LOS ANGELES Moviegoers readily committed to The Vow last weekend, as the romantic drama posted the biggest opening of the year.
The tear-jerker starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams collected an impressive $41 million, according to an estimate from distributor Columbia Pictures. The action thriller Safe House also far exceeded industry expectations, starting off with a strong $40 million, as did the sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, with its gross of $27 million.
The Vow did much better than Tatum’s last romantic picture, Dear John, a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel that opened with $30.5 million around Valentine’s Day in 2010. That picture, also from Screen Gems, was previously the film label’s biggest opening ever — a record The Vow shattered last weekend.
Financed by Spyglass Entertainment and Screen Gems for about $30 million, The Vow is about a woman trying to fall in love with her husband again after suffering amnesia following a car crash. Audiences liked it, giving it an average grade of B, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
The movie appealed mostly to women, as an overwhelming 72 percent of the audience was female. It helps that one of the film’s stars is a heartthrob; young women have been buzzing online about Tatum for weeks.
Safe House marks the second-highest opening ever for star Denzel Washington, behind his 2007 hit American Gangster, which launched with $43.6 million. In the 57-year-old actor’s latest film, which also stars Ryan Reynolds, Washington plays a rebellious CIA agent who heads to South Africa on a mission.
The movie attracted a slightly older crowd — 62 percent of viewers were over the age of 30. It was also a diverse crowd, with 38 percent black, 31 percent white and 23 percent Hispanic.
A sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, the second Journey was produced by Warner Bros.’ New Line division for about $79 million. The original opened with $21 million and ultimately brought in about $100 million domestically and $140 million overseas.
The movie — about a stepfather (Johnson) who goes on an adventure to try to find a secret island with his son (The Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson) — did well on 3-D screens. Of those who saw the picture, 74 percent opted to do so in 3-D.
It was a good weekend for 3-D films, as audiences proved they’re still willing to shell out a few extra bucks to see movies in the pricier format. 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm’s updated version of Star Wars: Episode I is the latest 3-D re-release to fare well at the box office, following the success Walt Disney Studios had recently reissuing two of its classic animated titles in 3-D.
Filmmaker George Lucas has converted the six Star Wars films to 3-D and hopes to release them in episode order, although Fox said recently that no release plans for the next installment were official yet.
Of the four films that opened last weekend domestically, Journey 2 is doing the most robust business overseas. The film has been playing internationally for about a month, and last weekend collected $25.5 million, bringing its tally abroad to $74.7 million. Last weekend, the film opened in China and performed well there, grossing an estimated $9.5 million.
MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 02/17/2012
Print Headline: Tatum’s appeal propels Vow