Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Unknown Opens Atop 4-Day Presidents' Day BO

A moment of Unknown quality in American cinematic history.

by | February 22, 2011 | Comments

Liam Neeson’s latest European-set single-word-titled action thriller

Unknown debuted at number one over the long four-day Presidents’ Day

frame while the hit 3D toon Gnomeo & Juliet gave the Oscar-nominated

star a run for his money thanks to terrific staying power that allowed it

to follow close behind in second. The sci-fi alien flick I Am Number

Four debuted in third place while fellow newcomer Big Mommas: Like

Father, Like Son launched in fifth with each averaging roughly $7,000.

Overall ticket sales fell behind the same holiday frames from the last two

years. It was the first Presidents’ Day weekend in five years with no films

breaking $30M.

Debuting to an estimated $25.6M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday span,

Neeson’s Unknown took the top spot and averaged a solid $8,419 over

four days from 3,043 sites. The PG-13 film about an American in Berlin

whose identity has been taken after a car accident leaves him in a coma

played to a mature adult crowd and performed much like his 2009 sleeper hit

Taken which opened on top over Super Bowl weekend to $24.7M over three days

ahead of a $145M run. With Oscar-nominated dramas being the only other

films playing to the over-30 set in recent weeks, Unknown arrived as an

exciting-looking alternative with a well-liked star. Reviews were mixed but

on the same level as those for Taken.


Jumping up one spot to number two was the animated hit Gnomeo &

Juliet which dipped to an estimated $24.8M over four days. With strong

word-of-mouth, more kids available because of the school holiday, and no

competition from any other kidpics, Gnomeo held up incredibly well pushing

its 11-day total to $55.8M and now seems likely to break the $100M mark.

Gnomeo actually beat Unknown on Monday with estimated one-day sales

of $5.6M vs. $3.9M.


The sci-fi actioner I Am Number Four, Disney’s first release of a

DreamWorks production, opened in third place with an estimated $22.6M

playing to teens and young adults. Averaging a decent $7,166 from 3,154

locations, the PG-13 adaptation of the popular novel featured no major

stars and relied on fans of the book and on teens interested in a high

school tale. Reviews were not too kind. It was expected by many to open at

number one.


Dropping from first to fourth in its second weekend was the Adam

Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go With It which grossed an

estimated $21.7M. Sony’s latest pic from the bankable funnyman upped its

sum to $64.3M in ten days and has a good shot of hitting $100M. That would

allow Sandler to claim nine-digit hits in nine of the last ten years.

Martin Lawrence’s return to the fat suit brought him a fifth place debut

for the Fox comedy sequel Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son which

grossed an estimated $19M over four days. Averaging $6,735 from 2,821

locations, the PG-13 film fell well short of the three-day $25.7M opening

of Big Momma’s House from June 2000 as well as the $27.7M of its

followup in January 2006. The new Momma, which features

second-generation cross-dressing, was not screened for critics by their

deadlines, but once reviews started appearing they were among the worst for

any film in months.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never fell 55% in its sophomore frame which

was not too bad given that it is a 3D concert biopic meant to draw

hysterical fans upfront. Paramount kept the publicity attacks going past

the opening weekend allowing the 11-day total to climb to $51.4M. Produced

for just $13M, the G-rated pic looks set to finish its run with $70M or so.


Oscar favorite The King’s Speech crossed the $100M mark this weekend

and enjoyed another remarkable hold dipping to an estimated $7.9M. That

pushed the cume for The Weinstein Co. to a stellar $104.7M with $125M or

more possible by the end of the run. Sony’s college thriller The

Roommate followed with an estimated $4.5M for a $33.1M total.


Audiences fled from Channing Tatum as his historical action epic The

Eagle tumbled to an estimated $4.3M for a weak tally of $15.8M after 11

days for Focus. Natalie Portman rounded out the top ten with her comedy

No Strings Attached which took in an estimated $3.7M for $66.6M to

date. Her Oscar contender Black Swan broke the $100M barrier right

before the start of the weekend.

The top ten films over four days grossed an estimated $150.7M which was

down 29% from last year’s Presidents’ Day frame when Valentine’s Day

opened in the top spot with $63.1M over four days; and down 14% from 2009’s

holiday when Friday the 13th debuted at number one with $43.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

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