BOXOFFICE takes a look at where Taken ranks among recent Super Bowl weekend openings.

Opening Against the Big Game

on January 31, 2009 by Phil Contrino

The gross that Taken is on pace to reach this weekend will place the action flick on the higher end of recent Super Bowl weekend grosses.

In 2008, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour represented the perfect bit of counterprogramming considering it brought in a whopping $31 million.

Looking back to 2007, The Messengers, a horror flick that starred Twilight 's Kristen Stewart and Dylan McDermott, was able to claim the top spot with $14.7 million. Because I Said So, a romantic comedy with Mandy Moore and Diane Keaton, finished in a close second with $13.1 million.

In 2006 another horror flick, When A Stranger Calls, was able to bring in $21.6 million during its debut frame. When adjusted for inflation, Stranger 's gross is closer to $24 million.

2005 also saw a horror flick and a romantic comedy land at #1 and #2, respectively. Boogeyman grossed $19 million ($21.3 million when adjusted for inflation) and The Wedding Date brought in $11 million ($12.5 million when adjusted for inflation).

This weekend, Taken is going to top both a new horror flick ( The Uninvited ) and a romantic comedy ( New in Town ). The fact that Fox's action flick is going to win the weekend proves that counterprogramming only works to a certain point. The Uninvited has been released after two other major horror films ( The Unborn and My Bloody Valentine 3D ) have hit theatres this month, and Lionsgate gave Town a very mediocre marketing push as well as a modest debut at 1,931 locations.

Still, the biggest deal during Super Bowl weekend is never the movies that are in theatres, but rather the movies that are coming to theatres. Because its officially the biggest television advertising event of the year, the Super Bowl is a great platform for studios to launch ad campaigns for some of their most anticipated news film.

Monsters vs. Aliens, Paramount's 3D animated flick, is the early favorite to gain the most buzz from Super Bowl exposure. The studio will play a 90-second 3D spot for the film during the game. Considering that 2009 is going to be a huge year for 3D films, there is a lot riding on the success of M vs. A. To help things along, Paramount has agreed to pay print fees to exhibitors who have yet to make the conversion to digital, which means M vs. A will easily top the current record for most 3D screens during an opening weekend of 1,033 set by My Bloody Valentine 3D.

Check back tomorrow for B OXOFFICE's analysis of all the movie commercials during the Super Bowl.

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