North American box office: ‘Taken’ takes the Super Bowl weekend top spot

Looks like even the big football game could not interrupt the mainlining of movies we’re all doing of late in an attempt to comfort and/or inebriate ourselves in these tough times:

1. Taken: $24.7 million (NEW)
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop: $13.9 million (3rd week; drops 36%)
3. The Uninvited: $10.3 million (NEW)
4. Hotel for Dogs: $8.6 million (3rd week; drops 33%)
5. Gran Torino: $8.2 million (4th week in wide release; drops 49%)

actual numbers, not estimates
Taken’s take represents the second biggest ever for a Super Bowl weekend, and the weekend overall was the biggest Super Bowl weekend ever at the movies. And it capped the first-ever billion-dollar January at North American theaters.


I really wouldn’t have thunk it. I really would have thought that, sure, entertainment will be up in Great Depression II as people look for cheap escapes from their miseries. But I really would have thought that TV and DVD and maybe video games and the Internet would sap a lot more of the movies’ mojo than this. Because movies aren’t cheap these days. And, indeed, Netflix’s profits are up hugely. And video game sales were up a lot last year, too.

But movies are way up, too. Weird.

Not every movie did well this weekend, though. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans dropped 64 percent in its second week — ouch. But it still did better than New in Town, which debuted way down at No. 8, taking in only $6.7 million.

Fluff is ruling, though, as might be expected if people are looking for escape and not a challenge. The Reader and Milk expanded into wide release this weekend, but even their Oscar nominations couldn’t boost attendance: both were barely noticed at the multiplex, bringing in, respectively, only $2.4 million and $1.5 million. Slumdog Millionaire, in its second week of wide release, dropped only 29 percent… but it did add 222 locations.

Milestone this week: Gran Torino passed $100 million. I’m not a fan of the film, but bully for Clint. The film is now his biggest ever as both an actor and as a director.

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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