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Surviving a crash, surrounded by hungry wolves in a harsh, cold environment. It sounds almost like a metaphor for what a lot of movies are experiencing at the box office lately, but it was the plot of Liam Neeson's latest offering, which also happened to be the number one movie in theaters this weekend.
Neeson's The Grey made a solid debut with $20 million. That's a step back for director Joe Carnahan whose last movie, 2010's The A-Team (also starring Neeson) opened at $25 million. Still, it's a respectable opening for a movie in January with nothing to make it standout except Liam's steely angry-eyes calling to audiences from the trailer, promising a some good action and thrills.
Stephanie Plum, who has been enchanting consumers of cheesy, pulp mystery novels for years, finally made it to the big screen this weekend in the form of Katherine Heigl for One For The Money. With something of a built in fan audience there might have been some hope for a solid opening weekend, but after a beating at the hands of critics and some fans it settled for just $11 million and the number three spot. Its reported $42 million budget seems a bit high for something this simple, but even more notable it leaves the movie in a lurch for profitability, which could spell the end of the franchise before it even had time to begin.
Sam Worthington's career as a blockbuster headliner continued to falter this weekend. After three highly visible and successful rolls in cash cows Terminator Salvation, Avatar and Clash of the Titans (2010), Worthington has now made two wide release movies that failed to open above $10 million. Man on a Ledge, which was nudged by critics to go ahead and jump, took a miserable fifth place with just $8 million.
After nearly three months in small to medium release, George Clooney's The Descendants finally opened wide (an expansion conveniently set to follow announcement of Oscar noms. The movie is already something of a financial success having already earned $51 million during its lengthy small release run, but showing in 2,000 theaters it only added another $6 million this weekend. That's $1 million less than it made its second weekend out back in November when it was in just 390 venues. Guess all those Oscar nominations weren't the golden paycheck they were hoping for.
For the full weekend top ten, check out the chart below: