Rise of the Lycans Halted by Mall Cop

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The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

The weekend following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday saw the release of two new movies in wide release, as well as a significant number of expanding movies trying to take advantage of Oscar nominations announced on Thursday.

The biggest new movie of the weekend was the action prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Screen Gems), which set-up the battle between the vampires and werewolves for the hit franchise. It opened softer than the previous two movies with just $20.7 million in 2,942 theaters, averaging $7,036 per site. That wasn’t enough for it to take down Kevin James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony), which once again wound up in first place with a second weekend take of $21.5 million (down 32% from the holiday weekend) and a current total of $64.8 million. The high concept comedy has proven to be very profitable for Sony and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, having been produced for a mere $26 million.

Although it was snubbed at receiving even a single Oscar nomination on Thursday, Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino (Warner Bros.) continued its epic box office run, dropping just 27% from the holiday weekend to add another $16 million to its box office take of $97.5 million. By next week, it will be Eastwood’s third movie to gross over $100 million and it should become his highest-grossing movie ever, surpassing Oscar winners Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven. The film was produced for just $33 million.

The family comedy Hotel for Dogs (DreamWorks) had a solid second weekend, moving up a place from fifth to fourth with $12.4 million and a total gross of $37 million.

With ten Oscar nominations announced on Thursday, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) expanded into 1,411 theaters on Friday, allowing it to add $10.5 million to its impressive box office take of $56 million. Even before the weekend, “Slumdog” had already surpassed the gross of Boyle’s previous highest-grossing movie 28 Days Later, and sometime in the next week, it’s likely to become Fox Searchlight’s third highest-grossing movie. Not bad for a movie that was picked up by Searchlight for distribution after the film’s original studio Warner Independent folded.

Lionsgate’s horror remake My Bloody Valentine 3D dropped to sixth place with $10 million and a total gross of $37.7 million.

New Line’s long-delayed fantasy epic Inkheart opened in 2,655 theaters but grossed just $7.7 million in its first weekend for seventh place, while averaging less than $3,000 per site.

Dropping to 8th place, the Kate Hudson-Anne Hathaway comedy Bride Wars (20th Century Fox) brought in $7 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $48.7 million.

After receiving thirteen Oscar nominations on Thursday, David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount Vantage) moved back into the Top 10, settling into #9 with $6 million and a total gross of $111 million. Continuing the trend of Gran Torino and Slumdog Millionaire, the film has become Fincher’s highest-grossing movie to date.

The Biggie Smalls biopic Notorious (Fox Searchlight), starring newcomer Jamal Woolard, took a massive 72% drop from its opening weekend, dropping from fourth to tenth place with a second weekend take of $5.7 million and a total of $31.8 million.

Sam Mendes’ literary drama Revolutionary Road (Paramount Vantage), reuniting Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, might have been snubbed of its expected Oscar nominations (except for supporting actor Michael Shannon), but it expanded into over a thousand theaters where it grossed $5.3 million to move up to 12th place. Despite a huge marketing campaign, it ended up just one notch below Paramount Vantage’s other offering, Edward Zwick’s Defiance, which earned $5.4 million in its second weekend of wide release, down 39%.

Having received five nominations on Thursday, Ron Howard’s adaptation of Peter Morgan’s play Frost/Nixon (Universal) expanded nationwide into 1,099 theaters to gross $3 million in 15th place. By comparison, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, which received Oscar nominations for actors Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, took in $3.7 million in half the number of theaters. Frost/Nixon has grossed $12 million in 8 weeks of release while The Wrestler has grossed $9.5 million.

Despite being snubbed in the top Oscar categories, Warner Bros. reopened Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight into over 350 theaters on Friday. It reportedly only brought in $670,000*, not even placing in the Top 25, so the decision to rerelease the film theatrically after its DVD release may not have been the wisest decision. (*Our source originally had this number at $170k, but that’s been corrected.)

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.

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