It turned out to be quite the race at the box office this weekend, with Sony's Just Go with It barely outpacing Paramount's Justin Bieber: Never Say Never for first place. The PG-13 romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston opened with $30.51 million. That was on the lower end of expectations and a bit soft by Sandler's lofty standards. However, thanks in part to Monday's Valentine's Day holiday, the film held up quite nicely on Saturday and Sunday (it registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.23 to 1). That could be an indicator of strong holding power for the film going forward, especially with the aid of the upcoming Presidents Day holiday weekend.
Internationally Just Go with It grossed $5.1 million from a limited number of markets over the weekend. Key grosses included $2.6 million in the United Kingdom and $1.8 million in Mexico.
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never took second place with $29.51 million. That placed the high-profile 3D documentary just $1.00 million behind Just Go with It for the weekend. Including preview grosses from last Wednesday, the film's total stands at $30.26 million. Never Say Never opened in first place on Friday with $12.36 million, but couldn't maintain its lead on Saturday and Sunday (it registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.39 to 1). With so many of Bieber's fans rushing out on opening weekend, the film will be hard pressed to hold up well going forward. Never Say Never opened just a tad softer than the $31.12 million debut of 2008's Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. 3D sales represented 84 percent of the film's grosses.
Coming as no surprise, Never Say Never was big with female audiences under 25. 84 percent of the film's audience was female and 67 percent of the film's audience was under 25. Just Go with It also skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (58 percent of its audience), but skewed much older than Never Say Never did (60 percent of its audience was over the age of 25).
In addition to the photo finish for first, this weekend also witnessed the first major surprise performance of 2011 as Disney's Gnomeo and Juliet was off to a terrific third place start of $25.36 million. While the 3D computer animated film is a Touchstone Pictures release, it performed more along the lines of a traditional Disney animated release this weekend. The film was clearly helped in a big way from the lack of alternatives in the current marketplace for family audiences. Presidents Day weekend is traditionally a strong frame for family fare, so it is highly likely that Gnomeo and Juliet will hold up extremely well next weekend.
This weekend's other wide release, Focus' The Eagle debuted in a distant fourth place with $8.68 million. While that clearly represented a modest start, it was also on the higher end of the film's limited pre-release expectations. The Channing Tatum vehicle opened 21 percent softer than 2009's Fighting. With so many other choices in the marketplace (especially for female moviegoers), Tatum simply wasn't much of a draw this weekend.
After taking a slight hit from the Super Bowl last weekend, The King's Speech rebounded very nicely this weekend with a sixth place finish of $7.23 million. The Best Picture nominee from The Weinstein Company was down a very slim 6 percent from last weekend. The King's Speech topped the $90 million mark this weekend and has now grossed $93.68 million to date.
Fellow Best Picture nominees still in wide release held up fairly well this weekend, especially when considering the amount of screens they lost. Paramount's True Grit and The Fighter claimed ninth place and 13th place respectively with $3.79 million and $2.17 million, while Fox Searchlight's Black Swan finished in14th with $2.13 million. Respective total grosses stand at $160.36 million for True Grit, $99.34 million for Black Swan and at $85.63 million for The Fighter. All three films, as well as The King's Speech, have greatly exceeded expectations.
On the international front Black Swan grossed $18.6 million. That places the film's international total at $72.1 million and worldwide total at $171.4 million. Key debuts for Black Swan this weekend included $4.1 million in France, $3.3 million in Mexico and $1.6 million in Russia.
Back on the domestic front, fellow Fox Searchlight release Cedar Rapids grossed $302,968 in its first weekend of platform release. The indie comedy starring Ed Helms earned a solid per-location average of $20,198 from 15 locations.