Yes, Martin Scorsese's thriller Shutter Island, starring Leo DiCaprio, stayed atop the box office for a second week. The R-rated period mystery brought in $22 million, keeping it out front of the weekend's two new films, despite a (relatively average) 46% drop off from Shutter's opening weekend.
Cop Out and The Crazies battled it out for second all weekend, with Cop Out eventually slipping slightly ahead with $19 million, while The Crazies settled for third with $17 million. Still both films did very solid opening business for R-rated features. The '80s-style buddy-cop action film starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan rode star-power and a heavy marketing campaign to overcome highly negative reviews and give indie director Kevin Smith his biggest opening ever.
You can expect Cop Out and The Crazies to swap places next week–the well-crafted horror film is getting solid word of mouth and should have steady legs for a few weeks. Cop Out's fate could be trickier–I laughed at it and maybe others did as well, but just as many found it to be a huge disappointment. How it fares the second week of release will be next weekend's most interesting box-office question.
Avatar slid into fourth place, but still managed to cross the $700 million mark over the weekend. I'm still predicting an Avatar Best Picture win at the Oscars next weekend, albeit a bit more nervously than before. I'm starting to wonder if an Avatar-Hurt Locker split vote could let my beloved Inglourious Basterds sneak through. (Especially in light of The Hurt Locker
producer's e-mail scandal last week and the sudden anti-Hurt Locker PR campaign among vets.) But it's late, I'm getting delirious… Win or lose, expect to see a post-awards surge for Big Blue week after next.
The rest of the weekend's top ten was filled out by Percy Jackson & the Jackson 5: The Lightning Thief, Valentine's Day (its total box-office having now nearly doubled its $52 million budget), Dear John (its total haul nearly tripling its $25 million budget), The Wolfman (in real trouble at only $57 million domestically on a $150 million budget), The Tooth Fairy, and Crazy Heart (another film that will get an Oscar boost next week when Jeff Bridges wins Best Actor.)
In limited release, the terrific political thriller The Ghost Writer expanded to 43 theaters and brought in an impressive $20,000 average per screen. And the French film A Prophet opened on nine screens and brought in an average of $19,000 at each. A Prophet and The White Ribbon are considered to be the top contenders for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
Next weekend brings the first really big blockbuster of 2010: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp. A year of anticipation and hype–plus the extra cash from 3D screens–will easily put Alice at the top of the box office on its opening week. Whether it continues to do well after that first weekend rests on how the Disney movie lives up to the hype and expectations. We shall see…