SUNDAY AM: Here are North American box office numbers:
1. Witch Mountain (Dis) [3,187 theaters] $6.7M Fri, $10.9M Sat, $26M wkd
2. Watchmen (WB) [3,611] $5.3M Fri, $7.4M Sat, $18M wkd (-67%), Cume $86M
3. Last House On The Left (Uni) [2,401] $5.6M Fri, $5.3M Sat, $14.6M wkd
Disney’s formula of pairing Dwayne Johnson with rugrats in family fare keeps working for audiences even if it’s tiring to Hollywood. The Rock reunites with his Game Plan director Andy Fickman to reimagine this 1970s franchise — so much so that No. 1 Race To Witch Mountain went up a big 73% from Friday to Saturday because of crowded kiddie matinees. PG-rated films are on fire right now, and this pic movie played across the board to all ages: 51%/49% female/male, while families dominated at 68%, and unaccompanied couples were a surprisingly decent 18%.
Not so R-rated superhero doomsday saga Watchmen. I wrote my Postmortem back on Wednesday, focusing on whether the Warner Bros pic would have legs or earn out. Of course, Hollywood expected an enormous domestic drop from last Friday’s number (which included the grosses from Thursday midnight and Friday 12:01 AM screenings). Still, -78% is a pretty staggering number, as is -73% even if the midnight shows are excluded. But the pic recovered a lot last night, helped by 124 Imax screens, climbing 42% from Friday. “We’re having a great night. The Dark Knight was only up 22% on the 2nd Saturday,” a Warner Bros exec tells me. “We just might settle in and fool a few of the naysayers.”This weekend went down -67% compared to last.
Internationally, too, the drops were better — UK -64%, and Australia -54%. Yet how embarrassing that the long-awaited Big Screen retelling of the widely admired graphic novel lost Friday to Rogue/Universal’s run-of-the-mill Last House On The Left playing in 1,200 less venues but attracting the date night crowd. Watchmen as expected did finish the weekend #2 with a 10-day domestic cume of $86. Paramount is reporting an overseas cume of $49.5M (this weekend was -54% compared to last week’s opening FSS) for an estimated $135.5M worldwide cume. But that’s still underwhelming compared to its $150M cost.
No. 4 Taken dropped only 9% in its 7th weekend of release for an amazing hold. In 5th place, Madea Goes to Jail will wind up as the first Tyler Perry film to cross the $100 million mark. Overture Film’s Sunshine Cleaning opened with a huge opening weekend theater average of $53,500, the highest thus far for all films released in 2009 (including wide releases), according to Media By Numbers stats.
Finally, this was the first “down” weekend in six weeks (last year’s was led by Horton Hears A Who).