North American box office: ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ still king

I’m late with everything this week, but I can at least get in a quick look at last weekend’s box office before the next weekend starts:

1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop: $21.6 million (2nd week; drops 32%)
2. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: $20.8 million (NEW)
3. Gran Torino: $16.2 million (3rd week in wide release; drops 26%)
4. Hotel for Dogs: $12.9 million (2nd week; drops 24%)
5. Slumdog Millionaire: $10.7 million (NEW in wide release)

actual numbers, not estimates
Movie takings continue to be up overall, 11 percent higher than the same weekend last year. There must be something particularly soothing about Paul Blart… is it nostalgia for malls, which so many people seem to have abandoned over the holiday season?

Not every movie did well this past weekend, though. The charming Inkheart, which I quite liked, debuted way down at No. 7, earning only $7.6 million. Very sad. Look for it on DVD sooner rather than later.

We may be seeing the end of the dominance of the awards contenders and winners, even though the Oscars are still almost a month away: The highest per-screen average of the weekend may have gone to Slumdog Millionaire, at $7,583 (at each of 1,411 venues), but the Underworld flick was close behind ($7,080 at each of 2,942 venues), and Paul Blart was at No. 3 ($6,878 at each of 3,144 venues). The Wrestler ($6,618 on each of 566 screens) and Waltz with Bashir ($6,018 on each of 25 screens) weren’t too far behind that, but still: it looks like the arthouse stuff has already peaked… at least until the Oscar winners are announced, when some of them may see a bit of a boost.

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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