Box Office: Valentine's Couples Take The Vow, Rest Check into Denzel's Safe House!

Four new releases gross over $20 million for a record breaking opening weekend.

In another box office success story for 2012, four new releases all debuted with $20 million+ debuts this weekend, the first time in cinema history that a non-U.S. holiday weekend has had so many new films achieve that feat. It was a crowded weekend of films with modest expectations but they have all exceeded their estimates and when all is said and done they achieved the most important thing, they all look like they are cruising to a profit. Topping the charts for the weekend is The Vow, the latest sweet romantic comedy featuring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, two of the biggest draws in the female-centric genre right now. Together they brought in a whopping $41.7 million (!). A pre-Valentine's Day release strategy has worked wonders for the 'paint by numbers' romance as it was the only date option and it will continue to sell out theaters throughout the week, especially on Valentine's Day itself this Tuesday. Screen Gems' award (the sub division of Sony) for this clever marketing is their biggest opening in history, beating out a previous Tatum romance movie Dear John ($30.5 million) and McAdams will be pleased her leading lady status is back on track after 2010's under-performing rom-com Morning Glory. She had a string of huge hits back in 2004/2005 and needed this boost after dropping back to supporting roles in Sherlock Holmes. The big male interest new release of the weekend was Universal's Safe House, the latest actioner starring Denzel Washington, and the bad-ass trailer/poster campaign has secured the Oscar winner's second biggest opening weekend of his career with $39.3 million. Another large opening, Washington's 12th of his career over $20 million and he is one of the few sure-fire successes in the action genre. No doubt Ryan Reynolds also should take some credit for helping the numbers and there might have been a few dates where the male won and dragged his woman to the actioner. Losing its box original action lead Brendan Fraser who wouldn't return, Warner Bros took a gamble on Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson to topline the sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island which has moved away from the summer and into an awkward February slot, but it has paid off. Journey 2 made more money out of the blocks than Journey to the Center of the Earth with $27.6 million. The original however enjoyed immensely long legs and kept bringing in big numbers for weeks so a long way to go before it crosses the $100 million domestic the 2008 film reached. Thankfully Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace 3D opened nowhere near first place but did entice way too many people to once again willingly give up their money to George Lucas, this time to the sum of $20 million. The re-release enjoyed an absolutely huge opening day (presumably by those who have paid to see this film half a dozen times by now when you consider DVD/Blu-ray conversions... the latter as recently as a few months ago) but then dropped drastically by the weekend. The Star Wars prequel cost $15 million to re-issue and Lucasfilm have said they will only release the 3D upgrades of the rest of the two trilogies if this one performed strongly. Although having only made a few million the 3D conversion isn't there yet and it needs some fans to come out and see it this week to secure another. Although inevitably the original trilogy will be released in 3D at some point. The question seems to be whether Lucas bothers with Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith. The rest of the box office chart is below, thanks to Box Office Mojo; 1 N The Vow SGem $41,700,000 - 2,958 - $14,097 $41,700,000 $30 1 2 N Safe House Uni. $39,300,000 - 3,119 - $12,600 $39,300,000 $85 1 3 N Journey 2: The Mysterious Island WB $27,550,000 - 3,470 - $7,939 $27,550,000 $79 1 4 N Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (in 3D) Fox $23,000,000 - 2,655 - $8,663 $23,000,000 - 1 5 1 Chronicle (2012) Fox $12,300,000 -44.1% 2,908 +1 $4,230 $40,167,000 $12 2 6 2 The Woman in Black CBS $10,300,000 -50.7% 2,856 +1 $3,606 $35,456,000 - 2 7 3 The Grey ORF $5,080,000 -45.4% 2,801 -407 $1,814 $42,822,000 $25 3 8 4 Big Miracle Uni. $3,900,000 -49.7% 2,133 +4 $1,828 $13,200,000 $40 2 9 8 The Descendants FoxS $3,500,000 -23.1% 1,581 -457 $2,214 $70,729,000 - 13 10 5 Underworld Awakening SGem $2,500,000 -54.6% 1,657 -979 $1,509 $58,900,000 $70 4
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.