Box Office Guru Wrapup: Audiences Power Knowing To # 1

I Love You, Man and Duplicity round out the top three.

This weekend Moviegoers still love Nicolas Cage action flicks as the actor's latest film, the doomsday thriller Knowing, easily beat out two other new releases to capture the top spot at the North American box office. Opening in second and third respectively were the buddy comedy I Love You, Man starring Paul Rudd and the Julia Roberts-Clive Owen spy pic Duplicity. With the trio of new titles pulling in over $57M, most holdovers suffered sizable drops as the overall marketplace lagged behind last year's numbers by a slim margin.

Scoring his eleventh number one opening since winning an Oscar in 1996, Cage led the effects-driven actioner Knowing to a strong $24.8M debut, according to estimates. The Summit release averaged a potent $7,447 from 3,332 theaters and gave the young studio its second number one opener in four months. The company's vampire smash Twilight hit the top of the charts during its November launch and hit DVD this weekend with its Saturday street date. Knowing, which finds Cage playing a professor who discovers a code that can predict future disasters, was rated PG-13 and played evenly to males and females according to studio research. The audience was older as 63% of the crowd was 25 or over. Critics mostly pointed their thumbs down, but ticket buyers didn't care.

The male bonding comedy I Love You, Man debuted in second with an estimated $18M for Paramount. Starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segal, the R-rated laugher averaged an impressive $6,641 from 2,711 locations and performed much like the last comedies from each actor. Rudd's Role Models bowed to $19.2M last November while Segal's Forgetting Sarah Marshall opened to $17.7M last April. Both carried R ratings and played to young adults just like Man reaching final tallies of $67.3M and $62.9M, respectively. Reviews were generally positive.

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen debuted in third place with their caper pic Duplicity which grossed an estimated $14.4M from 2,574 theaters for a solid $5,595 average. Universal's PG-13 film about former spies that plot a con operation against a pair of corporations marked Roberts' first lead role in a live-action wide opener in more than five years. During that time, the Oscar-winning actress took many supporting roles in films that were not anchored by her like Ocean's Twelve and Charlie Wilson's War. This time around she was the main star and settled for third place, but still posted numbers that were very respectable. Openings for her films from the early part of this decade include $11.5M for 2003's Mona Lisa Smile, $20.1M for The Mexican, and $28.1M for 2000's Erin Brockovich. Reviews were decent and the adult female audience could continue to show up in the weeks to come. Duplicity had the best Friday-to-Saturday bump among the weekend's new releases with 27% compared to Knowing's 9% and I Love You, Man's 7%.

Even with no new family films opening, Disney's PG-rated adventure Race to Witch Mountain still suffered a sizable drop falling 47% to an estimated $13M in its second weekend. After ten days, the Dwayne Johnson starrer has banked $44.7M. Race is nearly on par with Johnson's last kid-friendly offering for the studio, 2007's The Game Plan, although it opened stronger and is falling harder. Game Plan bowed to $23M and dipped only 28% in the second frame for a ten-day tally of $43.2M on its way to a $90.6M final. With DreamWorks charging into theaters aggressively on Friday with its 3D toon Monster vs. Aliens which could generate the biggest opening of the year, the Disney actioner may see more big declines ahead ending its run with $80-85M.

In its third weekend, the comic flick Watchmen fell another 62% and grossed an estimated $6.8M raising the 17-day cume to $98.1M for Warner Bros. At its current trajectory, the final domestic gross should finish with about $110M. Universal's horror redo The Last House on the Left also fell hard dropping to an estimated $5.9M in its sophomore frame, down 58%, for a total of $24M in ten days.

The Fox companies followed with their $130M+ blockbusters. Liam Neeson's Taken took in an estimated $4.1M in seventh place, off 38%, for a sum of $133.1M. Fox Searchlight's Slumdog Millionaire dropped 46% to an estimated $2.7M putting its gross to date at $137.2M.

Falling to ninth place was Madea Goes to Jail with an estimated $2.5M, off 51%, and a total of $87.2M for Lionsgate. The Focus 3D hit Coraline slipped only 21% and pulled in an estimated $2.1M in its seventh round. Cume is $72.8M. Each film is now the second biggest grosser ever for its distributor trailing Fahrenheit 9/11 ($119.2M for Lionsgate) and Brokeback Mountain ($83M for Focus) respectively. Coincidentally, Slumdog is Searchlight's number two all-time hit but still has a chance of surpassing the $143.5M of Juno.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $94.3M which was down less than 1% from last year when Horton Hears A Who remained in the top spot with $24.6M; and down 19% from 2007 when TMNT opened at number one with $24.3M.


Bloody Mathias

Mathias N/A

Poor Watchmen. Poor, poor Watchmen.

Mar 22 - 05:58 PM


Rick King

Watchmen will get to $110 million if it's lucky.

Mar 22 - 06:32 PM


jack giroux

Watchmen is not a total flop, but it is definitely a box office failure. But Warners I am sure will make there money back with all the dvds and merchandise. What ever though, its still an awesome movie.... Man what a great weekend for movies though. I really like Duplicity (9/10), I know a lot of people have been calling it confusing. Is it? I didn't think it was if you were always paying attention. I also like I Love You Man quite a bit, 8/10. I am also still in the minority I guess for people who liked Knowing (8/10), yes the CGI was quite weak at times and the acting was a little over the top in certain scenes but I thought the movie had some really great ideas, surprises, and some great Proyas visuals.

Mar 22 - 06:58 PM

curtis O.

curtis Obryant

I love how over hype films like Watchmen tank at the boxoffice and films that people think nobody will see are huge hits, like Taken, Madea, paul Blart, He's just not that into you and Knowing. At the end it all comes down to what people like and people like the latter. Word of Mouth can make a or break a film. It made Taken,Madea,Blart,Into you huge hits and it killed Watchmen. Just goes to show you that film with alot of hype don't mean

S H I T if people don't like it.

Mar 22 - 06:59 PM


Matthew Cloutier

While I'm sure WB would have liked Watchmen to make more money at the box office, I'm sure they're not overly worried about making a profit. DVD sales alone will make this movie profitable.

As far as the movies this week, I'm glad that Paul Rudd is becoming a bankable star. He seems like a genuinely funny, nice guy. I saw Role Models for the first time last weekend and absolutely loved it, so I'll definitely get around to seeing I Love you Man in the coming weeks.

Mar 22 - 07:02 PM


kip canyon

I am always hearing about how people wont go see watchmen because of Dr. Manhattans blue shlong. I'm pretty sure that in itself took took away much of the audience who were still debating if they should see it. I thought it was great though.
Does anyone else see that Knowing is Nicholas Cage's version of 23?-i'll wait for DVD. I do want to see I Love You, Man though.

Mar 22 - 07:11 PM


kip canyon

...the movie. lol. not the shlong...that was one of the "look away moments"

Mar 22 - 07:15 PM


Greg Guro

Yah, but Watchmen will kick #$# in DVD sales.

Mar 22 - 07:16 PM


Chris Shields

Meh, the only reason Watchman won't hit 150 mil is because its rated R. Blue "schlong" or not everyone I know said it was a great overall film but, families won't go see it, and won't go see I Love You, Man either. Knowing is rated PG-13 a movie families are comfortable going to see. If you look at the terrible movies that do well in theatres they are rated PG-13 and below... its because parents can drop off their kids with 20 bucks in hand and they will go pay to see it just to get out of the house.

Mar 22 - 07:43 PM

curtis O.

curtis Obryant

Watchmen being rated R has nothing to do with it. the movie is getting bad word of mouth and that is why it is droping like a rock. 300 made 200 million and that film was Rated R. People just don't give a **** about Watchmen. Point Blank.

Mar 22 - 07:50 PM


Drizzt Reznicek

Haha watchmen! suck it! not 1/10 the money that the dark knight got... ///// sorta want to see proyas new movie, anyone see it? was it good?

Mar 22 - 07:54 PM


Gimy Moo

Watchmen was really good, if you won't see it cuz of Papa Smurf's blue dong...its your loss. i actually didn't notice it until the second time i saw the flick so whatever. its not like he grows to be 50 feet tall, whips it out and wins the Vietnam war by jizzin' all over Charlie

go see I Love You Man if you want a funny comedy. i expected it to be ok, the trailers weren't impressive to me...but Rudd/Segel delivered again. very funny flick. it shouldn't have been rated R though. no violence, no nudity. woo, an F word here or there and talk about sex? yikes! mpaa sucks. we need more funny comedies and slapping an R rating on a good comedy lowers the box office #.

Mar 22 - 07:56 PM

Xx MooSE xX

brian kochaniuk

Gimmie, movies like i love u man, and role models don't have that high of a production cost, alot of times its 30 million or so, so 18 million in the 1st 3 days is a good sign that it will be a profitable venture for the studio. Thats why we've been seeing 2 or more rated R comedies a year for the past 3 years or so.

Mar 23 - 07:21 AM

King Thor

Chris Kalmin

Damn will you people get over the fact that you see Dr. Manhattan's dick in Watchmen. CGI none the less. Y'all so damn sensitive get over it. Pretty sure y'all still watchin porn and its not all girl on girl i can tell u that.

Mar 22 - 08:14 PM


Jim Huete

Gimy, that's gotta be a complete lie. there's blue dick all over the place in that movie. it was quite distracting. I still liked the movie, but if you're saying that you didn't even notice all that blue dick everywhere you've gotta be either blind or lying. And I was not impressed with I Love You, Man at all. I absolutely love forgetting sarah marshall, definitely one of my favorite comedies, but I Love You, Man just didn't deliver at all. There were some genuinely funny parts, but overall I really don't see how it's gotten such great reviews.

Mar 22 - 08:27 PM


Rawley Reynolds

watchmen was over hyped glad its failing at the box office.

Mar 22 - 08:27 PM

the train

Vinnie Oliveri

i can't stand it when people compare TDK to Watchmen. Watchmen is a different movie. it's more complex, the moral ambiguity is more pronounced, and as an audience we have less faith in the main characters (whereas with batman we have faith in him even when he seems to have lost it--as when he builds the machine to listen in on people's cell phones, only to destroy it later). TDK also has batman, a more bankable main character. oh yeah, it was also PG-13, which is why the fights were weak.

i'm not saying one was better than the other. just that the films are actually very different. both movies resonate well with our contemporary historical moment, i think; had snyder decided to update the material to the present day it would probably make more money. but box office tally should not be the measure of quality.

Mar 22 - 08:32 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Hahahahaha! I made one hundred dollars betting that "Knowing" would be number one. I didn't see anything but I plan on renting "I Love You Man" and "Knowing", but I have no interest in "Duplicity". I'm just not a Julia Roberts fan. "Watchmen" has $147.4 million worldwide, and is the second highest grossing film of the year behind "Taken". At the rate it's going, "Watchmen" may surpass "Taken".

Mar 22 - 08:46 PM


Greg Guro

Somebody should have posted somewhere that Riley of Terminator:SCC is DEFINATELY dead and not coming back. Happiest thing to happen in entertainment news in months. . .

Mar 22 - 09:32 PM


Mike Greenblatt

I concur. She was annoying!

Mar 23 - 12:06 AM

Hudson M.

Hudson Mckinney

Nobody gives a rip about the blue dong. It is fanboys leaping to the film's defense, latching onto this as a reason why it is failing. It isn't failing because people are too puritanical to see a film with full male nudity, it is failing because for the most part those I know didn't like the film in general. I liked it, but have serious misgivings about the shallow characters and lack of strong direction. Chalk that up to me not reading the novel and having the characters fully realized beforehand. In that respect the director failed in manufacturing the universe.

And 300 was gay porn sandwiched between slow mo swordplay, nothing more. Snyder is a horrible director.

Mar 22 - 10:12 PM

inactive user

Jared King

You don't like "300"? This is madness!


Mar 22 - 10:15 PM

inactive user

Jared King

You don't like "300"? This is madness!


Mar 22 - 10:15 PM

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