Liam Neeson flexed his box office muscle this week, driving Unknown to a first place finish ahead of the over-hyped I Am Number Four. The bigger story, though, was Gnomeo and Juliet's incredible hold, as the movie was less than a half-million dollars away from grabbing the top spot. The week was technically up 20 percent over the same period last year, but the inclusion of President's Day this year skewed the comparison.
Unknown opened to $30.4 million, or a bit behind Neeson's 2009 hit Taken ($33.1 million). While Taken declined just 23 percent in its second week, expect Unknown to drop much more precipitously, due in part to coming off a four-day holiday weekend and lacking Taken's surprise factor.
Gnomeo and Juliet eased less than four percent to $29.9 million. From Monday to Thursday, Gnomeo was actually up 90 percent, which can be attributed partly to a bump from President's Day but also to abnormally strong non-holiday grosses. The animated comedy should be in line for one more strong week before fighting with Rango for family attention. With a $60.9 million total, it's definitely in the hunt to reach $100 million and could end up taking the crown for top January/February release from The Green Hornet and Just Go With It.
I Am Number Four finished in third place for the week, though it dropped to fourth place from Tuesday to Thursday. Its $26.7 million tally was way behind the debut weeks of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Jumper, neither of which resulted in a franchise like DreamWorks and Disney were hoping for from Number Four.
Just Go With It fell 40 percent to $25.7 million for a total of $68.3 million. That's much lighter than 50 First Dates's second week drop, though that's skewed a bit by the placement of President's Day.
Ahead of its likely coronation as Best Picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday, The King's Speech held its ground with another $10.2 million. The Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush drama has now earned $106.9 million.