Box Office Report: Navy SEALs Pic 'Act of Valor' Tops Chart With $24.7 Mil

2012-08 REP Act of Valor Still H
Courtesy Relativity Media

Relativity Media has held 415 screenings across the U.S. for the R-rated film, featuring real Navy SEALs as a fictionalized unit on a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, since picking up the $18?million budgeted movie in October for about $13 million (with a commitment to spend $30 million on marketing).

Tyler Perry's "Good Deeds" follows with $16 million; Jennifer Aniston-Paul Rudd's "Wanderlust" and Amanda Seyfried thriller "Gone" falter at No. 8 and No. 9, taking in $6.6 million and $5 million.

Relativity Media's government-endorsed Act of Valor--featuring real-life Navy SEALs--easily won the weekend crown with a strong $24.7 million opening.

Act of Valor, produced by the Bandito Brothers, led another boom weekend at the domestic box office. Revenues were up more than 25 percent from the previous year, even with Sunday's Oscar telecast, which can take a bite out of theater traffic.

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Among the best picture nominees still playing, frontrunner The Artist saw a bump on the eve of the Academy Awards, grossing $3 million for a domestic cume of $31.9 million. The pic has earned north of $45 million overseas.

Tyler Perry's romantic Good Deeds, from Lionsgate, opened at No. 2 with $16 million. Perry's movies often debut north of $20 million, but that's for the Madea series, which features the director-writer-actor playing Madea.

Good Deeds was up 25 percent from Friday to Saturday, the best increase of any film and indicating that older females are driving the pic (85 percent of those buying tickets were over the age of 25, while 76 percent were females).

Act of Valor and Good Deeds both earned A CinemaScores. In Act of Valor, Navy SEALs play fictionalized characters on a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent. The action pic, rated R, began its life as a Navy recruitment video but morphed into a feature.

REVIEW: 'Act of Valor'

The film's debut is a victory for Relativity, which acquired worldwide rights for $13 million from directors Scott Waugh and Mike "Mouse" McCoy, whose company Bandito Brothers produced the film for roughly $12 million. The deal also included a $30 million marketing commitment. Alliance is distributing the pic in Canada for Relativity

"Going into the weekend, Act of Valor was a big question mark because it isn't a traditional Hollywood movie with big stars or big-budget visual effects. It bucks every trend and utlimately, that's the big reason for its success," said Relativity president of distribution Kyle Davies  "You had authentic Navy SEALs and it gave people a glimpse into a world they never seee."

Davies said the exit scores were excellent across the board, indicating that the film will have great legs.

Act of Valor, which won the praise of President Obama at a White House screening earlier this year, did especially well in the Southeast, Southwest and West, regions rife with military bases. Males fueled the pic, making up 71 percent of the audience.

VIDEO: 'Act of Valor' Trailer Shows Real Navy SEALS on a Fictional Mission

Lionsgate president of distribution David Spitz said Good Deeds will likewise have strong legs, based on the adult turnout (adults don't rush out on opening weekend) and the A CinemaScore.

Good Deeds was followed by a trio of stellar holdovers--Journey 2: The Mysterious Island ($13.5 million), Safe House ($11.4 million) and The Vow ($10 million). The Vow's estimated domestic cume through Sunday was $103 million, marking the first time a Screen Gems title has jumped the $100 million mark.

Journey 2, from New Line and Warner Bros., has now earned $76.7 million domestically and north of $200 million worldwide. Warners predicts the sequel will reach $290 million globally, ahead of the $242 million earned by the first installment.

Starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, Universal's Safe House has cumed $98.1 million domestically and will cross $100 million in the next two days (Lionsgate believes the film took a bite out of Good Deeds).

After Act of Valor and Good Deeds, The weekend's two other new offerings didn't fare so well.

Jennifer Aniston-Paul Rudd R-rated comedy Wanderlust, from Universal, and Amanda Seyfried thriller Gone but faltered in their debuts, coming in No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.

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Wanderlust grossed an estimated $6.6 million after earning a B- CinemaScore. The comedy, costing north of $30 million to produce, reteams Role Models director David Wain with Rudd and is about an overstressed Manhattan couple who find a new way of life at a pastoral shared community.

Wanderlust skewed older, with 61 percent of those buying tickets over the age of 30. Females made up 57 percent of the auidence.

Gone, receiving only C+ CinemaScore, opened to $5 million. Summit is releasing Gone for Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel, and says it has a net risk of $2 million on the pic. Females drove the film, making up 64 percent of the audience. Moviegoers over the age of 18 made up 61 percent of those buying tickets.

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At the specialty box office, the Metropolitan Opera's live HD transmission of Verdi's Ernani grossed $1.7 million from 850 theaters in the U.S. Overseas, 68,000 moviegoers saw the opera on 500 screens in 39 countries.

Domestic Box Office, Feb. 24-Feb. 26

Title/Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio/Three Day Weekend Total/Cume

1. Act of Valor, 1/3,039, Relativity/Bandito Brothers, $24.7 million

2. Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, 1/2,132, Lionsgate, $16 million

3. Journey 2, 3/3,350, New Line/Warner Bros.,  $13.5 million, $76.7 million

4. Safe House, 3/3,052, Universal, $11.4 million, $98.1 million

5. The Vow, 2/3,038, Screen Gems/Spyglass, $10 million, $103 million

6. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, 2/3,174, Sony/Hyde Park, $8.8 million, $37.9 million

7. This Means War, 2/3,189, Fox, $8.5 million, $33.6 million

8. Wanderlust, 1/2,002, Universal, $6.6 million

9. Gone, 1/2,186, Summit, $5 million

10. The Secret World of Arrietty, 2/1,522, Disney/Studio Ghibli, $4.5 million, $14.7 million