, in at number 9 this week, has quietly surpassed the $70 million mark. With $14 million more (which it may receive with a few Oscar wins), The Descendants could surpass Up in the Air as George Clooney’s 6th highest grossing film, behind the three Ocean’s films, The Perfect Storm, and Batman and Robin. It’s hard to believe that one of the most popular actors on the planet actually only averages $53 million per film, but that’s to the credit of Clooney, who consistently seeks out projects more interesting than box-office friendly.