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Box Office Update 1/16-1/18: Mall Cop Reigns Supreme

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When this past weekend began, would you have guessed that Paul Blart: Mall Cop would end up being, far and away, the box office champ?  No? Me neither. How about the fact that the film would cross the $30 million mark? I find that even harder to believe, and this comes from someone who helped add to that box office take, not to mention someone who genuinely likes the movie. I guess it is a good day to be Kevin James and I hope this leads to more features for the comic. I did not often watch his television show, but I think he is a funny guy and has potential as a big screen star (with this large gross for his film I do not think I am alone).

Joining the Mall Cop are five other new releases with returns large enough to help make some wholesale changes in the top ten. Out with the old, or at least the semi-recent, and in with the new. There is an interesting blend of mainstream appeal, Oscar hopefuls, and limited audience fare on the list this week.

The next new release to enter the chart is My Bloody Valentine 3D, placing third. The horror film opened not only on your regular cineplex screens, but also in 3D-equipped auditoriums around the country. I made the drive to catch it in the 3D, and there is no other way this should be watched. The RealD process that is being used is truly quite good and this film, even with the usual pointy-objects-through-the-screen gags, does a very nice job of creating depth, as if one were looking through a window rather than at a flat screen.

Right behind the horror film is the Christopher Wallace biopic Notorious. I have not yet seen this, but must say it looks pretty good. I know this is just anecdotal evidence of success, but my local theater had this running on four screens Friday night and was selling out every one, obviously helping it to the best per theater average of the top ten.

Next on the list is Hotel for Dogs from Nickelodeon Films. There is not much to the movie and it is decidedly not realistic. What it does have however is a good heart and enough humor to keep you smiling. If nothing else, it is a good cathartic experience for those seeking some puppy satisfaction following Marley & Me.

Rounding out the list are Defiance (2008) and Slumdog Millionaire. The former is a WWII drama starring Daniel Craig that opened in limited release in December and is now entering wide release. It is a good film with a moving story. The latter has been in and out of the top ten a couple of times and has yet to have its wide release, where I suspect it will find a good deal of success.

The few returning films mostly had good showings, save for The Unborn (2009). The anemic horror film dipped more than 50% and will likely have a quick exit from the top ten.

Next week will see new competition from Inkheart and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. In addition to the brand new films, a few films will be seeing their releases expanded, not necessarily wide, but to more screens than they have now. These films include Slumdog Millionaire, Revolutionary Road, Frost/Nixon, and one the films I'm most anticipating, The Wrestler. Oh yes, Warner Brothers is also putting The Dark Knight back in a few hundred theaters for an Oscar promotional run.

Six movies dropped off the top ten this week: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (11), Bedtime Stories (12), Valkyrie (14), Yes Man (15), Not Easily Broken (16), and Seven Pounds (22).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Paul Blart: Mall Cop $31,832,636 $31,832,636 1
2 1 Gran Torino $21,979,069 $72,976,480 6
3 N My Bloody Valentine 3D $21,241,456 $21,241,456 1
4 N Notorious (2009) $20,497,596 $20,497,596 1
5 N Hotel for Dogs $17,012,212 $17,012,212 1
6 2 Bride Wars $11,651,553 $37,478,678 2
7 3 The Unborn (2009) $9,341,985 $32,581,140 2
8 35 Defiance (2008) $8,911,827 $9,252,455 3
9 4 Marley & Me $6,138,859 $132,548,142 4
10 11 Slumdog Millionaire $5,849,157 $42,686,362 10

Box Office Predictions Recap
Not one of my better guesstimation weeks, something that seems to becoming a running theme with me. My guesses were uniformly under the actuals, save for My Bloody Valentine and Bride Wars, where I actually came pretty close. This weekend proved to be much more potent than I would have thought. I am sure the studios are happy, while guessing ego remains bruised in the corner. Who would have guessed Paul Blart would be as big a hit as it turned out to be?

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
3 1 My Bloody Valentine 3D $21,241,456 $22 million
2 2 Gran Torino $21,979,069 $18 million

5

3 Hotel for Dogs $17,012,212 $14 million
1 4 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $31,832,636 $12.5 million
6 5 Bride Wars $11,651,553 $12 million
4 6 Notorious (2009) $20,497,596 $8 million
7 7 The Unborn (2009) $9,341,985 $7 million
8 8 Defiance (2008) $8,911,827 $6.5 million
9 9 Marley & Me $6,138,859 $4.5 million
11 10 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $5,576,862 $4 million
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