Safe House keeps out Ghost Rider

Monday, February 20, 2012

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THE Presidents’ Day weekend box office was too close to call as the action tale Safe House and the love story The Vow competed for the number one spot.

Based on yesterday’s studio estimates, Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds’ Safe House had a slim lead with US$24 million from Friday to yesterday. That put it a fraction ahead of Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum’s The Vow with US$23.6 million.

The winner won’t be known for certain until Tuesday, when studios will report final numbers for the long holiday weekend. Final numbers often vary from weekend projections, which include estimates for the size of yesterday’s audiences.

No matter which one finishes on top, the movie business remains unusually brisk for winter, typically a slow season at theatres. The business uptick comes after Hollywood lumbered through a humdrum holiday season at the end of last year, when audiences were apathetic about most new releases.

"I still think people don’t want to stay home, and if you give them good choices, you get them out," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal Pictures, which released Safe House.

The top-five movies were bunched up tightly, with Nicolas Cage’s sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
opening a close number three with US$22 million.

Dwayne Johnson’s family action tale Journey 2: The Mysterious Island was number four with US$20.1 million. Reese Witherspoon’s lovetriangle comedy This Means War debuted at number five with US$17.6 million.

Starring Washington as a CIA traitor on the run, Safe House raised its domestic total to US$78.2 million. Sony Screen Gems’ The Vow, which features McAdams as an amnesiac car-accident victim becoming reacquainted with her husband (Tatum), lifted its total to US$85.5 million.




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