Star-studded Valentine’s Day courts $52.4-million opening weekend
LOS ANGELES — The star-studded romance Valentine’s Day wooed audiences with a $52.4-million opening weekend, easily grabbing the No. 1 spot over the holiday that shares its name, according to studio estimates Sunday.
“To have a movie titled Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s weekend was a no-brainer that absolutely worked,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. Directed by Garry Marshall ( Pretty Woman), Valentine’s
Day was a celebrity bonanza. The cast includes Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Jessica Biel, Shirley MacLaine, Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner.
Valentine’s Day distributor Warner Bros. estimated its love story will be in the $60 million range after Presidents Day on today. That would break the Presidents Day weekend record of $52 million set by Ghost Rider over the fourday holiday weekend in 2007.
Opening in a tight race for No. 2 were 20th Century Fox’s action fantasy Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning
Thief with $31.1 million over three days and Universal’s werewolf tale The Wolfman with $30.6 million.
Adapted from the opening book in Rick Riordan’s fantasy series, Percy Jackson follows the adventures of a teen who learns he’s descended from the ancient Greek gods. The cast includes Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Keener and Rosario Dawson.
The Wolfman stars Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt in an update of the 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. horror classic about an aristocrat who returns to his ancestral home and is bitten by a werewolf.
Coming in fourth for the weekend was 20th Century Fox’s sci-fi sensation Avatar with $22 million, adding to a fortune that already has made it Hollywood’s biggest mod- ern blockbuster. Avatar raised its domestic total to $659.6 million and its worldwide haul to $2.35 billion.
The previous weekend’s No. 1 movie, Sony Screen Gems’ romantic drama Dear John, fell to fifth place with $15.3 million, lifting its 10-day total to $53.2 million.
Like Dear John, Valentine’s Day drew mainly women, with the female crowd making up 68 per cent of the audience, said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros.
Playing in 3,665 theatres, Valentine’s Day had a strong average of $14,300 a cinema.
Newcomers and holdovers offered something for everyone, with Valentine’s Day and Dear John catering to the date crowd, Percy Jackson filling the family niche and the R-rated The Wolfman pulling in horror fans.
The breadth of movies in the market lifted Hollywood to a record Presidents Day weekend, with Hollywood.com estimating the overall three-day haul at $193 million. That’s up three per cent from the previous record set over Presidents Day weekend last year, when Friday the 13th led with a $40.6 million debut.
In limited release, India’s My Name Is Khan debuted strongly with $1.9 million in 120 theatres, averaging $15,500 a cinema. Released by Fox Searchlight, My Name Is Khan features Shahrukh Khan, a superstar in the Bollywood movie industry based in Mumbai.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Tuesday. 1. Valentine’s Day, $52.4 million. 2. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, $31.1 million. 3. The Wolfman, $30.6 million. 4. Avatar, $22 million. 5. Dear John, $15.3 million. 6. The Tooth Fairy, $5.6 million. 7. From Paris With Love, $4.7 million. 8. Edge of Darkness, $4.6 million. 9. Crazy Heart, $4 million. 10. When in Rome, $3.4 million.