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The 2012 domestic box office continued to thrive over Super Bowl weekend as 20th Century Fox’s high school superpower pic Chronicle opened to a stellar $22 million, followed closely by CBS Films’ Daniel Radcliffe horror-thriller The Woman in Black with $21 million.
Both film overperformed, with total box office revenues up more than 35 percent over last year. CBS Films executives will be watching Sunday traffic carefully on the outside chance that their film pulls ahead of Chronicle.
For months, movies have been skewing noticeably older, worrying the film business and contributing to diminished revenues. That trend reversed itself on Friday — 61 percent of those buying tickets for Chronicle were under the age of 25, while 57 percent of Woman in Black’s audience was under the age of 25.
Both films are victories for their respective companies. Fox only spent $12 million to produce Chronicle, about a group of high school friends who acquire superpowers and use them to make mischief until one of them begins using them for darker purposes. The film was directed by 25-year-old Josh Trank and stars Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan and Michael Kelly.
“This is a fantastic result for a movie that was designed by and made for that younger deographic that has been largely missing from theaters,” Fox executive vice president of distribution Chris Aronson said.
Chronicle, produced by John Davis Entertainment, received a B CinemaScore, while Woman and Black received a B-. Woman in Black’s performance is a boost for Radcliffe, whose Harry Potter fans no doubt turned out to see the star, with females making up 59 percent of the audience, many of them younger.
“You’ve got one of the biggest and hardest-working actors in a well-made, scary movie, with an innovative marketing campaign,” said CBS Films president of domestic distribution Steven Friedlander.
Woman in Black, based on Susan Hill’s novel of the same name, was produced by Hammer Film Productions and preemptively acquired by CBS Films just before the Cannes Film Festival last year. Also starring Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer, the ghost story was directed by James Watkins.
CBS Films spent $3 million to acquire the film.
Woman in Black had hoped to pull ahead of Chronicle for the weekend since it is appealing to younger women, a demo less interested in the football than younger man. However, Chronicle played more evenly than expected, with females making up 45 percent of the audience.
The third new film of the weekend is Universal and Working Title Films’ family friendly whale pic Big Miracle, starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski. The pic opened at No. 4 with a muted $8.5 million. It was the most expensive of the three new offerings, costing $40 milion to produce.
Beating Big Miracle for the No. 3 spot was Open Road Film’s Liam Neeson holdover The Grey, which grossed a sturdy $9.5 million in its second weekend for a cume of $34.7 million. The pic fell roughly 40 percent.
Universal’s campaign for Big Miracle, receiving an A- CinemaScore, has targeted moms and girls, the latter being the demo least interested in football (that’s why Disney opened Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour over Super Bowl weekend).
Directed by Ken Kwapis, Big Miracle is based on the 1989 book Freeing the Whales, and tells the story of the international rescue effort to rescue three gray whales trapped in ice near Point Barrow, Alaska. In the movie, Barrymore and Krasinski play a nonprofit aid worker and a government worker who develop a romance.
Among Oscar best picture contenders, Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants beat out Warner Bros.’ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, grossing $4.6 million from 2,038 theaters in its 12th weekend for a cume of $65.2 million and coming in No. 8. Extremely Loud, placing No. 10, grossed $3.9 million from 2,506 theaters for a cume of $26.8 million. Descendants fell 19 percent from the previous weekend; Extremely Loud, 44 percent.
Awards frontrunner The Artist, distributed by the Weinstein Co., came in No. 12 as it continued expanding, adding more than a 100 theaters for a total location count of 1,005. The silent, black-and-white film grossed $2.6 million for a cume of $20.6 million, and falling 23 percent from the previous weekend.
The Weinstein Co. opened Madonna’s British royal romance W.E. in four locations in New York and Los Angeles, timed to her Super Bowl half-time show. The pic grossed $45,000 a location average of $11,250.
Erik Lomis, head of distribution for the Weinstein Co., said it’s a respectable start for the film–starring Andrea Risebrough. W.E. expands into the top 10 markets next weekend, hoping to parlay the half-time appearance into added attention.
Weekend/Domestic Box Office Feb. 3-Feb. 5
Title/Weeks in Release/Studio/Theater Count/Three Day Weekend Total/Cume
1. Chronicle (1), Fox/2,907, $22 milion
2. The Woman in Black (1), CBS Films/2,855, $21 million
3. The Grey (2), Open Road Films/3,207, $9.5 million, $34.7 million
4. Big Miracle (1), Universal/2,129, $8.5 million
5. Underworld: Awakening (3), Sony/2,636, $5.6 million, $54.4 million
6. One for the Money (2), Lionsgate/2,737, $5.3 million, $19.7 million
7. Red Tails (3), Fox/2,347, $5 million, $41.3 million
8. The Descendants (12), Fox Searchlight/2,038, $4.6 million, $65.2 million
9. Man on a Ledge (2), Summit/2,998, $4.5 million, $14.7 million
10. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (7), Warner Bros./2,630, $3.9 million, $26.8million
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