Friday Box Office Analysis
By Tim Briody
February 18, 2012

Go away, you guys. You're bugging me.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

The Ghost Rider sequel is the top new release on Friday with $7 million, good for second place. This weekend five years ago, the first Ghost Rider opened to $15.4 million, so the dropoff here is a textbook example of Unwanted Sequel Syndrome. Somehow, Ghost Rider actually managed a 2.9 multiplier on its opening weekend for a $45.3 million weekend. That will not be duplicated this weekend, so look for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance to have a weekend of $18.2 million

[tm:5157_]This Means War[/tm]

The romantic comedy that is *not* called Spy Vs. Spy opened with $5.6 million. It seems that the [bp:75_]Reese Witherspoon[/bp]/Chris Pine/Tom Hardy film ran smack into Channing Tatum's abs. That's not to say this is a bad start, it just feels like a lot of money was left on the table here. Of course, a lot of that money went to The Vow instead, so that didn't help matters. This Means War should have a weekend of $15.6 million.

The Secret World of Arietty

Studio Ghibli release The Secret World of Arietty earned $1.7 million on Friday, the top single day of North American box office for anything released by the Japanese animation studio. Their last release, 2009's Ponyo, placed ninth for a weekend in August 2009 with $3.5 million after a $1.1 million Friday on just 927 screens. The Secret World of Arietty is in over 1,500 theaters and it should follow the same path Ponyo did, giving it it a weekend of $5.2 million, which is not terrible.

The Vow

After a remarkable opening last weekend, The Vow hangs on to first place this weekend with $7.4 million (down 51.6% from last Friday) in spite of being after Valentine's Day and This Means War competing for date night dollars.

Speaking of Valentine's Day (the holiday, not the movie), it's worth noting The Vow took in a $11.6 million on that day alone, a mid-week Valentine's Day record, beating the $7.5 million earned by Hitch in 2005. It has now earned $69.8 million after just eight days of box office.

Right now, The Vow appears to be neck and neck with Ghost Rider, but expect The Vow to hold steady through the weekend while Ghost Rider, as mentioned earlier, rides off a cliff. It will remain on top for a second weekend with $22.2 million.

Notable Holdovers

Elsewhere, [bp:2065_]Denzel Washington[/bp]'s [tm:5167_]Safe[/tm] House drops 52.3% from last Friday to $6.5 million. This fits neatly in between the drops for Washington's recent films, as Unstoppable (49.1%), The Book of Eli (57.7%) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (61.1%) all had similar Friday-to-Friday drops, but also recovered a bit over the remainder of the weekend. It should leap over Ghost Rider to hold second place on the weekend with $20.8 million.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island holds very well after its strong start last weekend, down just 30.7% from last Friday to $4.5 million. The Rock's latest family film managed an insane 4.1 weekend multiplier last weekend, powered by a strong Saturday, and that will continue this weekend. Give it a second weekend of $18.4 million, which is also more than Ghost Rider could earn this weekend.