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'Shutter Island' wins weekend boxoffice

'Valentine's Day' slips to No. 2

Better late than never -- much better, as it turned out.

Bumped by Paramount from fall to winter release, Martin Scorsese's Leonardo DiCaprio starrer "Shutter Island" docked at the high end of pre-release projections with an estimated $40.2 million. The R-rated suspense thriller's outsize bow gave the film's director and topliner new personal bests.

The previous weekend's boxoffice champ -- romantic comedy "Valentine's Day" from Warner Bros. -- fell a big 69% from its opening tally but still wooed $17.2 million in second place for a 10-day cume of $87.4 million. Fox's family adventure "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" dropped a modest 51% in its sophomore session to $15.3 million in fourth place with a $58.8 cume, while Universal's Benicio Del Toro starrer "The Wolfman" shed 69% from opening grosses for $9.8 million in fifth with a $50.3 million cume.

Collectively, the weekend's top 10 finishers rung up $118 million, or 5% more than top performers in the comparable frame last year, boxoffice tracker Rentrak said.

Among limited bows, Summit Entertainment unspooled Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" in two New York theaters and two in L.A and grossed $179,000, or an impressive $44,750 per venue. "Writer" -- which etched Polanski the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Lion Award on Saturday -- broadens into 10 additional markets Friday.

Brink Films' drama "The Last New Yorker" -- starring Dominic Chianese, best known for his role as Uncle Junior on "The Sopranos" -- debuted with an acceptable $4,704 from a single New York playdate.

Magnolia Pictures and Shorts International registered $265,000 from 95 theaters programming this year's Oscar-nominated film shorts, representing a neat $2,789 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Sony Pictures Classics' drama "The Last Station," starring Oscar-nominated Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, booked 25 additional locations for a total 109 and grossed $600,958, or solid $5,513 per site. "Station" cume reached $2.2 million.

"Island" was scheduled to launch on Oct. 2 until its postponement by Paramount, which cited marketing considerations in delaying a pic that had been expected to figure in this year's kudos competition.

When finally screened for critics, the film drew positive reviews, but early pre-release tracking showed a modest imbalance in must-see interest skewing toward male moviegoers. That evolved into a more even spread of support, as pic awareness built in the last few days prior to its bow.

Opening audiences for "Island" proved 50% male, with 50% of patrons aged 25 or older. That made for an unusually even split among the four chief demographic groups -- younger and older males and females.

"The way the movie was marketed, at the very end it got the younger males and females," Paramount exec vp distribution Don Harris said. "The quality of the creative materials helped the movie go younger and appeal to all four quadrants."

The opening bested DiCaprio's $30.1 million bow with 2002's "Catch Me If You Can" and Scorsese's $26.9 million debut with 2006 DiCaprio starrer "The Departed."

Produced by Phoenix Pictures for an estimated $75 million, "Island" -- based on the Dennis Lehane novel about a murder investigation at a hospital for the criminally insane -- could enjoy a leggy run if the traditional pattern for older-skewing pics holds true.

As for the looming competition, two wide new adult-targeting pics hit theaters in wide release on Friday. Overture unspools "The Crazies," an R-rated remake of George Romero's 1973 horror classic that stars Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell, and Warners sends out the Kevin Smith-helmed buddy cop movie "Cop Out," also rated R and toplined by Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan.