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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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