Unknown opened in line with expectations to take the weekend by surprise after I Am Number Four opened softer than expected.

‘Unknown’ & ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ Lead Crowded Field

on February 21, 2011 by Daniel Garris

According to studio estimates, Warner's Unknown will hold off a late surge by Disney's Gnomeo and Juliet to claim first place over the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend. The two films are set to be separated by only $0.8 million this weekend. Furthermore, just $6.6 million separated first place from fifth place as moviegoers were clearly split when it came to their choices this weekend.

Unknown opened with an estimated $25.62 million over the four-day frame. The film opened on the higher end of expectations, making it the only one of this weekend's three wide releases to do so. The Liam Neeson vehicle obviously benefited from delivering similar vibes to 2009's Taken, which grossed a slightly larger $26.94 million in its first four days of release. While it will be nearly impossible for Unknown to hold up as well as Taken did going forward, Unknown will hope to hold up well in its own right. Internationally, Unknown opened with $4.7 million from eleven foreign territories. Key foreign debuts included $1.7 million in Australia, $1.3 million in Korea and $0.8 million in Russia.

Gnomeo and Juliet held up especially well in its second weekend to claim second place with an estimated $24.82 million over the four-day frame. The 3D computer animated release fell just 2 percent from last weekend's surprisingly strong debut. Family films typically hold up very well over Presidents Day weekend, with Gnomeo and Juliet obviously continuing that trend. Gnomeo and Juliet has grossed a terrific $55.84 million through eleven days of release, already making it the first true sleeper release of 2011.

The news wasn't as good for DreamWorks' I Am Number Four. The first DreamWorks film under its distribution deal with Disney had been widely expected to open in first place this weekend, but ultimately had to settle for third place with an estimated four-day start of $22.60 million. That was 30 percent weaker that the four-day opening weekend of 2008's Jumper. Given that it was being aimed in part at teenage girls, opening I Am Number Four one week after Justin Bieber: Never Say Never likely helped limit its prospects at the end of the day. On the international front, I Am Number Four grossed $3.3 million from eight foreign territories.

Fox's Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son also opened a bit below expectations. The third installment of the comedy franchise starring Martin Lawrence opened in fifth with an estimated $19.00 million. That was 35 percent weaker than the $29.03 million 2006's Big Momma's House 2 grossed in its first four days of release. Big Momma's House 2 was quite front-loaded towards its opening weekend performance, so Big Mommas is extremely likely to fall off quickly going forward. Internationally, Big Mommas grossed $4.2 million from ten markets. Key starts included $2.4 million in the United Kingdom and $0.9 million in Australia.

Last weekend's top films, Sony's Just Go With It and Paramount's Justin Bieber: Never Say Never claimed fourth and sixth places respectively this weekend. Just Go With It grossed $21.70 million over the four-day frame (down 29 percent from last weekend's three day start), while Never Say Never grossed $16.50 million (down 44 percent). After holding up well throughout of much of last week, Just Go With It experienced a fairly average hold over the holiday weekend. Coming as no surprise, Never Say Never experienced a big decline in its second weekend, but at the same time the film was also able to avoid falling off a cliff this weekend. Respective eleven-day totals stand at $64.26 million for Just Go With It and at $51.37 million for Never Say Never.

This weekend saw The King's Speech reach the $100 million milestone. The Best Picture nominee from The Weinstein Company finished in seventh with $7.94 million this weekend, which was up 10 percent from last weekend. The King's Speech has held up tremendously well over the past two months and still isn't showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. The film's domestic total currently stands at $104.65 million.

On the international front, fellow Best Picture nominee Black Swan remained especially strong. The Fox Searchlight release grossed $17.2 million, with key debuts this weekend including $3.0 million in Spain and $1.4 million in Italy. To date, Black Swan has grossed $97.9 million internationally and $101.8 million domestically, placing its current worldwide total at $199.7 million.

Tags: Black Swan, The King's Speech, Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, I Am Number Four, Gnomeo and Juliet, Unknown

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