Weekend Report: 'Underworld' Fends Off Soarin' 'Red Tails'
Underworld Awakening sunk its teeth in to the top spot at the box office this weekend, though that didn't stop Red Tails from also putting up strong numbers in its debut. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Haywire were less impressive, though, and The Artist failed to gain much traction in its nationwide expansion. At over $133 million, overall box office was up a whopping 30 percent from the same period last year.

The latest entry in the Underworld franchise opened to $25.3 million, which is just a bit behind Kate Beckinsale's last entry, 2006's Underworld: Evolution ($26.9 million). It did at least mark a slight improvement over 2009's Underworld: Rise of the Lycans ($20.8 million), though that was sans-Beckinsale and didn't receive a boost from 3D premiums. The 3D format accounted for 59 percent of Awakening's ticket sales, while IMAX 3D represented 15 percent (for a total 3D share of 74 percent). Distributor Sony/Screen Gems is reporting that the audience was 55 percent male and 60 percent 25 years of age and older, and they awarded the movie a solid "A-" CinemaScore.

Red Tails cruised in to second place with a very respectable $18.8 million. That's above comparable fighter pilot movies Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow ($15.6 million), Stealth ($13.3 million), and Flyboys ($6 million), though it was a bit off from Sky Captain in estimated attendance. The audience breakdown was 51 percent male and 66 percent 25 years and older. The movie received an "A" CinemaScore, which improved to a fantastic "A+" score for those below 18 and above 50. Also of note: Red Tails marks distributor 20th Century Fox's best opening for a non-franchise title since last April's Rio.

After a strong first place start last weekend, Contraband fell 51 percent to $12 million. With a $45.9 million total so far, the movie has passed Mark Wahlberg's Max Payne ($40.7 million) and will eclipse Shooter ($47 million) by Tuesday.

Following a month in limited release, Sept. 11 drama Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close expanded to 2,630 locations and earned a disappointing $10.05 million. That's the least-attended nationwide opening in two decades for Tom Hanks, and is the least-attended in the last 15 years for Sandra Bullock. Even with a ubiquitous marketing effort, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close clearly wasn't able to overcome poor reviews and tough subject matter, though there's always a chance it hangs in well in coming weeks.

Beauty and the Beast 3D plummeted 51 percent to $8.8 million. That doesn't compare favorably to The Lion King 3D's 27 percent second weekend decline, and with $33.6 million in the bank so far Beauty has no chance of coming anywhere remotely close to Lion King's $94.2 million.

Haywire debuted in sixth place with $8.4 million. That's a bit off from recent similar female-oriented action movies Colombiana ($10.4 million) and Hanna ($12.4 million), though in just one weekend it almost earned as much as Domino did in its entire run ($10.2 million). The audience was 55 percent male and skewed a bit younger (64 percent under the age of 35), and it was 54 percent non-Caucasian. As reported yesterday, the movie received a terrible "D+" CinemaScore.

Following its three Golden Globe wins on Sunday and ahead of what's sure to be a ton of Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, The Artist expanded in to 662 locations this weekend. That wasn't enough to really gain much momentum, though, as the movie wound up in 17th place with a weak $2.37 million (an average of just $3,583). The Artist has now earned $12.1 million, and it's looking more and more like the black-and-white silent movie is not going to be able to attract a significant audience outside of the cinephiles who were already able to track it down in limited release.

Last Weekend

'Contraband' Hijacks MLK Weekend

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2011 - 'No Strings' Ties Up Top Spot

• 2010 - 'Avatar' Breaks 'Titanic's Foreign Record

• 2009 - 'Paul Blart' Clamps Down 'Rise of Lycans'

• 2007 - 'Stomp' Stamps Out 'Hitcher'

• 2006 - 'Underworld' Lords Over 'New World'

• 2005 - 'Are We There Yet?' Rolls in at No. 1

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