Friday Report: 'The Vow' Leads, 'Ghost Rider' Crashes

by Ray Subers
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

February 18, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance sputtered out of the gate on Friday, allowing The Vow to once again claim first place at the box office. Safe House is also in the mix, and should pass Ghost Rider by the end of President's Day Weekend. This Means War had a surprisingly solid debut in fourth place, while The Secret World of Arrietty looks to be right in line with low expectations.

On its second Friday, The Vow fell 52 percent to an estimated $7.4 million. That's a fairly steep drop, though it was expected given that plenty of demand had already been filled over the past week. Through eight days, the movie has already made $69.3 million, and will pass Dear John's $80 million total by Sunday. For the four-day frame, The Vow should wind up in first place with close to $30 million.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
debuted to an estimated $7 million, which is less than half of the first Ghost Rider's $15.4 million on the same Friday five years ago. If Spirit of Vengeance follows Ghost Rider's pattern, it could finish in fourth place for the four-day weekend with less than $24 million.

Similar to The Vow, Safe House dropped a rough 52 percent to an estimated $6.5 million. Its $60.8 million eight-day total is very strong, though, and to this point it trails Denzel Washington's American Gangster by less than $3 million. Universal is currently forecasting a $27.5 million four-day weekend, and there's a very slight chance that Safe House ultimately eases ahead of The Vow by Monday.

This Means War
opened in fourth place on Friday with a solid $5.6 million. That's a bit lower than The Tourist ($6.03 million) and Killers ($5.67 million), but up on Duplicity ($4.7 million). It also isn't too far off from Unknown, which debuted to $6.74 million on the same day last year ahead of a $25.45 million weekend. Based on this and other comparable titles, This Means War looks poised to end the four-day frame with at least $20 million.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
eased 32 percent to an estimated $4.46 million on Friday. That may not look like much, but children's movies have long legs over President's Day weekend, and it could get as high as $25 million for the four-day frame. Through eight days, the sequel has made a very respectable $37.6 million.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
's 3D re-release didn't fare so well on Friday. The movie plummeted 78 percent to an estimated $1.92 million, which brings its total to an underwhelming $27.8 million. Still, by Sunday The Phantom Menace's total gross will exceed the original Star Wars ($461 million), which will make it the highest-grossing entry in the series and fourth highest-grossing movie ever.

The Secret World of Arrietty
opened all the way down in ninth place with an estimated $1.7 million. That tops Ponyo's $1.17 million, though it trailed slightly in per-theater average ($1,120 vs. $1,267). For the four-day weekend, the Studio Ghibli title will earn at least $7 million.

Related Stories:
Weekend Forecast: 'Ghost Rider 2' Aims to Set Fire to President's Day Weekend

Related Chart:
Grosses for Friday, February 17, 2012

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