Weekend Box Office (February 20 - 22, 2009)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND Tyler Perry once again showed why he is the King (and Madea his Queen) of the box office as Madea Goes to Jail slaughtered the competition this weekend. Holdovers were mixed and the only other new release landed with a soft thud.

Taking his rightful place atop the box office charts, Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail ruled the roost this weekend bringing in a stunning $41M, according to final studio figures, for a per theater average of $20,192. Perry's fans have obviously been hungering for another round of Madea and they came out in droves to see her. Madea Goes to Jail replaces Madea's Family Reunion as Perry's biggest opening weekend gross. That film opened three years ago to a $30M bow and $13,688 average. Perry's last two films have been relative disappointments (relative only within the Perry universe) but Madea has set him back on track. In fact, Madea Goes to Jail this weekend alone has made more money than Perry's last film The Family That Preys, did in its entire run late last year, when it finished with $37.1M.

The family film Coraline came in second this weekend, dropping a small 23% for a weekend take of $11.4M. Its cume now stands at $53.8M for Focus Features. Continuing its impressive run was the Liam Neeson action-thriller Taken which fell 41% from last weekend's three-day totals to $11.3M bringing its cume to within a hair of the century club at $95M.

Fourth place belonged to the chick lit pic He's Just Not That Into You which fell 56% from last weekend's Valentine's Day fueled total to $8.6M. Its cume now stands at $70.1M with the century club still a possibility.

Fifth place belonged to multiple Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire which saw its gross increase by 15% from last weekend to $8.4M. Its total after nearly four months in theaters is $98.4M and could grow much higher now that it took home the coveted Best Picture Oscar.

Crashing and burning into sixth place was last weekend's champ Friday the 13th which fell an astounding 80% to $7.9M. A big drop was expected as fans of the genre rushed out on opening weekend, but this drop gives Friday the 13th the distinction of being one of the top 10 worst second weekend drops for a wide release in history. Its total stands at $55.1M with a final gross somewhere in the $65-70M range. While there are two more Friday the 13ths in this year (much too soon for a sequel to hit) the only Friday the 13th in 2010 is in August, the perfect time for an end of summer horror film.

The second chick lit flick on the charts landed in eighth this weekend as Confessions of a Shopaholic took in $6.7M of consumer dollars bringing its cume to $27.4M. A drop of 55% from last weekend does not bode well for the Disney release. Look for a final total in the $40-45M range.

A trio of Sony releases closes out the top 10 this weekend. In seventh was arguably the biggest surprise hit so far this season, Paul Blart: Mall Cop which fell only 38% from last weekend to $6.8M. Its total now stands at a terrific $121.2M. Opening poorly in ninth place was the high school not-a-cheerleading movie Fired Up! The movie starring two guys who haven't been in high school in about 10 years took in $5.5M this weekend for a per theater average of $3,030. And rounding out the top 10 was The International in its second weekend. The banking thriller took in $4.5M this weekend bringing its cume to a disappointing $17M. Look for a final total in the $25M range.

Three of the other four Best Picture nominees added theaters this weekend and all saw their grosses rise slightly from last weekend. The Reader grossed $2.6M this weekend, (up 20% from last weekend) bringing its total to $23M. Milk saw its grosses rise 22% from last weekend, grossing $1.1M this weekend for a total of $28.1M. Frost/Nixon saw its weekend take rise 27% from last weekend, raking in $653,580 bringing its cume to $17.4M. The final nominee, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was the only Best Picture nominee to lose theaters this weekend and saw its gross fall 24% from last weekend to $1.2M, bringing its total to $124.2M

The top ten films grossed $112.1M which was up 32% from last year when Vantage Point debuted atop the charts with $22.8M; and was up 17% from 2007 when Ghost Rider remained at number one with $20.1M.

Compared to projections, Madea Goes to Jail flew by Gitesh's prediction of $25M while Fired Up! came in just below his projection of $8M.

For reviews of Friday the 13th and Delhi 6 plus NEW DVD reviews of Friday the 13th Parts I, II, and III, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li both open.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Feb 20 - 22 Feb 13 - 15 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Madea Goes to Jail $ 41,030,947 2,032 1 $ 20,192 $ 41,030,947 Lionsgate
2 Coraline 11,432,124 14,783,157 -22.7 2,155 3 5,305 53,766,843 Focus
3 Taken 11,281,262 18,985,260 -40.6 3,102 4 3,637 95,034,161 Fox
4 He's Just Not That Into You 8,558,225 19,518,465 -56.2 3,050 3 2,806 70,100,901 Warner Bros.
5 Slumdog Millionaire 8,384,680 7,284,808 15.1 2,244 15 3,736 98,354,395 Fox Searchlight
6 Friday the 13th 7,942,472 40,570,365 -80.4 3,105 2 2,558 55,119,663 Warner Bros.
7 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 6,821,377 10,983,319 -37.9 2,835 6 2,406 121,200,930 Sony
8 Confessions of a Shopaholic 6,742,778 15,066,360 -55.2 2,507 2 2,690 27,378,049 Buena Vista
9 Fired Up 5,483,778 1,810 1 3,030 5,483,778 Sony
10 The International 4,463,916 9,331,739 -52.2 2,364 2 1,888 17,031,200 Sony
11 The Pink Panther 2 3,802,292 8,513,476 -55.3 2,658 3 1,431 29,475,898 Sony
12 Gran Torino 3,676,310 6,488,047 -43.3 2,030 11 1,811 134,472,755 Warner Bros.
13 Push 3,119,656 6,863,022 -54.5 1,882 3 1,658 24,752,472 Summit
14 The Reader 2,642,770 2,209,080 19.6 962 11 2,747 23,011,596 Weinstein Co.
15 Hotel for Dogs 2,325,378 4,351,535 -46.6 1,716 6 1,355 65,535,469 Paramount
16 The Wrestler 1,851,324 1,848,627 0.1 617 10 3,001 21,578,377 Fox Searchlight
17 The Uninvited 1,292,129 4,347,464 -70.3 1,257 4 1,028 25,990,057 Paramount
18 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 1,232,517 1,611,370 -23.5 754 9 1,635 124,211,606 Paramount
19 Milk 1,066,727 878,057 21.5 411 13 2,595 28,120,218 Focus
20 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 778,822 2,382,933 -67.3 676 5 1,152 45,064,150 Sony
Top 5 $ 80,687,238 $ 108,923,607 -25.9
Top 10 112,141,559 151,899,971 -26.2
Top 20 133,929,484 179,154,509 -25.2
Top 20 vs. 2008 133,929,484 101,583,303 31.8

Last Updated: February 23, 2009 at 8:30PM ET