Box Office Report: 'Safe House' Pulls Ahead of 'The Vow' in Tight Presidents Day Race

Safe House Ruben Blades Denzel Washington - H 2012
Universal Pictures

Safe House Ruben Blades Denzel Washington - H 2012

"Safe House" grosses $24 million Friday-Sunday, followed by $23.6 million for "The Vow;" "Ghost Rider" sequel opens No. 3 with 22 million, while "This Means War" opens No. 5 with $17.6 million.

The heated President Day Weekend race at the domestic box office won't be officially called until Monday, although Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds action pic Safe House is now looking like the early victor.

Still, Safe House remains in a relatively close race with the Rachel McAdams-Channing Tatum romantic drama The Vow, grossing $24 million for the three-day weekend, compared to $23.6 million for The Vow.

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Universal is estimating that Safe House will earn $28.5 million for the four-day holiday weekend, while Screen Gems and parent company Sony are estimating that The Vow will gross $27.4 million. Box office observers caution that until actual Monday grosses come in, the gap could narrow between the two films.

Both films turned in impressive performances in their second weekends, beating out new entires Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, also from Sony, and Fox's romantic action-comedy This Means War, starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. Safe House fell only 40 percent, while The Vow declined 43 percent.

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Overseas, Safe House grossed $6 million from 35 markets in its second outing, bringing its foreign cume to $19.6 million and worldwide total to $97.9 million.

The Vow, co-produced and co-financed by Spyglass, has earned $85.5 million in its first five days domestically, becoming the highest-grossing Screen Gems title ever at the domestic box office. Dear John, also starring Tatum, was the previous best, cuming $80.1 million domestically.

Overseas, The Vow grossed $6.8 million in its second weekend from 24 markets for an international cume of $22.8 million and worldwide total of $108.3 million.

Sony's Ghost Rider sequel, returning Nicolas Cage in the title role, grossed $22 million for the three-day weekend to come in No. 3. The pic is expected to post a four-day holiday gross of $25.5 million, less than expected but still a solid number. Pre-release tracking had suggested the comicbook adaptation would open closer to $35 million.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, receiving a tepid C+ CinemaScore, was fueled by males, who made up 61% of the audience. Moviegoers under the age of 25 made up 48 percent of the audience. Sony and Hyde Park Entertainment co-produced and co-financed the sequel, which cost $57 million to produce.

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This Means War opened to No. 5 for the three-day weekend, grossing an estimated $17.6 million (including $1.6 million in Valentine's Day previews, the film's domestic cume through Sunday was $19.2 million). Fox estimates that the film--which received an A- CinemaScore--will gross $20.5 million for the four-day holiday. The production budget was $65 million.

The romantic drama lost the No. 4 spot to Warner Bros. and New Line's sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which grossed $20.1 million for the three-day weekend, bringing its 10-day domestic cume to $53.2 million.

This Means War showed impressive strength overseas, where it debuted to $11 million from only 16 markets, opening No. 1 in Russia, Australia and Hong Kong.

The fourth new film of the weekend is Disney's family film The Secret World of Arrietty, from acclaimed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. Secret Life of Arrietty is holding at No. 9, grossing $6.4 million for the three-day weekend. Its projected four-day gross is $8 million.