Vow, Safe House on fire at the box office
By John Hamann
February 12, 2012
Wow. The box office over the February 10th - 12th weekend has everything your inner box office geek needs – a very close race to number one, star power, a bizarre sequel, a 3D re-release, and huge, out-of-nowhere numbers. At one point I thought it might be a quiet weekend, as openers included The Vow, a weeper that tries to bring some life to the wooden Channing Tatum, Safe House, a Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds combo, Journey 2, the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth with The Rock replacing Brendan Fraser, and the re-release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D, which had Papa George hoping widespread amnesia had circled the globe. We end up with TWO of the bigger openings in February history, and a stellar top 12 total for the weekend – all this without Valentine's Day falling on the weekend.
It was a close race to number one, and with a strange group of openers taking the stage, it was tough to pick which two might be vying for the top spot. The Vow was the easy money pick for number one, due to the onset of Valentine's Day, but which of the other three could share the title? 3D re-releases have been money for Disney, with The Lion King grabbing $30 million over its opening frame and Beauty and the Beast finding $18 million. Would The Phantom Menace in 3D reunite the legions of Star Wars fans? Alternately, Safe House has Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, two stars who can draw audiences. Denzel's last four wide release films have had average openings of $31 million, and Reynolds' average for his last four has reached $46.3 million. Finally, we had the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, thankfully swapping out Brendan Fraser for The Rock, whose last film is Fast Five, which opened to $86 million.
Our number one film of the weekend is The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. The romance was expected by tracking to earn $30 million or less, but the weekend estimate came in much closer to BOP's Reagen Sulewski's prediction of $35.2 million, totaling a spectacular $41.7 million from 2,958 venues. It had a venue average of $14,097, and a weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 2.7 – an expected number due to the fact that Valentine's Day did not fall on the weekend.
Exhibitors will get another huge day on Tuesday, where the Hallmark Holiday actually falls. Dear John, the last Valentine's Day driven flick from Screen Gems, earned $2.3 million MORE on its second Sunday (Valentine's Day) than it did over its opening weekend. Dear John, which opened to $30 million over the same weekend in 2010 (and is obviously the model for The Vow), had a first weekend multiplier of 2.2, indicating it was a date movie Friday and Saturday, followed by a huge drop off on Sunday. It then had a huge turnaround the following weekend thanks to Valentine's. Dear John had a second weekend multiplier of 3.9 because its biggest day of the weekend fell on that Sunday.