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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

North American box office: ‘Friday the 13th’ slays

Man, it’s been a bitch this week trying to catch up with everything, because I’m still sick — still weak from the food poisoning, and now I’ve got a bad head cold! unbelievable — and would rather be sleeping or at least just lying on the couch watching some comfort Doctor Who.

Winter ills did not keep anyone else from going to the movies over the Presidents’ Day holiday, though. Look at these numbers, for the four-day weekend:

1. Friday the 13th: $43.6 million (NEW)
2. He’s Just Not That Into You: $22.3 million (2nd week; drops 20%*)
3. Taken: $21.8 million (3rd week; up 6%*)
4. Coraline: $18.9 million (2nd week; up 12%*)
5. Confessions of a Shopaholic: $17.8 million (NEW)

actual numbers, not estimates

*drops compare the four-day weekend to the previous three-day weekend
The box-office bonanza continues: this was the busiest Presidents’ Day weekend in the history of Hollywood, and also the biggest February weekend ever. Friday the 13th enjoyed the biggest opening ever for a slasher movie, though, as Box Office Mojo points out, when you adjust for inflation, other horror movies had bigger opening-weekend crowds.

I’m sorry to see the classy The International debut so low down on the roster, at No. 8, taking in only $10.7 million, even less than the second week of the new Pink Panther movie, which is by all accounts an atrocity.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop finally dropped out of the top 5, but the overall weekend was so strong that the film still took in $13.6 million at No. 6, and has now passed $100 million. Which has never happened before for a movie initially released in January. I hated the movie, but I still find something totally enthralling about the fact that people seem more excited about movies of late.

I’d say that bodes well for all movies, but as I noted in a “question of the day” earlier this week, the rising box-office tide is generally not raising the boats of indie and arthouse films. I wonder if we’ll start to see films not intended to be crowd-pleasers for adolescent audiences get even more limited releases and even shorter runs as a prelude to DVD and PPV runs, or even if we’ll see more simultaneous day-and-date theatrical and home releases of these movies. Then again, grownup movies seem to hold their own in the U.K., so perhaps it’s a matter of marketing rather than a lack of audience interest…

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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