Weekend Box Office (February 22 - 24, 2008)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND On Oscar weekend, the best seat on the charts belonged to Vantage Point, which looked down upon the box office with a strong opening, while the other new releases left relatively small impressions.

Opening on only 114 screens less than the other three new releases combined, Sony's ensemble pic Vantage Point opened with a strong $22.8M, according to final figures. Launching on 3,149 screens nationwide, the political thriller averaged $7,264 per screen while earning less than positive reviews from critics. The twisted tale of an attempted Presidential assassination benefited from good advertising and many recognizable faces in the cast.

Second and third places were close between two films which opened last weekend. Vaulting into second place was the storybook sensation, The Spiderwick Chronicles which dropped 31% to $13M. Its total now stands at $43.6M which should lead to a grand finale in the $85M range. That would put the family film in line with two Disney films released over President's Day weekend, 2007's Bridge to Terabithia which finished with $82M and 2006's Eight Below which ended its run with $81.6M. Former box office champ, Jumper, dropped 53.5% from its 3-day tally and fell to third place with $12.7M, bringing its cume to $56M. Most effect-laden sci-fi films have drops of this size, and the unfavorable reviews with poor word-of-mouth didn't help matters. Still, look for Hayden Christensen and company to end their run in the $85M range as well.

Fourth place went to urban dance flick Step Up 2 the Streets with $9.6M, a drop of 49% from last weekend. Adding a new dimension to cleverly named sequels, the total for the Disney title now stands at $41.2M. Look for a final gross in the $65M range which would match the original's $65.2M from 2006. Anticipation now ramps up for how part three will be named. Fifth place went to the hard bodies of Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson as their romantic comedy Fool's Gold brought in $6.5M this weekend, bringing their booty to $52.7M. Sixth place definitely went to another romantic comedy, Definitely, Maybe, which grossed $5.2M this weekend. This represents a 46% drop from last weekend, bringing the film's total gross to $21.8M. Look for a final total maybe in the $35M range.

Slots seven through nine ended up being a photo finish. Being welcomed into the seventh position was the Martin Lawrence homecoming comedy Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, which grossed $4.15M this weekend bringing its total up to $35.5M. Coming in eighth and only $4,200 behind was Best Picture Oscar nominee and Independent Spirit Award winner Juno which added another $4.15M to its already robust gross. Its total now stands at $130.4M after 12 weeks of release. Following closely in ninth was the Jack Black/Mos Def comedy Be Kind Rewind, which took in $4.05M from its opening weekend. Released on only 808 screens, its per screen average was a decent $5,013. Directed by Michael Gondry, the reviews for the quirky comedy were mostly positive. And rounding out the top ten was another Oscar nominee for Best Picture, There Will Be Blood, which sucked down $2.7M worth of milkshakes this weekend. Its total now stands at $35M after 9 weeks in theaters.

Best Picture Oscar winner No Country For Old Men jumped 27% from last weekend and grossed $2.4M, raising its total to $64.3M. Time will tell if there is a significant post-Oscar bounce for the film, which has been in theaters nearly four months at this point. The remaining two Best Picture nominees, Atonement and Michael Clayton grossed $1.2M and $594,000 respectively. Cumes stand at $49.3M and $48.5M.

This weekend's other new releases both debuted outside the top 10. Larry The Cable Guy's latest attempt a movie career, Witless Protection grossed $2.1M from 1,333 screens for a poor average of $1,588. And the long delayed Charlie Bartlett grossed $1.8M from 1,122 screens for an average of $1,637. Look for both these films to find more business on DVD.

The top ten films grossed $85.1M which was off 11% from last year when Ghost Rider remained at number one with $20.1M; and also down 11% from 2006 when Madea's Family Reunion debuted in the top spot with $30M.

Compared to projections, Vantage Point and Be Kind Rewind came in slightly above Gitesh's predictions of $21M and $3M respectively. Witless Protection and Charlie Bartlett both came in slightly under Gitesh's forecast of $3M and $2M respectively.

For a NEW review of Vantage Point visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Semi-Pro, The Other Boleyn Girl and Penelope all open.

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

# Title Feb 22 - 24 Feb 15 - 17 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Vantage Point $ 22,874,936 3,149 1 $ 7,264 $ 22,874,936 Sony
2 The Spiderwick Chronicles 13,100,192 19,004,058 -31.1 3,847 2 3,405 44,076,043 Paramount
3 Jumper 12,708,768 27,354,808 -53.5 3,430 2 3,705 56,264,386 Fox
4 Step Up 2 The Streets 9,605,703 18,908,826 -49.2 2,480 2 3,873 41,238,093 Buena Vista
5 Fool's Gold 6,554,284 12,909,039 -49.2 3,075 3 2,131 52,717,413 Warner Bros.
6 Definitely, Maybe 5,217,775 9,764,270 -46.6 2,220 2 2,350 21,814,805 Universal
7 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins 4,158,700 8,497,715 -51.1 1,873 3 2,220 35,667,115 Universal
8 Juno 4,154,502 4,612,741 -9.9 1,727 12 2,406 130,431,948 Fox Searchlight
9 Be Kind Rewind 4,050,655 808 1 5,013 4,050,655 New Line
10 There Will Be Blood 2,687,229 3,031,017 -11.3 1,402 9 1,917 35,112,557 Par. Vantage
11 The Bucket List 2,511,368 3,991,239 -37.1 1,902 9 1,320 85,110,240 Warner Bros.
12 No Country For Old Men 2,404,682 1,882,854 27.7 1,101 16 2,184 64,291,179 Miramax
13 Witless Protection 2,116,692 1,333 1 1,588 2,116,692 Lionsgate
14 Charlie Bartlett 1,836,256 1,122 1 1,637 1,836,256 MGM
15 27 Dresses 1,639,898 3,200,024 -48.8 1,367 6 1,200 73,108,983 Fox
16 Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus 1,591,644 3,263,192 -51.2 613 4 2,596 61,951,322 Buena Vista
17 The Eye 1,391,400 3,186,544 -56.3 1,211 4 1,149 28,921,210 Lionsgate
18 Atonement 1,204,022 1,454,150 -17.2 755 12 1,595 49,391,133 Focus
19 U23D 1,026,121 407,954 151.5 686 5 1,496 4,842,900 National Geo.
20 Alvin and the Chipmunks 748,476 1,077,247 -30.5 698 11 1,072 212,867,991 Fox
Top 5 $ 64,843,883 $ 87,941,001 -26.3
Top 10 85,112,744 111,505,912 -23.7
Top 20 101,583,303 130,041,495 -21.9
Top 20 vs. 2007 101,583,303 109,629,660 -7.3

Last Updated: February 25, 2008 at 9:45ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.