'Valentine's Day' delivers a weekend hit

Star-studded comedy tops North American box office

The star-studded comedy "Valentine's Day" shot to the top of North American box office charts during the long U.S. President's day weekend, which is poised to land in the record books for ticket sales.

The Warner Bros. romance starring Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Taylor Lautner and others on Hollywood's hot list wooed moviegoers to the tune of $52.4 million by Sunday on a long holiday weekend in the United States.

The three-day total for all movies stood at $193 million, eclipsing last year's $188 million mark, according to studio estimates on Sunday. In 2009, the President's day weekend total stood at $220 million by the end of its final day on Monday.

Women accounted for nearly 70% of the audience for "Valentine's Day" and more than 80% of the audience for romantic drama "Dear John," which topped the box office charts last week, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division at Hollywood.com.

"Without women, over the past two weekends, (ticket sales) might not have fared so well," he said.

"Percy Jackson & The Olympians" was No. 2 over the three-day frame with a take of $31.1 million, and Universal Pictures' "The Wolfman" came in at No. 3 at $30.6 million.

"Avatar" continued its slide away from the box office throne, settling at No. 4 with $22 million by Sunday. The overall tally for the top-selling film of all time now stands at $659.6 million. "Avatar" and "Percy Jackson" were released by News Corp. unit 20th Century Fox.

"Dear John," released by Sony Corp. unit Screen Gems, fell to No. 5 with a gross of $15.3 million