Box Office Report: 'The Vow,' 'Safe House' Battle for Weekend Supremacy

Safe House Ryan Reynolds - H 2012
Universal Pictures

Safe House Ryan Reynolds - H 2012

The new 3D version of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" also attracting fans as moviegoers rush to theaters.

A super-charged weekend is shaping up at the North American box office as the testosterone-fueled thriller Safe House dukes it out with the estrogen-infused The Vow for top honors.

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Vow, the romantic drama from Sony’s Screen Gems starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, had been expected to heat up the pre-Valentine’s Day weekend, and as predicted, it had moviegoers swooning. The early estimates from Friday’s matinees saw the movie, directed by Michael Sucsy, pulling in about $12.5 million for the day in 2,958 theaters, putting it on track to top the $30 million mark for the weekend.

But House, an R-rated action thriller starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds and directed by Daniel Espinosa, was, unexpectedly, right on its heels. It appeared to be attracting an opening day gross of about $11.5 million in 3,119 theaters, and some observers are predicting that when the dust settles by weekend’s end, it could narrowly squeeze ahead of Vow to claim the No. 1 slot.

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Meanwhile, Star Wars fans were lining up for the latest incarnation of George Lucas’ ever-morphing franchise, a new 3D version of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The Fox release, which collected more than $1 million at midnight screenings, is closing in on more than $10 million from its Friday showings in 2,655 locations and is looking at a potential three-day haul of more than $27 million.

Even with all that activity at the multiplexes, Warner/New Line’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, was also finding a following. The 3D sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, took in about $4.5 million for the day. The family adventure film, starring Dwayne Johnson and Josh Hutcherson and directed by Brad Peyton, is likely to amass more than $16 million for the weekend.