Mark Wahlberg’s Contraband Steals the Weekend

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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.

Going into the second weekend of January, the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, it seemed like it might be a close race between two very different movies, an adult crime thriller and a Disney 3D rerelease, but on Friday, it became quite clear that Mark Wahlberg’s Contraband (Universal), which he co-produced and starred in with Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi and Ben Foster, would win the weekend and that it did with $28.8 million in 2,863 theaters over the four day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. With a per-theater average over $10,000 per site, it’s officially the highest opening movie for the film’s primary producer Working Title Films, topping the opening of Sidney Pollack’s The Interpreter.

After the successful rerelease of The Lion King 3D last September, Disney gave it another go with Beauty and the Beast 3D (Disney), a 3D conversion of the Oscar-winning film which had already been released on DVD and Blu-ray. That didn’t matter to family audiences who went out to see it over the extended holiday weekend, amassing $23.5 million in over 2,600 theaters. This is added to the nearly $400 million the film already made in its theatrical runs since opening over 20 years ago.

The Tom Cruise action movie Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Paramount) continues to do big business as it took third place with $14.2 million over the four-day holiday, bringing its own total to $189.5 million.

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton teamed for the musical comedy Joyful Noise (New Line/WB), which ended up in fourth place with $13.8 million in 2,735 theaters, averaging roughly $5,000 per site.

Guy Ritchie’s period action sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Warner Bros.), starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, continued its run as the second-strongest holiday rerelease, bringing its running domestic total to $172.1 million with the $10.5 million it made for fifth place.

Paramount Insurge’s low-budget horror movie The Devil Inside, which began the year on top, tanked in its second weekend, losing over 70% of its business and dropping all the way down to 6th place with $9.2 million and $47.5 million. Clearly, bad word-of-mouth spreads fast and those interested in seeing the movie rushed out opening weekend.

David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony) continued to bring in business with $8.1 million for seventh place, $89.3 million total, while Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks – Chipwrecked took eighth with $7.8 million and $121 million total since opening before Christmas.

Steven Spielberg’s War Horse (DreamWorks) and the Cameron Crowe-Matt Damon family drama We Bought a Zoo (20th Century Fox) continue to vie for position as they settled on ninth and tenth place, respectively, War Horse earning $7.1 million to Zoo‘s $6.8 million. They both have earned in the $65 to 68 million range since opening over Christmas weekend.

After a successful platform release, Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady (The Weinstein Company), starring recent Golden Globe winner Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expanded nationwide into 802 theaters, but it just missed the chance to get into the Top 10 (at least going by the four-day weekend), taking in $6.5 million, roughly $8 thousand per site.

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $129 million for the four-day weekend, which is right in line with the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend last year, when Seth Rogen’s action-comedy The Green Hornet (Sony) beat Vince Vaughn and Kevin James’ comedy The Dilemma (Universal) by double, $40 million to $20 million.

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