Superbowl weekend saw genre films continue to do well at the box office, with new releases Chronicle and The Woman in Black in a neck and neck race for the top postition (and breaking some Superbowl records of their own). Who won? Find out after the jump.
Though it was a close competition, the found-footage thriller Chronicle finished first at the box office this weekend, grossing 22 million, with Hammer's The Woman in Black a close second at 21 million. Genre films took two of other slots in the top 5, with the survivalist thriller The Grey in third place with 9.5 million and Underworld: Awakening hanging on in fifth place with 5.6 million.
According to Box Office Mojo, "Even with most people distracted by the Giants or Patriots or whatever elaborate gameday dish they've been working on, this weekend still marked the first time in history that two movies opened above $20 million against the Super Bowl.
"Based on studio estimates, Chronicle held off The Woman in Black to take the top spot this weekend, though Daniel Radcliffe's first post-Potter outing was impressive in its own right. The weekend's other opener, Big Miracle, was a tad disappointing, but it still finished in line with modest expectations. The Top 12 wound up grossing $95.9 million, which is up a whopping 31 percent from Super Bowl 2011.
"Chronicle debuted to an estimated $22 million, which is the fourth-highest Super Bowl debut ever and second-best among movies targeting at men behind Taken ($24.7 million). It did earn less than major found footage flicks like Cloverfield ($40.06 million) and last month's The Devil Inside ($33.7 million), not to mention the last two Paranormal Activity movies, though that shouldn't detract too much from this movie's success.
"Chronicle is the latest example of the economic viability of the found footage genre—the movie nearly doubled its production budget ($12 million) through its first three days. According to distributor 20th Century Fox, Chronicle's audience was 55 percent male and 61 percent under the age of 25. Overall, it received a "B" CinemaScore, and that improved to a "B+" among the under-25 crowd.
"The Woman in Black wasn't far behind with an estimated $21 million start. Super Bowl weekend is a popular time to open teen-targeted horror movies, and The Woman in Black ranks second all-time behind When a Stranger Calls ($21.6 million). Perhaps more importantly, the movie's opening is easily the best in CBS Films' history, topping The Back-Up Plan's $12.2 million. According to CBS, Friday's exit polling indicated that the audience was 59 percent female and 57 percent under the age of 25. The movie received a "B-" CinemaScore, and that bumped up to a "B" among the younger audience.
"Chronicle and The Woman in Black both managed to attract the under 25 crowd in large numbers (61 percent and 57 percent, respectively). While this audience has been a bit absent as of late, these numbers shouldn't be misinterpreted as some sort of return of the youth to movie theaters. Chronicle's main characters are all high-school students, and the "what if" premise was obviously relatable to younger audiences. With The Woman in Black, supernatural horror skews younger to begin with, and Daniel Radcliffe's popularity among teenage girls probably helped it out a bit as well. As is often the case, attendance was dictated more by the content and less by any larger market factors.
"Last weekend's leader The Grey fell 52 percent to an estimated $9.5 million. That's a much steeper decline than that of Liam Neeson's Taken or Unknown, though neither of those movies were facing the Super Bowl. Through 10 days in theaters, The Grey has grossed $34.8 million.
"Big Miracle opened in fourth place with an estimated $8.5 million. The movie had a per-theater average of $3,992, or notably lower than Dolphin Tale's $5,461 (though it had a 3D boost in there as well). Because its audience is primarily moms and younger girls, Universal Pictures is anticipating that Big Miracle holds fairly well against the Super Bowl. The audience was 68 percent female and 67 percent under the age of 25, and the movie received a solid "A-" CinemaScore.
"Underworld Awakening rounded out the Top Five by falling 55 percent to an estimated $5.6 million. With a total of $54.4 million, it's still tracking slightly ahead of Underworld: Evolution ($53 million)."