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Weekend Report: 'Contraband' Hijacks MLK Weekend

by Ray Subers
Contraband
 

 
January 15, 2012

With one of Mark Wahlberg's best openings ever, Contraband managed to hold off Beauty and the Beast (3D) to claim first place over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Chart stalwart Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol took third place ahead of newcomer Joyful Noise, while The Devil Inside had one of the worst second weekend drops ever. For the four-day frame, overall box office was at around $163 million, which is up a bit from the same weekend last year ($159 million).

Contraband debuted to $24.35 million for the three-day weekend. That ranks seventh all-time for star Mark Wahlberg. Most of the movies ahead of it are either established brands (Planet of the Apes) or ensemble pieces (The Departed), though, and Contraband wound up ahead of similar movies like Four Brothers ($21.2 million), The Italian Job ($19.5 million), and Shooter ($14.5 million). It also outperformed January action movies Edge of Darkness ($17.2 million) and Smokin' Aces ($14.6 million), and it was even close to matching Taken's $24.7 million. For the four-day weekend, Contraband earned $28.5 million, which ranks as the eighth-highest Martin Luther King, Jr. opening ever. Contraband's audience was 51 percent male and 55 percent 30 years or older, and they awarded the movie a solid "A-" CinemaScore.

After the resounding success of The Lion King's 3D re-release, Disney opted to give Beauty and the Beast the re-release treatment as well. Its $17.75 million debut was less than The Lion King's $30.2 million, though it was more than the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 double feature ($12.5 million) and seems to confirm that there is a decent audience for re-issues of classic movies. The movie's 3D share was 97 percent (up from The Lion King's 92 percent), and the audience gave the movie an "A+" CinemaScore. The movie moved up to first place on Monday with $4.46 million, which was good for first place that day and translates to a holiday weekend of $22.2 million.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol fell 41 percent to $11.7 million for the three-day frame, and including Monday's grosses the movie has now made $189.45 million. On Saturday, the movie passed the original Mission: Impossible's $181 million to become the second highest-grossing entry in the series, and it will next try to top Mission: Impossible II's $215.4 million.

Joyful Noise opened to $11.2 million over the three-day weekend, which is down a bit from Queen Latifah's Last Holiday ($12.8 million), but up from some of her other recent leading roles like Just Wright ($8.3 million) and Mad Money ($7.7 million). It was also an improvement over Country Strong's $7.3 million debut last January, though that movie was playing in just over half as many locations (2,735 vs. 1,424). Not surprisingly, the audience was 73 percent female and 65 percent over the age of 35 (likely indicating that Dolly Parton's presence had a positive effect), and they gave the movie an "A-" CinemaScore.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows held well in its fifth outing. The sequel dipped 37 percent to $8.6 million, and including Monday grosses the movie has now earned $172 million.

After easily taking first place last weekend, The Devil Inside fell all the way to sixth place this week with $8.03 million. Its 76.2 percent decline is the 22nd-biggest drop on record, and it is the worst one since Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience fell 77.4 percent in early 2009. Still, including Monday the movie has now made $47.4 million on a budget of less than $1 million, so it's easy to imagine they aren't too upset about this over at Paramount.

The Iron Lady expanded in to 802 locations this weekend and earned $5.4 million. Its $6,749 per-theater average is nearly identical to that of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy during its similar nationwide expansion last weekend. Carnage didn't fare quite so well in its expansion—the Roman Polanski-directed theater adaptation netted $710,434 from 494 venues for a poor average of $1,438.

Last Weekend
Moviegoers Possessed by 'Devil Inside'

This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2011 - 'Green Hornet' Kicks Into Top Gear Over MLK Weekend
• 2010 - 'Avatar' Reigns with Record MLK Gross

• 2009 - 'Paul Blart' Does Part in Record MLK Weekend
• 2008 - 'Cloverfield' Clobbers MLK Record
• 2007 - 'Stomp' Steps Up
• 2006 - 'Glory Road' Glides Past 'Hoodwinked' in MLK Photo Finish
• 2005 - 'Coach Carter' Delivers $29M Win


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