Friday Report: 'The Grey' Feasts on Competition
The opportunity to see Liam Neeson go head-to-head with a pack of wolves drew solid crowds on Friday, giving Open Road Films its first number one debut with The Grey. One For the Money put up decent numbers as well, and could finish ahead of Underworld Awakening for the three-day weekend. Finally, Sam Worthington's questionable star power wasn't enough to get audiences excited about Man on a Ledge, which disappointed in fifth place.

The Grey opened to an estimated $6.5 million on Friday. That's lower than Taken's $9.4 million and slightly off from Unknown's $6.7 million, though some drop off from those movies was expected given the movie's frigid setting, R rating, and mid-range distributor (Open Road). Based on comparable movies from the past few years, The Grey will wind up in first place this weekend with at least $17 million.

One for the Money scored an estimated $4.1 million yesterday, which was good for second place at the box office. It wound up below recent Katherine Heigl movies Killers ($5.7 million) and Life as We Know It ($5.2 million). Those movies both had male co-leads (Ashton Kutcher and Josh Duhamel, respectively) and a more robust marketing effort, so One for the Money's opening is actually pretty respectable. Its $4.1 million is also nearly identical to the opening day of The Lincoln Lawyer, which was distributor Lionsgate's first attempt at selling discounted tickets on Groupon. For the three-day weekend, One for the Money should end up around $12 million.

As is typical for its genre, Underworld Awakening fell a steep 63 percent to an estimated $3.43 million. Still, that's actually the best hold and best second Friday yet for an Underworld movie, indicating that this one might be receiving slightly better word-of-mouth. Through eight days, the fourth installment in the vampire action series has earned $36.05 million, and it currently trails the second Underworld movie by less than $500,000.

Red Tails also crashed hard, spiraling 53 percent to an estimated $2.8 million. The George Lucas-produced story of the Tuskegee Airmen has now made $26.2 million.

Man on a Ledge opened in fifth place with an estimated $2.5 million. That's a bit lower than Sam Worthington's last movie, The Debt ($2.6 million), and is another unimpressive start for Summit Entertainment. The company is currently forecasting a $7.5 million weekend.

Following its surprise Best Picture nomination, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close eased 37 percent to an estimated $2 million. It has now made just under $16 million. Fellow Oscar nominee The Descendants expanded in to 2,001 locations and grossed $1.74 million, bringing its impressive total to $54 million. The Artist and Hugo were much further down the chart with $867,000 and $488,000, respectively.

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Grosses for Friday, January 27, 2012