Sony/Screen Gems’ critic-proof horror flick The Messengers opened as the No. 1 movie this weekend ($6 mil Friday, $6.4 mil Saturday, est $2 mil Sunday, in 2,528 venues), beating out Universal chick flick Because I Said So, starring Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore ($4.6 mil Fri, $5.9 mil Sat, est $2.6 mil Sun, in 2,526 theaters). Box office gurus calling it ‘The Moviebowl” were at first unsure which pic would be bigger this Superbowl weekend. (Because has older females who may avoid the Bowl, whereas Messengers‘ suspense formula has won past Bowl weekends.) But this wound up the 7th consecutive year that Sony has released the #1 film during Superbowl weekend. Exit surveys showed the film drew slightly more females (53%) than male (47%) while 53% of the opening weekend audience was under 21. Produced by hit factory Sam Raimi, The Messengers made $14.5 mil for Fri-Sat-Sun, and Because I Said So $13.2 mil. One week holdover Fox’s Epic Movie, #3 ($2.6 mil Fri, $4 mil Sat, est $1.2 mil Sun) held audiences a weekend of $8 mil. In 4th place was Fox’s Night at the Museum ($1.7 mil Fri, $3.4 mil, est $1.1 mil Sun, $225 mil cume) which keeps going on, and going, even seven weeks out for a $6.3 mil weekend. Universal’s Smokin’ Aces dropped to No. 5 ($2.2 mil Fri, $3 mil Sat, est $895K Sun) took in $6.1 mil respectively. Screen Gems/Sony’s Stomp The Yard ($2.1 mil Fri, $2.1 mil Sat, est $805K Sun) ended 6th after four weeks with a $4.2 mil weekend and new cume of$56 mil. Dreamworks / Paramount’s Dreamgirls ($1.1 mil Fri, $2 mil Sat, est $790K Sun) grabbed 7th which, and, even without a Best Picture Oscar nod, the Motown musical made $4 mil this weekend for a new cume of $92.7 mil. Picturehouse’s wondrous Pan’s Labyrinth ($1.1 mil Fri, $1.7 mil Sat, est $745K Sun), helped by a costly marketing campaign, placed 8th with a $3.6 mil weekend and new cume of $21.6 mil. The last two movies are both Sony’s, which had four films in the Top 10 and accounted for a quarter of all box office this weekend. Will Smith claimed No. 9 in The Pursuit Of Happyness with $925K Fri, $1.5 mil Sat, est $585K Sunday for a $3.1 mil weekend and new cume of $157.3 mil. Catch and Release starring Jennifer Garner underwhelmed audiences its second week out at No. 10 and only a $2.7 mil weekend ($930K Fri, $1.2 mil Sat, est $525K Sun). Meanwhile, Oscar-nominated movies continued to snag moviegoers at the box office: Miramax’s The Queen claimed 11th position ($2.5 mil weekend, $45.3 mil cume), while Warner’s re-release of The Departed scored 12th ($2.4 mil weekend, $128.6 mil cume). Paramount’s Babel was 15th ($1.7 mil weekend, $29.7 mil cume).
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