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Box Office Update 3/13-3/15: Witch Mountain Races to the Top

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Who watches the Watchmen? Well, let's just say a lot fewer people in its second weekend. It did suffer a steep dip, but it was not so unexpected, especially in the face of such a mixed reaction. This weekend was ruled by the family crowd who saw the remake/reimagining of Alexander H. Keys' novel, Escape to Witch Mountain. The film is a fun ride that is sure to please the youngsters in attendance, but in the end it is a rather shallow experience. Dwayne Johnson holds the center of the movie and seems to be poised for bigger and better things. I suspect this will have decent legs and have a good run on the big screen.

Dropping more than 67% in its second weekend, Watchmen plummeted to second place. Hopefully the film will rebound and level off somewhat, otherwise this ride will be over in short order. I, for one, loved the film. I was taken by its visual style, its take on the superhero mythos, and all-around execution. It is the type of film that will inspire a love it or hate it response in the form of an inverted bell curve. I look forward to revisiting this on Blu-ray.

Finishing in third place is The Last House on the Left. This updated exploitation film delivers the goods and pulls no punches. No, it does not quite replicate what it must have been like to see the gritty original in a dirty theater, but it comes petty close considering there is studio backing here. The film will make you squirm and feel at least a little disturbed and unsettled. Credit to Garret Dillahunt for his impressive performance.

Fourth is held by Taken, the little movie that could. Each week I am continually amazed by the continued success of this action/thriller. I could not have imagined at the dawn of its run that it would still be going strong after steaming past the $100 million mark. Now, the question is how do they fashion a sequel?

Fifth place is Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail. This film has proven to be the writer/director/star/producer's biggest hit. The film has only suffered moderate week to week drops. At this rate, it has a shot at legging its way to the century mark, which would be a first for Perry.

Slumdog Millionaire continues its successful post-Oscar run. The movie really is a blast and one of the best films of 2008. It has been doing so well, I can almost feel the backlash beginning to form. As uplifting as the film is, it is the sort of film that seems poised to have public opinion turn on it. Perhaps not. In any case, if you have not seen it, do yourself a favor.

Next is another 2009 success story, Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The Kevin James vehicle has long since passed the century mark and there is talk of a sequel. This is a movie that really surprised me with how funny it is and that it is family safe.

Eighth place is held by He's Just Not That Into You, which just seems to keep on chugging along. I would have thought this would drop off the list by now. I enjoyed it, but it is one of those movies that really doesn't deserve a lot of attention. Still, I will not begrudge it the success it is enjoying.

Coraline is hanging on. I am glad to see it succeed as much as it has, although I wish that it didn't lose all of those 3D projectors to the Jonas Brothers (look how well that's done). It is an absolutely wonderful film that is great for families, although the youngest may not be ready for it. Henry Selick is amazing at directing this painstaking animation process.

Rounding out the top ten is the new release Miss March, which is pretty much dead on arrival. I expect this sex-comedy romp to disappear pretty quickly.

Next week will see the arrival of a trio of new releases. The new choices include the new spy farce Duplicity, which stars Clive Owen and Julia Roberts, I Love You Man, the comedy that pairs Paul Rudd with Jason Segel, and Knowing, the new Nicolas Cage thriller.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: Confessions of a Shopaholic (11) and Fired Up! (12).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Race to Witch Mountain $24,402,214 $24,402,214 1
2 1 Watchmen $17,817,301 $85,751,993 2
3 N The Last House on the Left (2009) $14,118,685 $14,118,685 1
4 3 Taken (2009) $6,568,651 $126,752,054 7
5 2 Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail $5,108,532 $83,187,594 4
6 4 Slumdog Millionaire $5,002,777 $132,602,820 18
7 5 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $3,119,151 $137,785,983 9
8 6 He's Just Not That Into You $2,939,484 $89,038,259 6
9 7 Coraline $2,718,231 $69,240,852 6
10 N Miss March $2,409,156 $2,409,156 1

Box Office Predictions Recap

Unbelievable. This week was actually halfway decent. I got half of the top ten placed correctly, including the top four. Perhaps my luck is turning and this trend will continue. Somehow, I doubt it but it is fun to dream. On the money side of the coin, I tended towards overestimation. Sure, a couple were pretty close, but I can always do better. There is always next week.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 Race to Witch Mountain $24,402,214 $28 million
2 2 Watchmen $17,817,301 $24 million

3

3 The Last House on the Left $14,118,685 $13 million
4 4 Taken (2009) $6,568,651 $6.5 million
5 5 Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail $5,108,532

$5.5 million

10 6 Miss March $2,409,156 $5 million
7 7 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $3,119,151 $4 million
6 8 Slumdog Millionaire $5,002,777 $4 million
8 9 He's Just Not That Into You $2,939,484 $3 million
9 10 Coraline $2,718,231 $2.5 million

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